Barbara Ainley, a longtime resident of Elderwood, died Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, surrounded by her beloved family. She was 82.
A Celebration of Life service will be held tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 4) at 3 p.m. at Woodlake Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Naranjo (at Cypress). A private family graveside service will be held at Three Rivers Cemetery earlier that day.
Barbara was born May 16, 1932, in Three Rivers to Clell and Opal Brewer. She attended Three Rivers Union School and graduated from Woodlake High School in 1950.
In the spring of 1949, as a junior at WHS, Barbara was crowned the inaugural Woodlake Rodeo Queen (then called the Woodlake Roundup) by the local Lions Club.
On June 11, 1954, she married her high school sweetheart, Frank Ainley, in New London, Conn., while he was serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Together, the couple was the first of three generations of their family to graduate from Woodlake High School (and generation number four currently includes five of Frank and Barbara’s great-grandchildren, all of whom live in Three Rivers and who do, or will, attend Three Rivers School and, potentially, WHS).
Upon Frank’s discharge from the service, the couple relocated to the Ainley Ranch in Elderwood, where they continued the Ainley family’s cattle business on property that had been in the family since 1905.
The couple also worked at Woodlake High School; Frank as a longtime teacher and coach, and, for 25 years, Barbara worked in the nurse’s office.
In 2004, at the age of 72, Barbara was still riding horses, mounting up specifically at the request of the Woodlake Lions Club during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Woodlake Rodeo, where she was honored as the event’s first Queen. She was presented with a tiara and commemorative belt buckle to add to the trophy she received in 1949.
Two of her granddaughters, Corinne and Audra, have followed in Barbara’s footsteps and have also been crowned Woodlake Rodeo Queen.
Barbara was a member of Foothill Bible Church of Elderwood. She devoted herself to her family and had all the virtues of a Proverbs 31 woman: faith, marriage, mothering, service, healthy living, inner beauty, and more. According to her family, Barbara was a woman of grace, beauty, and kindness.
She was proud of her ranching heritage and lifestyle. She loved having her family on the ranch and in her home and enjoyed cooking for them all. Her family looked forward to these gatherings, where a tradition was to have Barbara’s cobbler for dessert, followed by an evening of games and retelling old stories.
Barbara would say she loved the holidays because it was a time to “have my family all together under one roof.” She will be dearly missed by her family and all who knew her, but her legacy will continue through her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Clell Brewer (1905-2004) and Opal Brewer (1912-2002) of Three Rivers; her sister, Olliene Morrow; brother DeWayne Brewer; daughter-in-law Darlene Ainley; and nephew Paul Brewer.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Frank Ainley of Elderwood, and their four children, Tim and wife June, Annette Buckley and husband Tom, Frank Jr. and wife Lori, and Craig and wife Ronell; and 16 grandchildren, including two who reside in Three Rivers — grandson Frank III and wife Saty and their children, and grandson Ted and wife Lori who reside with their three children in what was Clell and Opal’s (Barbara’s parents) home. Barbara also is survived by her 20 great-grandchildren and two brothers, Leon Brewer and wife Gulsen of Visalia and Don Brewer and wife Lucinda of Big Timber, Mont.
Remembrances in Barbara’s name may be made to: Foundations School of Discipleship (Tim Ainley, founder/director), P.O. Box 2671, Visalia, CA 93279 (www.foundationsdts.com); Woodlake Union High School Foundation, P.O. Box 475, Woodlake, CA 93286; or Foothill Bible Church 37721 Road 200, Elderwood, CA 93286 (www.foothillbiblechurch.net).