- Deceased's name: Barbara Waka
- Age: 79
- Date: December 19, 2011
- Hometown: Melrose
- Survived by: Daughter: Naomi Waka
Barbara A. (Clark) Waka of Melrose, 79 years old and the wife of the late R. John Waka, died on Monday, December 19, 2011 from spinal meningitis following surgery at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Her only child, Naomi, was with her during this final journey.
She retired in 1999 from the Kennedy School located in Somerville where she worked as a School Adjustment Counselor. While working full-time at the Kennedy School, Barbara was also a production weaver. She created beautiful works which sold in numerous boutiques and shops as well as stores such as Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus of Beverly Hills.
As a weaver, her emphasis was color. She considered herself a colorist, choosing one or more variegated yarns along with solids to create a wonderful painterly interest. Through the years Barbara continued developing her work, changing with the times, adding tencel and fine silk to her existing line of chenille and mohair.
The Waka family lived in an old Victorian home in Melrose which they lovingly worked to restore while keeping with the original style inside and out. The house represented a lifelong devotion and embodied the identities of both she and her husband, Jack. She loved the family gardens, trees, orchids, and especially the rose and remembrance gardens.
The many interests of Barbara Waka included a love of Siamese cats which led to her family raising kittens for many years. Travel was another passion. Vacation trips throughout the U.S., England, France, and Italy were high points of her life. She appreciated fine gourmet food and had the opportunity to sample the world’s best. Her favorites were found in some of Boston’s finest restaurants.
Barbara’s positive outlook was very instrumental in helping her husband, Jack, overcome a spinal cord injury, the result of a devastating accident in 1991. She was his ever-present guide to recovery, overcoming barriers, and making a life. With his death in 2002, their partnership ended and Barbara’s world changed. Despite this great change, she continued weaving, producing beautiful works of art infused with color.
Mrs. Waka was the devoted wife of the late Richard John Waka, loving mother of Naomi Waka of CA, sister-in-law of Eleanor and Monte Minami of CA, James and Veronica Waka of FL and the late Frank & Mitchi Waka. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews as well as her cousin, Dorothy Ollek.
A Celebration of Barbara’s Life is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 11am at the Green Street Baptist Church, 179 Green Street, Melrose, MA, 02176. Reception is to follow immediately after the service concludes. All of Barbara’s relatives and friends are welcome. The family is being assisted by the Gately Funeral Home of Melrose with the arrangements. For directions or to send the family a condolence, please visit www.gatelyfh.com