Barbara (Gabelein) Sires: 1941 – Jan. 19, 2019



Barbara (Gabelein) Sires passed away Jan. 19, 2019, looking out at the view she had enjoyed for 48 years. Barbara and her husband Joe were separated for just 101 days before being reunited in heaven.

Barbara was born in 1941 in Clinton, Wash., to Dora and Johnny Gabelein. Growing up, there were a lot of home-grown adventures like taking her dolly to the doctor, riding horses and picking blackberries. Her parents were hardworking farmers who taught her and her siblings Dick and Cathy about integrity and ingenuity.

Barbara enjoyed working alongside multiple generations, gardening, canning and butchering. She loved traditions like pressing apples in the fall and Christmas baking. By day, she was an amazing mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and wife. After the house was quiet, she got her second wind. Then she kept the books for Sires Construction and the family’s rentals, sewed square dance outfits and knit baby sweaters.

Barbara treasured nothing more than family and friends. Connections through the Class of ’59, Sewing Circle and Whidbey Whirler’s kept her social calendar full. She was an integral part of celebrating life’s milestones. She captured special moments with her camera and covered her walls with memories and quotes.

“Grama Sires” made time for simple pleasures — Old Maid, City Beach, a visit to see “the” eagle’s nest, going to the Whidbey Island Fair.

Barbara and Joe had a welcoming, peaceful home. They also enjoyed camping. Barbara checked out every historical marker and gift shop. Her trailer was packed with anything you might need along the way.

Barbara’s love, wisdom and memories are tightly held in each of her children’s and grandchildren’s hearts. Sandy (Keith) Sires-Kraha, Ron (Lori) Sires, and Pam (Todd) Brager would like to invite you to the Bayview Cemetery in Clinton at 1 p.m. May 18 for a graveside service, followed by a celebration of Barbara’s life.

The family will be forever grateful to Barbara’s faithful friends who continued to surround her with love after her stroke eight years ago, her team of caregivers the last few months of her life and Whidbey Health Hospice Care.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to “The Sires Construction Scholarship” at Heritage Bank or mail to Pam Brager, PO Box 72, Freeland, WA 98249. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at

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