Barbara (McNulty) Wiest

Obituary of Barbara Joan (McNulty) Wiest

Barbara Joan (McNulty) Wiest was born November 8, 1948, at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS, to Theodore (Ted) and Doris McNulty. A proud, only child and air force brat, she always embraced the regular moves of air force life as an opportunity for new friends and experiences rather than something to be feared.

Her parents, Ted, of Chicago Irish and German descent, and Doris, a Mayflower descendant with French Canadian and aboriginal roots, were both short in stature but strong willed and energetic. They raised Barb in varied parts of the world, teaching her to be adventuresome and open to new challenges - whether it was sitting in a London restaurant at age 3 talking with Boris Karloff at the next table or flying across the Atlantic talking to the nice man (Enrico Fermi) with a suitcase chained to his wrist. She was taught to be polite and respectful but not afraid of the world. Although she attended school in England and graduated from high school in Germany, she still managed to set foot in all 50 states during her lifetime. She had a great appreciation for other cultures and languages and became fluent in German while in high school.

After returning to the states after graduating high school in Germany, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in German and later a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. While at Gonzaga she began her 42-year career in mental health and drug and alcohol treatment, working full-time as a group parent at the Good Shepperd Home in Spokane. After graduating she spent 2 years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, first as parish cook in Bethel Alaska and then conceiving and supervising the building of a group home in Bethel for Yupik adolescents with behavioral and substance abuse problems. She returned to Spokane where she supervised various mental health and drug treatment programs including a group home for adolescent girls, a methadone program for opiate abusers and an adult residential program while still in her 20s. She then accepted a job as mental health coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Oregon until moving to West Linn, OR in 1983 and to work for Clackamas Mental Health, where she worked for 25 years supervising and working in multiple programs serving adolescents and adults.

She became known as a skilled therapist and program director who often took on the most challenging assignments and worked hard to help ensure high quality services to all in need. It was during her time working at Clackamas County that she was stricken with the painful and crippling disease Rheumatoid Arthritis. Even though she suffered with it for 25 years until her death, she continued to work for many years after its onset and did everything possible to live her life as she wanted.

She was an avid knitter and after retiring, found a new circle of friends through her knitting buddies. Even though her hands suffered greatly from RA she continued to make gorgeous and intricate garments until the end. She was also an avid reader of mysteries and nonfiction. Barb was politically active and a spokesperson for the disabled especially when it concerned improved access to locations the rest of us enjoy.

She loved to travel and there was no bigger fan of the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball team. Her annual trips to Las Vegas to attend the WCC tournament spanned over 10 years including 2022 even as her health was failing.

Barb is survived by her husband of 44 years, Rob and their son, Robbie. They both miss her dearly and pray for her release from pain and be rewarded with God's love and grace forever. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Sharon Wiest, brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Brenda Wiest, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Barb is preceded in death by her parents Ted and Doris McNulty, mother and father-in-law, Mary and Robert (Bob) Wiest, brother-in-law Stephen Wiest, and sister-in-law Jeanne Wiest.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to National Alliance on Mental Illness of Clackamas County,

A Christian Mass will be held at 2:00 p.m. May 20th at St. Cyril Catholic Church, Wilsonville Oregon.

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