June 14, 1931 – July 2, 2022

From the outside, Barb was ordinary, not flashy nor often one to speak up. To those who knew her, she was extraordinary and inspiring in her pursuits, and, especially late in life, her courage.

Family came first. Barb left this Earth saying she was comforted by the love and goodness of her family and the character of her two daughters and three grandchildren.

Barb lived most of her life in suburban Chicago. She and her husband of 57 years, W. Dean Alseth, retired to Chelsea, Michigan in 1997, where they could spend time with their grandchildren and watch them grow.    

When it came to friendship, there was no more loyal friend than Barb. She was dependable in good times and bad. She remembered birthdays and special occasions, always with a hand-written note. Her friendships were treasured and enduring.  

Throughout her life Barb was devoted to her passions. Barb loved the arts and studied music and drama at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. She played the piano and organ in her home during lively neighborhood parties, enjoyed going to concerts and theater productions and watching old movies. As an active supporter of the Republican party, Barb took on volunteer positions on many levels, culminating with her role as a delegate from Illinois at the 1992 Republican National Convention. And while most people outgrew the teddy bear stage, Barb never did. Her maiden name spawned a collection of bears of all kinds, and there was always room for one more.

Barb said the one constant in her life was her favorite vacation spot, Watervale, Michigan. She was introduced to the lakeside cottages by her parents, Henry and Florence Bear. Watervale renewed Barb’s spirit with its beauty and charm, and by bringing generations of family together for walks in the woods, scenic drives, Scrabble games, cocktail hours, dinners at The Inn and perfect beach sunsets.

Barb’s faith in God was one of her drivers. Prayer helped sustain her during the more difficult, recent years and she welcomed conversations with visiting clergy.

Our faith tells us that Barb has reunited with Dean, who passed on in 2015. Daughters Sharon Alseth Bartholomew (John), Susan Wellman (Mark) and grandchildren Michelle, Brian and Catherine Wellman will always hold Mom and Dad, Grammy and Grampy, close in our hearts and memories.

The family would like to thank the entire staff of Silver Maples of Chelsea for its care and compassion in making a comfortable, safe home for mom.

Interment will take place at a private ceremony at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.  Donations in Barb's memory may be made to the Silver Maples employee enrichment fund.

You may share a memory or leave a message for Barb's family using the form below. Please allow up to 24 hours for us to review and post your message.  


#3 Betsy Bear Witthohn 2022-07-06 23:08
I always looked up to Barb as our elder cousin. She was so lovely in welcoming us to her home in later years and introducing us to the teddy's of her local community. Condolences to you, her daughters, who have lost both of you wonderful parents. May their memories walk with you always.
#2 Bill and Carol Lee C 2022-07-05 18:24
So sorry to hear of this. Know she left a great legacy in you. Prayers and hugs.
#1 Jeffrey D Crowder 2022-07-05 17:10
Barb was faithful to attend spiritual reflections, worship services, and hymn sings at Silver Maples. I know she appreciated music. She will be missed.

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