Barbara Louise (Foster) Jeska

  • Born: April 17, 1926
  • Died: January 10, 2020
  • Location: Richland, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Tel. (269) 962-5527

Tribute & Message From The Family


Barbara Louise (Foster) Jeska of Richland, MI

"...Jesus, I've placed my trust in thee."

Barbara, age 93, died peacefully Friday morning, January 10, 2020, with her loving family at her side.

Barbara, the oldest daughter of Emil W. and Helen B. (Fowler) Foster, was born in Cadillac, MI, on April 17, 1926. Her family moved to Parchment when she was a small child, and she graduated from Kalamazoo's St. Augustine Catholic High School in 1943.

Barb was working as an established artist at KVP (Kalamazoo Vegetable Paper) in Parchment when she met her future husband while on her daily chocolate-milk run to the cafeteria. She spotted a handsome new face belonging to a WWII veteran, and very innocently asked for his help in finding her favorite drink. Barbara was united in marriage to Robert D. Jeska at St. Augustine Catholic Church on January 8, 1949. Barb and Bob moved to the Detroit area where Bob studied engineering at the University of Michigan, while Barb supported the newlyweds by working at Stroh's Beer. After graduation, Bob was employed by the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, and Barb's role as bread-winner turned to bread-maker when she began devoting her life to her new career as a mother and homemaker. Barb and Bob moved from the Detroit area in 1958 to raise their young family in the rural setting of their new farm near Richland.

Barb was an award-winning nature photographer and a member of Upjohn Camera Club. She and Bob enjoyed wintering in Gulf Shores, AL, and traveling to Washington, DC, where Bob spent his time at the National Archives researching Civil War firearms, and Barb sat in the galleries of the Senate and Congress, immersed in the politics of Capitol Hill. They were parishioners of St. Ann Catholic Church in Augusta, Michigan.

Two days after celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary, Bob preceded Barb in death on January 10, 2008. Their family finds great comfort that Bob and Barb's passing from this earth, and back into each other's heavenly arms, occurred exactly 12 years apart to the day.

When remembering their Mom, her children will always think of how she was the epitome of "ladylike", her homemade bread, rolls and hamburger buns, photography, nature, hummingbirds and barn swallows, wildlife, filet mignon (with ANY fat trimmed off!), gardening, horses and horse racing, St. Theresa, the endearing way she always referred to her father as "Daddy", Shirley Temple, her little dog Daisy, popcorn and a Stroh's beer every Sunday night, homemade dill pickles, cheese sandwiches, coffee with cream and just a touch of sugar, a little yellow Porsche, Family, Faith, and Home.

Barbara is survived by her children: Dan F. (Mary Collier) Jeska of Plainwell, Jeanne T. (Victor) Downing of Portage, Eric F. (Sue) Jeska of Parchment, and Barbara J. (Tom) Hargarther of Portage; seven grandchildren: Jill Cavanaugh of Cleveland, OH; Robert Cavanaugh of Brooklyn, NY; Ted (Chelsea) Cavanaugh of Brooklyn, NY; John (Brittany) Jeska; Julia (Erin) Jeska-Kennedy; Elyse (Bradley) Grossa of Celina, TX; and Aubrey (Christopher Tompkins) Hodges of Kalamazoo; two great grandchildren: Evelyn Cavanaugh of Cleveland, OH, and Charles Robert Jeska; four sisters: Joanne Wales of Ignacio, CA; Frances Reish of Kalamazoo, and twins, Jane (Ron) Tyo and Judi Yunginger, both of Allegan. Barb will also be remembered by her nieces and nephews, extended family, and dear friends. Barb was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Mark Edward Jeska in 1971; an infant sister Beverly; and a brother, Richard.

Barb's family will greet friends on Wednesday, January 15 from 5:00-7:00 PM at the Farley-Estes and Dowdle Funeral Home, Richland Chapel, 9170 East D Avenue (M-89), where the Rosary will be recited at 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, January 17 at 11:00 AM in St. Ann Catholic Church, 12648 East D Avenue, Augusta, MI, with Father Max Nightingale, Celebrant, and Deacon Michael A. Carl, assisting. Interment will follow in Prairie Home Cemetery, Richland. Family and friends will return to the St. Ann Social Hall immediately following the committal for a time of fellowship and luncheon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Barb's honor may be directed to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Personal messages for the family may be placed here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com