Saralee passed into the arms of the Lord with her family by her side on September 18, 2021. She was born to Jesse D. Barnes and Iva May (Nelson) Barnes on the family’s Delta Line Road farm in Custer, Washington on July 31, 1926. Saralee joined three older brothers, Daynor, Clayton, and Raymond Barnes, who undoubtedly spoiled their little sister.
Growing up she enjoyed baby kittens and farm animals, playing the piano, ice skating, and sledding. She and her family attended Custer Methodist Church. She graduated from Bellingham High School in 1944 and attended business school and Western Washington College. While there, her friend, Charlotte Reeck, said, “My brother, Merlin, is home on leave from the Army and will take us ice skating.” Through this introduction, Merlin and Saralee met and were married in 1950. They had four children whom she stayed home with until they were well into school. She then went to work as a bookkeeper for 18 years at Northwest Radiology.
After retirement, she and Merlin enjoyed gardening, tending their small Christmas tree farm in Lynden, traveling to Alaska to fish and visit family, and one special trip to Oberammergau and Europe. Fond family memories were made at their Sandy Point beach cabin, blueberry picking at Mount Baker, clam digging at Birch Bay, and ice skating on the pond. Saralee enjoyed baking and passed this gift on to her grandchildren. She was an active member of Garden Street United Methodist Church. We were thankful she was able to attend the Barnes Family picnic this summer and celebrate her 95th birthday.
Recently she enjoyed watching hummingbirds, receiving cards and visits from her nephews and nieces, Darrel Barnes (Bette), Carol Del Corral, and Rae (Art) Schouweiler, as well as Hospice volunteer, Pat. We so appreciate all the care she received from her Cordata Court caregivers and her Hospice team. Saralee had a wonderful smile and never met a rose she didn’t want to smell!
She is survived by her four children, Cindy (Steve) Wouters, David (Ronna) Reeck, Robert (Jill) Reeck, and Philip (Mary) Reeck; grandchildren Tom (Ansie) Wouters, Lorna (Craig) Hougen, Kristin (Dustin) Harris, Kenny (Ali) Reeck, Kelsey (Harry Lloyd) Reeck, Kaitlyn Reeck, Tonna (Stuart) James, Donya Foidel, and Tara (Brett) Nebeker; sister-in-law, Charlotte Aamot; eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Whatcom Hospice Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, Meals on Wheels, or Garden Street United Methodist Church.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.