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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Obituary: Brink, Barbara M.

BRINK, Barbara M. (Age 86) A stranger on the phone reflected on how Barbara Brink had influenced him saying, “You don’t know me, but in her own quiet way, your Mom did what Jesus would do.”

She recruited women and men to bring supplies and feet on the ground to World Impact, an inner city Christian ministry in Los Angeles.

He also noted her care for female inmates at Ventura County Jail, like Prison Fellowship encourages, and her church involvement over the years.

An upstate New York friend recalled how she helped start the church’s nursery school.

Whether it was Aglow International and its prison ministry, Forest Home Women’s Auxiliary for the Christian Conference Center, or countless Christian or church ministries, Barbara yearned to see people loved for Jesus.

Christ and culture shaped her.

As a child growing up in Spokane Valley in Washington, she loved her family, her church, and music and drama.

A decent pianist, she graduated from West Valley High School and entered the University of Idaho, finishing with a music major, a drama minor, and fun times in Kappa Alpha Theta.

She married fellow graduate Ivan E. Brink (Ivan from Moscow during the Cold War) and followed him in his General Electric (GE) career to Pittsfield, MA, where Janet A.

Brink was born, and then to Schenectady, NY, where Ivan E. Brink, Jr and Laurel A.

Brink completed the family.

Barbara made lifelong friends wherever she went.

Many of her GE friends followed manager Ivan to Endwell, NY.

There she got involved in church choirs, some of which she directed, and in a community chorus where she made friends.

She was also involved in the American Association of University Women and, though a lifelong Republican, she participated in early Great Society programs to help women with jobs and schooling.

In her volunteer work with Job Corps, she brought young women into our home to live with us while she provided basic skills training before they were sent to their first field assignment.

She made friends among the elderly, too, with monthly visits to the County Home where her reluctant kids learned not only about aging, but that even a resident with severe rheumatoid arthritis in her hands could knit the most remarkable pieces.

Ivan’s job took her to Westlake Village, CA, in 1972.

She quickly built a new community of friends and Christian co-workers through church and cultural events while keeping in touch with past friends.

For decades, Barbara looked after a dear friend who was paralyzed from the waist down, often assisting her to bed at night and helping with whatever was needed.

After Ivan retired in 1987, they traveled the US visiting family and friends at home and abroad and meeting relatives in Sweden.

They met new friends in Europe and England, one of whom—Beryl, from Manchester—wrote, “She was so full of life and interested in everything.

Barbara just loved people!”

After Ivan died in 1994, she continued helping and visiting family and friends and, as always, engaging in ministry and culture.

She managed that transition remarkably well finally selling their home, moving to a town home, and ultimately ending up in gorgeous University Village in Thousand Oaks, CA.

It was an excellent fit.

She loved the people, activities, culture-like the New West Symphony-and continued her lifelong interests.

She also added a new friend, Eddie.

Eddie (at 92) and Barbara (83) traveled to Antarctica and South America.

Only a bout with time-share fraud con artists marred her final years.

A stroke February 16th gradually took its toll, causing her to complete her return to Spokane at Clare Bridge.

There in the care of her beloved daughter, Laurel, and Hospice of Spokane, she died to the sound of “Amazing Grace” on August 11th at 86.

On hearing of her death, the recurring refrain was “she loved to laugh.”

She is survived by her older sister, Jean Kinney, of San Anselmo, CA; younger brother, Thomas Mariner and wife Laurene of Des Moines, WA; and Ivan’s sister, Wilma Barry, of Boise, ID; children: Janet, Ivan, and Laurel; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service was held September 13th at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Endwell, NY, for east coast family and friends.

The week before she died, her lifelong friend Betty Weeks counseled her to, “take each day and count your blessings.”

Mom heard that as “Count your breakfasts.”

Ivan, Jr and family took that to heart and had a memorial breakfast in her memory.

We invite you to do the same, and request that donations be made in her honor to any of Barbara’s favorite charities (mentioned above) or as her daughter Janet wrote, “Your favorite charity.”