Barbara A. Everly, of Cedar Rapids, left this world to be reunited with loved ones in the early morning hours of August 3, 2023, with family by her side. She was 92. Visitation: Saturday, August 12, 1:00–3:00 PM, Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories, where a service will begin at 3:00 p.m. Burial: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Certified Celebrant Randy Walton will officiate.
Barb lived a beautiful life. Born during the Great Depression in Glen Haven, Wisconsin, she moved to Dubuque, where she had three children. Barb was driven to see the world—to expand her sense of what was possible. She survived austere times by hard work and imagination, juggling retail and secretarial jobs, and owning and operating The Pet Shop on Main Street.
By the mid-60s, her managerial skills had taken her from Bayless Business College and the Dubuque County Attorney’s Office to Cedar Rapids, where she eventually achieved national recognition as Chief Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court—an improbable feat for a woman at that time without a law degree. Barb had a special talent for creating educational opportunities for others through the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American College of Bankruptcy and related organizations. Her expertise led her to testify before Congress. Barb counted among her friends many respected officials, from the local level to the high courts. She was especially proud of gathering legal professionals together through bankruptcy seminars in the Midwest and beyond. Following her decision to retire in 1996, a gala was held in her honor, and she remained active in leadership for many years. Wherever Barbara went, she had a knack for leaving offices—and the people who ran them—better than they had been.
Among family, Barb cherished her role as matriarch. She saw everyone as an individual and felt a great responsibility to help out in any way she could. Her inner strength was ever present. As a high school champion of elocution, Barbara brought her gift for pithy language to conversations. She appreciated the arts and took in the changing seasons at her home. Barb found community in her neighborhood and had the good fortune to reside near loved ones, to whom her door was always open.
Barbara is survived by her children: Nancy Persons, Grand Marais, Minn.; Becky Smiley, Cedar Rapids; Rocky (Debra) Everly, Waunakee, Wisc.; grandchildren: Will (Amanda Beck) Smiley, Salt Lake City; Gus Persons, Alexandria, Minn.; Bo Everly, Waunakee; siblings: Gary Becwar, Glen Haven; Mary Lou Brunkhorst, Cedar Rapids; Michael (Joyce) Becwar, Summerville, SC; sister-in-law Sharon (Judy) Becwar, Dubuque; cousin Rev. Msgr. Dean Walz, Delhi; nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents: Thomas and Lucille (Ryan) Becwar; grandparents: Will and Lucy (Kuenster) Ryan; Jacob and Anna (Fox/Fuska/Fuxa) Becwar; brother David Becwar, sister Karen Tigges, brother-in-law Bernard (Benny) Tigges, sister-in-law Sandra (Sandy) Becwar.
A special thank you to the caring staff at The Views of Marion for bringing solace to Barbara in late life.