Cover photo for Barbara Tobiska's Obituary
Barbara Tobiska Profile Photo
1923 Barbara 2023

Barbara Tobiska

March 2, 1923 — May 11, 2023

Lakewood, Colorado

In Loving Memory of Barbara Lorraine Tobiska
March 2, 1923 - May 11, 2023
Barbara Lorraine Tobiska was a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, artist,
and teacher. She passed away on May 11, 2023, in Lakewood, Colorado, at the age of 100. Her
journey through life touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Born on March 2, 1923 in Omaha Nebraska, Barbara was the middle daughter of Hiram and Vera
Manville. Her sisters, Betty, and Beatrice, passed prior to her. She is survived by her three children
William Kent and his wife Susan, D’Ann and her husband Randy, and Karon Sue. Her grandchildren
Scott (1972–2015) and Cory as well as great-granddaughters Tayler, Ally, and Kathryn were
a continuing joy in her life.
In elementary school Barbara showed an interest in art. In the early 1930’s, she was selected among
her peers to study painting in an early version of after-school activities. She obtained her bachelor’s
degree in arts from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska and went on to serve as a teacher and mentor
in art, swimming, and adult education. She was employed by Jefferson County School District’s
Adult Education program for 36 years as an educator for hundreds of students. She taught the
American Red Cross’ “Learn to Swim” program for over 50 years starting in college to pay her
way through school and taught for years at the Lakewood Morse Park pool. She taught swimming
and art in most of the Colorado towns where she lived, including LaPorte, Ft. Collins, Weldona,
Sterling, Lamar, Montrose, Trinidad, Salida, and Alamosa before moving to Lakewood. She began
her serious painting in 1946 as the first woman fire spotter on Twin Sisters Peak in the Colorado
Front Range, while surrounded by the inspiration of the Colorado Rockies.
Barbara was an educator throughout her life and she thought of herself primarily as a teacher. She
once commented, “If I couldn’t feel like I was really making a difference in these people’s lives, I
wouldn’t keep teaching.”
Her passion for art continued until the week before her passing, when she was working on her last
painting. During her life, she produced nearly 5000 works, primarily using oils as the medium.
Her subject matter was landscapes as well as still life. Examples can be seen at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGKeoVTgv7Q
Barbara contributed sixty years of time and energy in the Lakewood arts community towards building
a lasting artistic presence in Colorado. She was a founding member of the Mountainside Art
Guild. She was a driving force behind providing over 40 sculptures throughout the city of Lakewood
beginning with the 1988 “Sculptures in the Park.” She helped design and complete the Cultural
Center in the Lakewood City Commons area in 1998, including a 350-seat auditorium, 2
gallery areas, and community meeting spaces. She was appointed to the Lakewood Heritage, Culture
& the Arts Commission in 1999 and served on the Lakewood Cultural Arts Citizen Advisory
Commission and Task Force for Creating a Lakewood Arts Council. She was a founding member
of the Lakewood Arts Council Gallery in Lakewood Colorado.
Beyond her professional accomplishments, Barbara was a loving and devoted mother. She married
Aron Tobiska, a World War II Army Air Corps pilot, in 1946 and they built a wonderful life for
their family. After Aron’s passing in 1994, she was briefly married to John Rhodes, who passed in
1997. She enjoyed traveling and companionship with Wally Hansen, and later Jim Cram, in her
80’s and 90’s, becoming friends with their families.
Barbara will always be remembered for her warm smile, gracious demeanor, and inclusive spirit.
She had a remarkable ability to brighten any room and make everyone around her feel special. Her
unwavering optimism and resilience in the face of life's challenges served as an inspiration to all.
Barbara leaves behind a legacy of love, compassion, and a lifelong dedication to learning. Her
physical presence is missed but her spirit continues to live on in the hearts of all those whose lives
she touched.
A celebration of her will be held will be held to honor Barbara's life and legacy on Tuesday, August
1, 2023, 11 am – 1:30 pm, Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood,
CO. A private committal will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers,
the family kindly requests donations to be made to the Lakewood Arts Gallery, 6501 W Colfax,
Lakewood, CO 80214 in Barbara's name.
Her memory will forever be etched in our hearts, and her spirit will guide us on our own journeys.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Tobiska, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

11:00am - 1:30 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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Private Committal

Fort Logan National Cemetery

3698 S Sheridan Blvd, Denver, CO 80236

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