Cover photo for Barbara Joyce Friesner (Bj)'s Obituary
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1939 Barbara 2022

Barbara Joyce Friesner (Bj)

December 10, 1939 — April 27, 2022

Barbara Joyce Friesner (BJ) left this earthly realm to meet Jesus on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

She was born in Cumberland, Maryland, on December 10, 1939, to Robert and Doris Rawlings.  The family of 6, including older brother Don and younger siblings Richard & Judy, moved frequently due to their father’s job.  Their homes included Indianapolis, Brookfield (IL), and Indianapolis again before landing in Van Wert, Ohio.

Joyce graduated from Van Wert High School.  She attended Bowling Green State Univ. (Ohio), completed her Bachelor’s degree at Goshen College (Indiana), and received her Master’s degree at St. Francis College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Joyce married Robert Friesner on November 27, 1958, in Van Wert, Ohio.  Eventually the couple moved to Indiana.  Their family grew as she gave birth to daughters Sherry, Deb, and Kate.  She was able to balance motherhood with attending college part time to receive her teaching degrees.  She loved being outdoors and shared her love of gardening with her girls.  Memories of shelling peas, snapping beans, mashing apples for applesauce, and picking strawberries remain fresh in our minds. She also shared her love of reading with her daughters.

Her family grew to include sweet son-in-law’s and 4 adorable grandchildren (Ryan, Tyler, Kalee, & Maddie).  She cuddled and read to them as babies, played with them as toddlers, and enjoyed fun games like Uno with them as youngsters. She shared her candy making skills with them. She was proud to see them grow into fine adults/young adults.

The teaching degrees were put to use in the West Noble Corporation as Joyce over the years amazingly taught at many grade levels…kindergarten, fourth, six, seventh, and eighth.  Her firm, but gentle, manner touched the lives of hundreds of students over the years.  In her words

They were all a joy to teach, and I learned much from the students.”

.  She continued to be a “learner” all her life.  She taught for 31 years and retired in 1999.  She remained close to many faculty friends after her retirement.

In retirement, she was known as Barb or BJ.  She retired to the Plymouth area where she was blessed with many friends.  She remained active in her retirement, including volunteer work at the local hospital and library. She enjoyed taking walks. She loved getting together with her friends to play games and go out for meals.  She also enjoyed being part of a book club and Bible studies.

Her organization memberships include: Beta Sigma Phi and Delta Kappa Gamma (in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers”).  She served on the Ligonier Library board and as co-president of the West Noble Classroom Teachers Association.  Barb was also a published poet, although this is something she never made public.  She constantly showed her desire to help others in whatever way she could. She was a member of the United Methodist Church throughout her lifetime and was involved in a variety of church-related activities.

Her family is forever grateful to her caring Plymouth friends, and to the staff and caregivers at Autumn Trace, The Gables of Canton and Homestead Hospice for the loving care they each provided over the last 7 months.  They are also grateful to her physical therapists and her rehab friend Elisha.

BJ loved and collected angels…. now she is with them.

She is survived by her three daughters Sherry Hughes, Deb (Larry) Miller, and Kate (Josh) Harris; her grandchildren Ryan Hughes, Tyler Hughes, Kalee Miller, and Maddie Harris; her sister Judy Sheets (nephew/niece Scott Sheets and Carrie Horzsa), her brother Richard Rawlings (nephew Kendrick Rawlings); her niece Christine Nelson and nephew Steven Rawlings; and many extended family members in the Friesner family.

BJ was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Robert, and her brother Don Rawlings.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022 from 4-6 pm at Johnson-Danielson Funeral Home, 1100 N. Michigan Street Plymouth, IN 46563.  A funeral service will be held immediately after visitation at 6 pm with Rev. Byron Kaiser officiating.

Following Barbara’s wishes, she will be cremated and interred at a later date at Oak Hill Cemetery in Plymouth, IN.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (

) or the Marshall County Reading Council, P.O. Box 396, Plymouth, IN 46563.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Joyce Friesner (Bj), please visit our flower store.


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