Barbara Ruggiero

Barbara Joy Ruggiero

1927 - 2006

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Obituary of Barbara Joy Ruggiero

For Barbara J. (Freisheim) Ruggiero a life of love, family, travel and friends came to a peaceful end surrounded by family at the home that she loved. Joy was the perfect middle name as it not only followed her on her journey from Tacoma to a life abroad and back, it was also the feeling she created for those fortunate enough to know her. Please click on the link below to view the video tribute: http://videos.lifetributes.com/?id=3861 Born in Tacoma, Barbara was the youngest of three children born to Clarence and Ora Freisheim. She idolized her brother Bill and sister Shirley both of whom preceded her in death. This common theme of family was the magnet that eventually drew her home. She was educated in Tacoma, graduated from Lincoln High School where among other activities she was very active in Rainbow Girls with her sister Shirley. She met the love of her life, then Lieutenant Orlando Ruggiero, and they were married on June 23, 1950. Then it was off to a life as an officer’s wife and the journey was on. Travel began around the country from station to station with a husband at war and two children at home. She didn’t miss a beat no matter the circumstance whether it be news of her husband being wounded in battle or family being moved from post to post. In 1954 a transfer to Europe began with a cross Atlantic voyage with two small children in tow to meet her husband. Three years of travel complemented the challenges of raising a family in a post war setting while never missing an opportunity or country to experience. There was no officer’s wives club or activity that she was not an active member of. The opportunity to travel the continent with her family was priceless and the memories are firmly etched in their minds. In 1957 it was back to the US where the arrival of two more children at their final assignment added more joy to their life and surroundings. After her husband’s honorable discharge in 1961 it was time to load up the family in Fort Knox, Kentucky to move back to Tacoma. Her family, and the region she loved, was calling. Her four children marvel at the memories of Barbara always having everything in place and ready to go. And go it was. And if it wasn’t a Cadillac, she probably wouldn’t. She loved the ocean, the beach, the garden, the horses, her Kerry Blue Terriers, but most of all her family and friends. Her children’s memories are full of trips and outings where nothing short of all that they required was packed and ready for them to enjoy. In between she managed to run the household, volunteer with the Red Cross as well as any and all of her children’s activities, all the while leaving time for enchanting her many nieces and nephews. If it had to do with family consider it done. Entertainment was a constant in her life and she and Orlando never missed an opportunity to go dancing or visit with their many friends. With the children out of the house and the arrival of the first of their 7 grandchildren it was now a cycle of the family coming home. Their backyard in particular was the site of many gatherings spent lounging in the pool, sitting in the sun or feasting on the deck. Nothing could beat being surrounded by her family and the flowers she loved. The ocean continued to call with countless trips up and down the Washington and Oregon coasts for visits with friends and relatives or time with her beloved Orlando. The advent of local casinos curbed the occasional trips to Nevada and Barbara loved to spend time defying their odds. There’s many a dealer wondering who that polite and smiling woman was that walked off with the house’s money. She is survived by her loving husband Orlando of 56 years as well as sons Orlando, Jr. (Sharon) of Eugene, Oregon and Steve (Cindy) of Bainbridge Island, Washington daughters Cheryl Ann (Fred) Johnson of Lake Stevens, Washington and Cyndi (Curt) Wikstrom of Fox Island, Washington. She is also survived by seven grand children and six great grand children. She also leaves behind the last of her Kerry Blue Terriers, Keri. All will miss her dearly. She leaves with profound appreciation for the care administered by Franciscan Hospice House of University Place. She was an original founding member of St. Charles Borremeo Parish in Tacoma, Washington. Private Funeral Mass will be celebrated at a later date at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. Interment to follow at Calvary Cemetery near her beloved sister Shirley. In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to Franciscan Hospice House of University Place, 2901 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, WA 98466 or the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Edwards Memorial Center 253-566-1008.
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