Barbara Pesonen Planton was born July 10, 1946 in Astoria, Oregon to Edna Wentz and Oliver Pesonen. She was the second of two kids to Edna and Oliver. The other being her brother, John Pesonen. She transitioned to heaven on December 3, 2018.
Barbara’s father Oliver made his transition to heaven when Barbara was only 2 years old. After about a year, the family moved from Astoria to Portland where Edna was from. They moved into a renovated barn on Edna’s sister’s property. It was here that Barbara spent all her young life. Barbara and John would both return to Astoria every chance they could to visit and stay there with their dad’s relatives.
Growing up what you would consider poor at that time, they would often gather items and make meals for the less fortunate in the community and deliver them to other families. Living in Portland she did not have much herself, but she always thought to help others before herself.
Barbara attended Menlo Park grade school in SE Portland, and graduated from David Douglas High School in 1964, in Portland, Oregon.
A successful, charismatic, and woman of eminence, Barbara owned and operated a Farmers insurance agency for several years. As she was always looking for ways to reach out to guide others, her business allowed her to incorporate her desire to help others safeguard themselves from what life may throw at them. Being an insurance agent let her set her own hours and hire employees.
She has such a kind soul and was always trying to help others if she could. That caused some small hardships as some would take advantage of that, but she never wavered and changed that aspect of herself. She was always kind and courteous and gave people the benefit of the doubt.
The insurance industry is hard to be successful in, and she had started from nothing in that industry in around 1980 and became a regional leader and top salesperson many times over, winning countless accolades and awards by the time she retired in 2015. Many family members were her clients and she always cared for and educated her clients about life choices and how to best take care of and protect their respective families.
She married James Planton on February 14th, 1976, Valentine’s day. They bought a house together in West Linn later that year, and that is where they welcomed their son into the world three years later. Later, they would custom design a one level home in Oregon City, planning for their future with a one level house, only the second house they had owned together as a couple, and they achieved that in 2012.
As a dedicated wife, mother, and business woman, Barbara enjoyed spending time with her family.
She enjoyed planning yearly family vacations to the Oregon coast, hosting holiday gatherings, and always participating in her son’s school activities. She was a frequent chaperone to every field trip and school activity she could attend, as her job allowed her to make her own hours. She was very close to her son, Brian. There was nothing Barbara didn’t know about that was going on in her Son’s life. He would call her often to share what went on with his day and the experiences he had gone through.
She was always so kind and thoughtful, she had felt like a second mom to other kids as well. She had made lasting impressions on so many. When Brian would run into old friends from childhood around town, the first question always was ‘how is your mom doing’?
Brian got Barbara and Jim to see Washington DC on a family trip as he went to school there for a few years. She often remarked how neat that trip was to see the landmarks and sights she had always wondered about but never seen in person.
In June of 2017, Barbara became a grandparent with the birth of her grandson Anekan, bringing her much joy and pride.
Barbara enjoyed sharing her liveliness and love of good food and wine with everyone she knew.
She loved the holidays, they were by far her favorite time of year. She loved singing Christmas songs whenever she could, and even made up new words to some of them that she enjoyed teaching to her son.
She had such fond memories of family times at the holidays as well. The pomp and circumstance and festive decorations, the formality and cosmopolitan style of hosting parties and the social aspect of attending them were one of her passions to participate in and plan as a host. Everything was top notch when she hosted, a tradition she enjoyed passing on from her time being raised in Astoria and the culture she grew up with. It was also a way for her to honor other departed family members.
She enjoyed traveling to the beach probably most of all. Jim and she went quite often, especially after she retired. She also enjoyed family trips to Sunriver, and going to Halfway, Oregon. She loved traveling to Seattle and Astoria, to visit relatives in those towns and to see the sights and just get away. She was so very fond of Astoria where she grew up and went with the family there many times in the year.
In the past few years she was even more focused with how others were doing around her. Specifically, her Husband and Son. She cared deeply for Jim and did everything she could to help him and was so proud of her Son Brian as well and helped support him and his new family as much as she could.
In the past few years life had also become more difficult mobility wise as she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She powered through it the best she could and was determined to keep her independence and mobility. This condition however had developed to such a degree that it prevented her from doing the things that she liked to do the most, especially spending time with family, participating in holidays, and traveling, and that made life gradually harder.
Barbara is survived by Husband Jim, Son Brian and his fiancé Melinda, Grandkids Anekan (16 months old) and Keanna (age 7), Brother John Pesonen, Sisters in law, Janet, Kay, Rosalie, and Peggy. Brothers in Law, Frank and David. Many cousins, and many other nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Holman-Hankins-Bowker & Waud in Oregon City on Saturday, December 8th, 2018 at 10:30 am, With a committal at Mountain view cemetery in Oregon City shortly thereafter.
Oregon Veterans Home
700 Veterans Drive, The Dalles OR 97058
March of Dimes