Barbara Jean Feldhusen, 71, died Tuesday, November 28, just six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. She was under the care of her goddaughter and Vantage Hospice in Katy, Texas, where she’d wintered for the last eight years.
Born February 5, 1952 to Henry and Dorothy (Kuder) Feldhusen in Munising, Michigan, Barb’s four older brothers often teased her that they were hoping for another boy, instead, to complete their basketball team.
Barb attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and William G. Mather High School, both in Munising, graduating from Mather in 1970. In 1974, she became the fifth of all six siblings to earn bachelor’s degrees from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, hers in teaching. Her student teaching was done at the former Flat Rock Elementary School in rural Gladstone, Michigan. Barb went on to take a master’s degree in religious education from Loyola University New Orleans in 1996, while acting as facilitator of the master’s extension program for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette.
A lifelong member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Munising, Barb was hand-picked by Brother Felix to succeed him as religious education coordinator for the community in 1975. It was a job she held for 40 years. She also often taught Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes, winning a Catholic-school Teacher of the Year Brass Bell Award from the National Catholic Society of Foresters in 1999. She was inducted into the Alger County Woman’s Roll of Honor for “devotion and dedication to … religious education” that same year.
Barb taught Sacramental Formation classes, as well, acted as a cantor, lector, and Eucharistic minister for the church, worked with committees planning the parish centennial celebration of 1996, and was actively involved in the day-to-day workings of the parish.
She attended numerous educational conferences across the United States, to further her religious studies, and shared her knowledge in workshops for staff and others in parishes throughout the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan. She volunteered as a chaperone for many church youth group events, including local dances, and trips to other parts of the U.P. and to Minnesota and Wisconsin. She also served for a time on the board of directors for the Marquette-Alger Youth Foundation.
She was a member of the church choir and performed regularly with the Alger County Community Chorus in Easter and Christmas cantatas. For several years before her retirement, she worked as a sales clerk at the Hen House gift shop in Munising, as well.
Barb enjoyed spending time with old friends from school as much as with new friends made during her long career at Sacred Heart. She especially liked getting together with family and friends at the family’s Stolen Hours Camp on Baldy Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest, and for the Feldhusen family’s annual Fourth of July parties at the Sunset Motel on the Bay in Munising. Her Oreo dessert was a potluck favorite. Barb was also an avid football fan, with the Munising Mustangs and Green Bay Packers among her favorite teams.
She traveled extensively in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia, including backpacking to six European countries in 30 days in 1998 with one of her nieces. She went to Indonesia with her goddaughter and her family in 2019, made a couple trips to Atlanta, Georgia, with friends, and often accompanied her father and her brother Mike to Garden, Michigan, to attend harvest dinners at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, patron dinners at Marygrove Retreat Center, and events sponsored by the Garden Peninsula Historical Society.
Barb was noted for her creative skills, too: calligraphy, scrapbooking, and stained glass art. She also played piano in her spare time, competed in local trivia contests, and had fun playing cribbage.
Barb is survived by: three brothers, Thomas (Patricia) of Marquette and Republic, Michigan, Henry "Hank" (Janet) of Caspian, Michigan, and David of Green Bay, Wisconsin; one sister, Mary of Gladstone; nine nieces and nephews, Michael (Allison) Feldhusen, Tommie Oakley, goddaughter Jamie Feldhusen, Joie Graves, Rhonda Sitnikau, Kim Myers, Eric Feldhusen, Erin (Brian) Marier, and Heather Feldhusen; seven great-nieces and nephews; one great-great-niece; numerous cousins; and her goddaughter, Cecilia Anderson (Jaka) Hardiwinangun, and their children, Anderson and James, of Katy. Besides her parents, Barb was preceded in death by her brother Michael “Mike,” sister-in-law Jacquelyn Feldhusen, and family cat, Jaspurr.
A memorial service for Barb is being planned for spring 2024 in Munising, with the help of Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising.
Barb asked that any monetary gifts in her name be directed to the Faith Formation Program at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Munising.