Barbara Szymel Lonien passed away peacefully with her loving family by her side on August 9, 2023 in Oro Valley, AZ. Barbara was a caring wife to John Lonien for 58 years (60 years in love), a devoted mother to their two daughters, Mary and Susan, proud grandmother to ten grandchildren, and beloved older sister to Janet. She is preceded in death by her father, Theodore Szymel, and mother, Mary Jarecki Szymel.
Barbara began her career as a registered nurse and later completed her Masters in Social Work degree at Arizona State University. She went on to live a life filled with compassion, empathy, and service to others. Barbara loved a nightly cup of decaf coffee with her husband and early mornings sitting on the patio watching the desert birds come and go. As anyone who knows her, Barbara was a curator of the very best giraffe décor and liked to fill the walls of her house with pictures of loved ones. She enjoyed being in the company of people, chatting about the day, and making new friends. She also treasured Bunco nights and working up a sweat at her favorite Zumba class.
Barbara was loved for her heart of gold, beautiful smile, and laugh that brought happiness to so many. We will remember her love of life and cherish our memories.
A funeral service is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. (MST) on October 6, 2023 at the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene. As Barbara was an avid animal lover, in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the nonprofit, Friends of Pima County Animal Care Center, at friendsofpacc.org/support-pacc-pets.