Blanche DeBarr; 1934-2013: Patient teacher also had knack when shopping for bargains


Blanche DeBarr, who delighted in the elementary students she taught for nearly a quarter-century, died Tuesday in Waterford of Levis Commons, Perrysburg, where she lived the last three years. She was 79.

She had pancreatic cancer and dementia, her son, Steve, said.

Mrs. DeBarr retired in 1988 from Jerusalem Elementary School, which is in the Oregon school system. Her duty changed some years, but she mostly taught third grade, said Sharon Belkofer, a cousin.

“She really enjoyed the children. They were such a joy to work with,” Mrs. Belkofer said. “They’re so innocent at that age. They’re impressionable and affectionate, and she had a natural ability with them.”

Mrs. DeBarr spoke about the small favors the students spontaneously offered, the little gifts they would bring for her. And when students were in trouble from time to time, she was patient and understanding.

“She wasn’t the real stern disciplinarian,” Mrs. Belkofer said. “They learned from positive reinforcement.

“She was a warm, sweet, caring person, and probably the kids saw her as their mom-away-from-home, so to speak,” Mrs. Belkofer said.

She was born Feb. 3, 1934, to Elizabeth and Martin Miklosek and grew up in East Toledo. She was a 1952 graduate of Waite High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toledo.

Whenever traveling, she was eager to see what the local stores offered.

“She was a great bargain shopper. She had a knack for finding them,” Mrs. Belkofer said.

She worked crossword puzzles and collected Hummel figures. She and her husband spent much of each summer at the family cottage on Starvation Lake in northern Lower Michigan.

‘They were very hospitable in sharing their cottage,” Mrs. Belkofer said.

Mrs. DeBarr attended First St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Oregon.

She and her husband, Ernest DeBarr, married Dec. 7, 1963. He died Jan. 3, 2000.

Surviving is their son, Steve DeBarr.

Visitation will be from 4-9 p.m. Friday in the Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon Chapel, where services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.