Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Crafter keeps a positive outlook over her century


Lois Barrowman, 100, displays some of the crewel work she has crafted over the years. She has also knitted and quilted.


South Toledoan Lois Barrowman spent many of the past 100 years doing knitting, needlework, and quilting.

She's made at least 30 quilts, including the white one with orange and yellow flowers that covers her bed at Henderson House, a small assisted living community south of Heatherdowns Boulevard where she has lived since February.

Her needlework of rural landscapes hangs on the walls.

She also made clothing and still has a black and white herringbone coat that she knitted for her daughter.

Mrs. Barrowman, who celebrated her 100th birthday May 12, said the knitting and other textile work kept her busy.

With her daughter Phyllis, a pediatrics and cystic fibrosis nurse at Toledo Hospital for 40 years, she made felt decorations for the children there every Christmas.

They cut the felt into snowmen, Santas, and other shapes from old Christmas cards and then embellished it with detailed embroidery. She said it was a lot of work but worth it.

"I enjoyed it, though," Mrs. Barrowman said.

She also traveled with her daughter. Mrs. Barrowman's husband, Russell, worked for a railroad and did so much traveling for his job that he didn't want to join them, she said. Mrs. Barrowman said she never learned to drive, so her daughter drove both of them.

Mrs. Barrowman took cooking classes and cooked her own meals until she was in her early 90s. Her friend Nancy Goettner said Mrs. Barrowman's nieces and nephews said her bread pudding was excellent.

The second of seven children, Mrs. Barrowman grew up in South Toledo. She said she wanted to become a nurse, but her father wouldn't let her.

She finished eighth grade in Toledo and married Russell Barrowman when she was 18. They had met at a dance, introduced by a friend. Mr. Barrowman was engaged to someone else.

"He broke off his engagement," Mrs. Barrowman said.

He died when he was 94.

She cared for her mother, who had tuberculosis, for several years. "I never regretted taking care of my mother," she said.

Mrs. Barrowman said she has been blessed with a lot as she looked at a shelf of family photos. She said people should be happy and have a positive attitude about whatever happens. She credits her own positive attitude with helping her live a long life.

"Take everything in stride," she said.

Contact Elizabeth A. Shack at:


or 419-410-5055.

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