My mom, Barbara Ann Orisich was born on February 8th 1950 in Jackson, Michigan. On the morning of Wednesday June 12th, 2019 she passed away at home, pain free in her sleep after a difficult battle with cancer.

Although a self-proclaimed introvert, she had a huge impact on the many who were fortunate enough to call her a friend. Barbara was generous, compassionate, loving with a ready smile and great sense of humor, and was very quick with a pun. Dare I say she was a very tolerant mom that always supported her son no matter what. She could also be stubborn, insisting on doing things her own way and she absolutely lived life on her own terms.

Mom discovered her talent and love of fine arts at a young age. She was an extraordinary painter and illustrator. A talent she employed in her long career as an instructional designer but also as a fine artist. She expressed herself through her artwork, whether it was her love for her late husband Jack, immortalizing her pets, or expressing the interconnected nature of the universe, her passions would inevitably show up in her paintings. She was also all about community and helped to bring together the Decatur Art Group. Her artwork will live on with all of us.

Nature played an important part of Barbara’s life. Mom loved hiking, camping and long walks in the neighborhood with her close friends and, of course, her dog, Joey. This passion for the outdoors is what led her to her late husband Jack. They spent many a weekend in North Georgia and other places hiking and camping.

Barbara placed a high value on education earning an undergraduate degree in fine arts and a masters degree in instructional technology from Indiana University.  She tried her hardest to instill that value in her son… not sure it stuck, sorry mom. Barbara never stopped learning and creating either, whether it was woodworking, gardening, making paper, even books. In her battle with cancer she took control over her treatment, learning everything she could and probably driving her doctors crazy but I’m sure her doctors wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Barbara is survived by her son, Benjamin, her sisters, Mary and Martha, her cousin Alyson as well as her niece, Rachel and her nephews, Alexander and Jonathon, and last but not least, her dog, Joey.

Mom, I miss you. I miss your unconditional love, your sense of humor and most of all knowing that I could pick up the phone and you would always be there. Your kind spirit  and dedication to living life to its fullest will stay with us forever.

Love you Mom,

Ben Orisich

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  1. She will be dearly missed by her neighbors. I always enjoyed chatting with her at neighborhood events and I was always impressed with her dedication to walking & running with Joey in the neighborhood.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about Barbara’s passing. When I moved in two doors down from her, she held a Welcome New Neighbors party at her home (there were two additional new home owners in the hood).

  3. Barbara was an immensely talented and special woman. I send condolences to her family and friends. I know Joey misses her and I hope he is happy with his new family.

  4. Barbara was a very talented and special woman who will be missed by so many of us. I send condolences to her family. I hope her little dog Joey will be happy with his new family.

  5. This so lovingly and perfectly describes my dear friend, Barbara. The three greatest loves of her life were her son, Ben, her late husband, Jack and her devoted companion, an 8-year-old Wheaton Terrier named Joey. My heart is broken for this loss to Ben and her family and her dear friends. I will forever miss her and our long walks and talks.

  6. I am so sad to read this. Barbara was one of the sweetest, most gentle persons I have ever known. I have many fond memories of hiking around Stone Mountain with her and Jack and their beloved dogs. My heartfelt condolences to Ben.

  7. I was sad to hear of Barbara’s passing and send my love to her family and friends. Barbara and I got to speak at few times at neighborhood gatherings. I appreciated her quiet energy ,strong presence and enjoyed our conversations. She was a special person.

  8. I am so grateful for the companionship and friendship of Barbara and Joey the last few years- I will miss you, dear friend! Ben, this is a beautiful tribute to your Mom and I send you and all your family and Barbara’s many friends my deepest condolences. Barbara will always be with me and I am heartbroken.

  9. I am so sorry about the loss of this kind, gentle, and strong person. I was in awe of her artistic talent, gardening ability, and natural connection with her dogs. I will remember her kindness to my daughter and me many years ago and her warm and friendly smile when I saw her in the neighborhood. My condolences to her family.

  10. I have only know Barbara for a few years, however, she left a lasting impact on me- kindness, integrity and have confidence in what you bring to this world. We all truly enjoyed her art work that she exhibited at our center. I am grateful to have known Barbara.
    Ben, I wish for you strengthening through unconditional love.

  11. Barbara and I worked together on a number of projects and she was a delight to work with. We always had respect for each others skills and were able to produce better results together. She was a kind considerate person.

  12. I worked with Barbara for many years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was always a delightful and inspiring colleague and always greeted others with a bright smile and friendly word. She surely left a long-lasting, positive impression on everyone with whom she worked.

  13. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. I knew Barbara when she worked at CDC. She was a very caring person to people she knew.

  14. My deepest condolences and prayers to you and your family. What a wonderful and loving tribute to your Mom.

  15. My condolences and prayers to the family. She will be missed Barbara. I worked with her at the CDC.

  16. Barbara and Jack were special people. Hiking with them was a singular pleasure. A light has gone out, but the lives Barbara illuminated and enriched go on.
    Ben, My thoughts are with you.

  17. I worked with Barbara for many years until she retired. She was always pleasant and had a smile. My condolences goes to her family and friends.

  18. I met Barbara through the Medlock Park Neighborhood Association and also often encountered her and Joey when walking with my dog. I enjoyed her company and sorry to hear of her passing, condolences to the family.

  19. I’m grateful I was able to share time with you outdoors. I’m so glad we had a camping trip together only two years ago where we spent sometime remembering Jack. You left us too soon.

  20. In a last note to Barbara I told her how much I appreciated her love and care of my friend Jack in his declining years. I never heard her complain one iota about doing that. I was glad I got to go on one of her hikes when we spread some of Jack’s ashes in NGA.

  21. Barbara and I were Medlock/Mason Mills park friends. We went hiking together and she introduced me to her hiking group. She confided in me early on about her cancer, knowing I am a health coach and former owner of health food stores. She was very much into curing herself naturally. She was a very gracious host when I visited her home. Joey was her true companion. Ben, I never met you personally, but I knew of you. Your mother’s legacy lives on through her many friends, and the walks in the park are not quite the same not seeing her with Joey. My heart is heavy. May the blessings she bestowed on others be passed forward…

  22. Growing up in a different town from my Aunt Barbara, I first started really getting to know her as a teenager when I finally learned to write letters. She always responded with love and encouragement, keeping tabs on my various interests, and updating me on my talented younger cousin Ben. The value Aunt Barbara placed on family connection was always evident over the years, from reaching out to pass along family news items, to arranging in-person reunions. When I could pass through the Atlanta area, pizza and a pleasant stroll with Aunt Barbara and Uncle Jack and their dogs at Stone Mountain, or a visit to the Fernbank Science Center, was always on the menu. When I myself became a parent, Aunt Barbara immediately donned the gracious mantle of the doting great-aunt, maintaining a special lasting influence on my children, sparking their interest in science and nature, especially animals (and particularly Pandas!), for which I will be forever grateful. I will miss our many conversations on topics from neuroscience to teaching to parenting to woodworking, and have fond memories of the visits with the children in Decatur, taking Joey along the Medlock boardwalk culminating at the playground. Mostly I will simply miss her kind and gentle spirit filled with unconditional love. I believe she made each person she met feel uniquely special in the world.

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