Barbara Mae Werner was born in San Francisco in 1938. At age 3 she lived in Pearl Harbor and survived the Japanese bombing. She spent her childhood in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Nebraska (where she contracted polio). As a child she was often left for days to take care of three younger siblings by herself.
She spent her teenage years in foster care working as a household servant without pay. During this time she became an advocate for homeless children’s education and as an adult, started a tutorial program for kids under the auspices of the Santa Clara County office of education. She recruited and background checked lawyers, engineers, teachers and other professionals to teach homeless children after school. In his generosity, even Sam Liccardo (later to become mayor of San Jose), taught kids at Barb Werner’s program and contributed mightily with many suggestions.
After 18 years, Mrs. Werner, contracted a slowly progressive but serious illness, which forced her to turn the program over to her physician husband and later to others.
As part of her tireless voluntarism, she was inducted into President George Herbert Walker Bush’s “Americas thousand points of light” program. She was also given the “First Lady of California Volunteers Award” and was included in the “The National Wall of Tolerance” sponsored by Morris Dees and Rosa Parks.
Barbara also has a San Jose street named after her (Barb Werner Lane).
She recently left us (August 29th) Despite receiving excellent care at good Samaritan Hospital and is survived by her loving husband Peter C.Werner and three devoted daughters, Sylvia (Husband Marty), Saundra (Husband David) and Sonja. Her grandchildren are Gina (Husband MyCjel), Nicole, Greg, Christian, Sarah, Alysia, Aaron and one great granddaughter, Alyssa.
Barbara loved plants and managed four gardens. She was also an artist and specialized in dry permanent flower and pinecone arrangements which she sold at holiday fairs. Barbara’s amazing life, her love for people and her startling sense of humor, caused her to be loved and remembered by all who knew her(especially by the hundreds of children in her programs). We all feel a great void.
Barbara is at the Darling and Fischer Chapel of the Hills at 615 N. Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos and there will be a viewing and service on Sunday, September 15, 2019 from 10 AM to noon to be followed by an interment in the Harmony Mausoleum at 12:30 PM at Los Gatos Memorial Park Cemetery 2255 Los Gatos – Almaden Road., San Jose, CA 95124. For additional information please call Darling and Fischer 408-354–7740
Instead of flowers, please send donations to The Michael J. Fox Parkinson foundation
https://The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research