Our precious mother Barbara Lee Brainard Jeskey was born in West Hollywood, California, to Edward and Helen Gaddis. As an only child, Barbara decided early on that she would grow up and have a large family just like her father’s.
As a youngster, Mom would travel by train to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to spend time with her relatives, who lived on a farm. As an adult, Mom talked fondly of her South Dakota family and her many adventures. She attended several schools, but her favorite was the all girls school that she attended while living in Sioux Falls. Mom came back to West Hollywood to attend high school.
It was then at the age of sixteen, that she met Bill Brainard while she was at the beach with a friend. They fell in love and were married within the year – July 15,1952. Dad joined the United States Air Force and they were transferred to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Danny, their first child, was born a year later. While Dad went to serve a short term in the Korean War, Mom moved back to Los Angeles. It was there that Mom and Dad expanded their family.
Within six years, Dennis, Linae, Dale and Donald were born. Shortly after Donald was born, Mom and Dad decided to move their family to Salem, Oregon. They completed their family with Duane, David and Adria!
Mom loved being a homemaker and mother to her eight children. She prepared three delicious home cooked meals almost every day, washed endless loads of laundry, kept a clean house, all while raising her eight children.
Mom made enough time in her busy schedule to volunteer as Scout Mom, Soap Box Derby Mom, and attend all of her children’s sporting events! A Christian education was important to Mom and Dad as well, so Mom made sure that all of her children were raised with a strong foundation of faith. Mom’s delicious sticky buns and chocolate chip cookies were a few of our favorite treats. But most important, was Mom’s famous eight-layer chocolate cake that she baked for each of our birthdays!
Mom taught us all to be kind people by her selfless example. Mom was our matriarch who provided strength, encouragement and endless love to us all. We could always count on Mom.
As Mom’s children grew older, Mom got a job with Avon. She enjoyed going door to door in West Salem and making new friends. Mom became a top Avon seller and earned many perks! After she and Dad divorced in 1977, Mom opened a successful dress boutique by the name of Simply Elegant! Five years later she decided to change careers and began working at MARPO Credit Union, where she eventually retired in 2002.
Mom met her second husband, Jerry Jeskey, in 1999 while working at MARPO Credit Union. They began dating and married in June 2002.
Mom and Jerry traveled together often. Jerry’s son Don, hired them to pick up old computers throughout Idaho, Northern California and Nevada. Mom loved these road trips because she said that they got paid to travel and have fun. Later, Mom and Jerry became snowbirds moving to Laughlin, Nevada, for several winter seasons. Mom and Jerry enjoyed going to casinos and playing the slots. Mom was a “talented” gambler and loved her Diamond Card with all of the rooms and freebies that came along with it! Jerry became ill and passed in April of 2019.
Mom loved family camping adventures at Little North Fork and the Oregon Coast. She loved traveling, especially to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska and Las Vegas. Mom loved getting her family together for many of these trips. Just last month, Mom rented a large house in South Lake Tahoe for a family reunion. She had her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren near her side to play cards, venture to the lake and have themed family dinners. There were 27 of us with Mom enjoying it all. Little did we know that within two short weeks , Mom would be gone.
Barbara is survived by her children and their spouses, Danny and Janelle Dennis, Linae and Chris Sielicky (deceased), Dale and Barbara, Donald and Karen , Duane and Elisabeth, David and Susan and Adria and Ventura Vidaurri. Barbara had eleven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
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