Barbara Livingston (McClellan) died Sept. 6, 2021, at the age of 91 in Kansas City, Mo., where she had been in the care of hospice after living for five months with her son and his wife in Leawood, Kan. She was born on Aug. 20, 1930, in Cottonwood Falls, Kan., the second child to John I. and Bessie Mae McClellan.
She spent most of her childhood in Chase and Lyon counties, graduating from Emporia High School in 1948. While attending Emporia State Teachers College, she met Walter L. Smith, and they married in 1949.
She and Walter raised their three children in Hoisington, Kan., where Walter was the superintendent of schools for 20 years. In the late 1968, Barbara finished her teaching degree at Fort Hays State University and became an English and Journalism teacher at Great Bend High School. After her marriage ended, she left Great Bend to teach at Arkansas City, Garden City and Marion, Kan.
In 1974, she married Ted Livingston, also a teacher at Great Bend High School. Together they moved back to Chase County in 1978, where Barbara deepened her connection to her beloved Flint Hills. She and Ted, who became mayor of Cottonwood Falls, helped with efforts to create the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve, where she eventually served as a volunteer. She also volunteered at the Roniger Museum in Cottonwood Falls.
She loved to sew, quilt, read, walk her dog and watch movies. For most of her life, she loved being immersed in a good story, whether a novel, a short story or a movie. As a child, her favorite pastime was to climb the stairs to the Chase County Courthouse clock tower and sit by the round window overlooking Broadway while she read her current favorite book.
Barbara was a gentle woman, remembered for her physical beauty and her kindness. “She was the Jackie Kennedy of Hoisington!” many people said. While married to Ted, she explored the Bahaí Faith, a spiritual practice he followed; she also was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Cottonwood Falls for many years.
She loved being with her family and friends, and she had many friends, but in her retirement years, especially, she loved nothing more than to spend time in the comfort of her longtime and beloved home in Cottonwood Falls with her dog; her husband, Ted, the love of her life; her crafts and hobbies and a good book or movie.
Barbara was preceded in death by her son, David, on Aug. 7 of this year; her husband, Ted Livingston; and her only sibling, Howard Bruce McClellan. She is survived by her daughters, Sondra Smith of Marble Falls, Texas, and Lynda Smith (Tom) of Hudson, New York; her grandchildren, Erin Smith of Overland Park, Brett Payton (Tara) of Overland Park, George Dowling (Tracey) of West Germany, where George is stationed in the Air Force; Alexis Dowling (Blayne) of Austin, Texas, and Dylan MacNamara of New York City; and six great-grandchildren, Keauana Smith, Patrick, Kate, Henry and Jack Payton and Adeline Mae Dreier. She will return to the deep earth of Chase County at the Bazaar Cemetery. A small graveside ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12. If you would like to make a donation in her name, please donate to the National Humane Society or the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Sept. 10, 2021