Barbara Jean (Coad) Whitman, 77, of Evart, MI, died Sunday, February 1, 2015 at her
home in Evart, Michigan.
Barbara was born September 23, 1937 in Auburn, Nebraska, the youngest of six children to Edgar
and Grace Wise Coad. She attended the Auburn Public Schools and graduated from Auburn High
School in 1955. She loved school, her classmates, and participating in the many extracurricular
activities. (class plays and skits, FHA, Library Club, band and chorus which strengthened her love
of music, pep club, and cheerleading). She was particularly proud to have earned a gold “A” pin
On September 1, 1957 Barbara was united in marriage to Richard Whitman at the Christian
Church in Auburn, Neb. with her brother Merwin performing the ceremony. They were blessed
with three sons,Russell, Richard, and Eric. Dick and Barbara celebrated their 50th Wedding
Anniversary in 2007 with their family in attendance.
Barbara was a stay-at-home mom for several years but recognized the need to return to school. She earned a diploma in nursing from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in Springfield, Ill., in
1970 and began her nursing career as a staff nurse on the orthopedic unit. When they moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she changed to nursing education. This career change required
additional education and she received a BSN from Northern Michigan University in 1978, and a
M.S. in Nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1987. She taught in the nursing program at
Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich. and then at Suomi College (now Finlandia
University) Hancock, Mich., becoming Chair of the Nursing Department in 1996. She retired in
2000 after 23 years in nursing education. She was a past member of the Michigan Nurses
Association, Sigma Theta TAU Nursing Honorary Society, and American Heart Association where
she taught CPR.
Dick and Barbara moved to Evart, Mich. from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 2003 to be closer
to family. She transferred her membership to the Evart United Methodist Church where she
played the organ for several years. She was also a member of the Osceola County Commission on Aging Advisory Board for a number of years..
Barbara loved to be with her family and was happiest when they were all together. She especially
enjoyed her grandchildren and attending their activities and watching them grow. Music was an
important part of her life—playing the piano, organ, and especially the French Horn. Listening to a
variety of music; (classical, easy listening, and Canadian Brass) brought her comfort. One of her
greatest pleasures was playing the French Horn (after 50+ years absence) in the Middle School
Band where her granddaughter was a member. It brought back wonderful memories and proved
that she could still do it!! She also enjoyed scrapbooking and reading.
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband Richard, parents, and 3 siblings, Donald , Duane,
and Dorine, and nephew Jim.
Surviving are three sons,; Russ of Vincennes, Ind., Rick (Pat) of Holland, Mich., and Eric (Kelly)
of Evart, Mich., grandchildren; Nicholas, Katelyn, and Scott, brother, Merwin, sister, Marilyn,
nieces, nephews, cousins, and numerous other relatives and friends all of whom helped make her
journey through life interesting, pleasant, and enjoyable.