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Posted on April 19, 2014 | 5:16 p.m.

Barbara Ann (Williams) Shobe, 1934-2014

Source: Nancy Shobe

Barbara Ann Shobe devoted her life to her family, her community and to volunteerism. (Shobe family photo)
Barbara Ann Shobe devoted her life to her family, her community and to volunteerism. (Shobe family photo)

Born on a wintry day, January 21, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan, Barbara Ann (Williams) Shobe passed away after a short illness on a snowy April 15, 2014. Barbara was beloved for her vivacity, strength of character, continual search for intellectual pursuits and her ability to organize anything or anyone.

In her early years, Barbara attended Cooke School (Detroit) and graduated from Redford High (Detroit) in 1952. Two years later, she “fell in love at first sight” with Richard William Shobe and was married to him until his death in 2008.

Barbara’s humble and selfless nature was evident throughout her life. She took care of everyone, never worrying about herself. She was revered for her sage wisdom and infectious humor. Her grace, dignity and compassion for others prompted many people to refer to her as a “master teacher.”

Barbara was most proud of raising her five children and instilled in them many of her traits including a love for life. Her children include: Mark Shobe of Birmingham, Michigan (Deborah); Jon Shobe of Westford, Massachusetts (Doris); Nancy Shobe of Santa Barbara, California; Eric Shobe of Upton, Massachusetts (Eileen); and Alice Shobe of Seattle, Washington (Eric Svaren). She had 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is also survived by a brother, Ralph Williams of Livonia, Michigan.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard William “Rick” Shobe; two sisters, Margaret Hofmeister and Gwenn Masterson; and a brother, Roy Williams.

In addition to raising her children, Barbara was proud of her lifelong career. She was secretary to the finance director for the Plymouth-Canton School District and to the principal at Bird Elementary School (Plymouth). 

Barbara devoted a considerable amount of time to volunteerism, especially after retirement. She was voted Volunteer of the Month several times, most recently in December for the Novi Older Adult Services. She also volunteered for the Northville Library, Northville Senior Center, Providence Park Hospital, Novi Chinese Club and Novi Senior Center.

Reading, gardening, walking, cooking, sewing and helping others were among Barbara’s greatest passions. She cherished the quiet moments in life, like watching the red-breasted robins alighting upon her patio or windowsill.

Per the family’s wishes, funeral arrangements will be private. Memorial donations may be made to Novi Older Adult Services, c/o Barbara Shobe Memorial Donation, City of Novi, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan 48375. 

For all those who knew Barbara, the family has only one request: To take a moment to listen to the trill of a red-breasted robin this spring.


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