Barbara Keeling Liniger passed away peacefully at Providence Portland Medical Center April 3, 2018 surrounded by her family. She left nothing behind and nothing undone as she drove her own course through her accomplished life. While over the last few years her body slowed her down, her head-strong and tenacious spirit deemed her a mystery to modern medicine. If you ever wanted to make a quick buck just place a bet with one of her dozens of doctors, specialists and surgeons that she would pull through the next life-threatening episode or procedure. In fact the mantra, “Never bet against Barb” is familiar to all that knew her, including a professional gambler that would call her before every Duck football game to get her score prediction. Unbeknownst to many and especially Uncle Sam she made a little “taste” as a thank-you for her uncanny predictive accuracy.
This is not an ad for an Online Sportsbook but an obituary for a great woman, mother and grand-mother born, April 19, 1944 in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of the late Stanley C. Keeling and Lois (Harrison) Keeling. As we’ve come to discover, and then subsequently embrace after the shock, these past few days, she leaves behind a fantastically-interesting, dynamic and utterly-bazaar family history that’s prime for a multiple season series on Netflix, of which she was extremely proud. As those that were close to Barb knew, she was world-renowned for her stubbornness, lack of patience and unyielding opinion on everything from Bill Walton’s team-biased commentary to how many minutes are enough to microwave food so that her boys would have to stare at it for 10 minutes before it was safe enough to eat it without acquiring 3rd degree burns. Over-heating aside, Barb’s Love-language was interpreted in the kitchen. Her cooking prowess yielded many sought after dishes by friends, family and perfect strangers alike, including her Hot Pepper Jelly, Party Mix, Pickles and her amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies. While we’ve all tried, we could never recreate her recipes because her passion was the one ingredient we couldn’t find at any store. Her love of serving others through food helped start the Saturday hot meals program at All Saints Episcopal Church in Eastmoreland, which was a second home for much of her life.
Barb made a life many were proud of and she did it her way. With only a high-school degree in hand and baby-sitting money in her pocket, she began her career in banking in the early 1960’s. She forged her own path through the male-dominated banking world to reach the pinnacle of her career as a Vice President of US Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Division. “Those were the days” she would recall, recounting stories of martini lunches at Atwater’s, events with Oregon’s biggest developers, and even a story of being protested because they were financing a chain of mega adult-superstores! But Barb’s proudest moments came with her two sons; at least we like to think so. She made every sacrifice to give them the best. When it was beyond her wildest financial means she bucked the odds again and put her boys through Oregon Episcopal School, even being elected multiple terms to the Board of Trustees. When her boys were in High School, she could be found in the stands at every football game rain or shine, home or away cheering wildly with a smile so big it could be seen from the field.
Although Barb was determined and strong-willed she didn’t have to do it all alone, she had great family support, friendships that traced back to elementary school, and her former husband still remained her best friend to the very end. Barb will be sorely missed and survived by her Aunt Dolores Simmons, Sisters Donna Harlan and Ruth Mumm, Brother Ron Keeling, Cousin Bill Keeling, sons Robert and Paul Liniger, daughter-in-law Ivy Liniger, grandchildren Sawyer and Braxton and additional family members Jim and Rosemary Liniger. All of whom loved her dearly and must now all reluctantly accept that she was always right!
A ‘Celebration of Life’ will be held on Saturday April 14th at 11AM at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial. In lieu of flowers please give in her honor to All Saints Episcopal Church or the American Diabetes Association. Also, please note her change of address to her new place of residence, All Saints Episcopal Church, 4033 SE Woodstock Blvd. Portland, OR 97202, across the street and down the block From Otto’s Deli.