Barbara Ellen Walenton, age 77, of Whitewater, Wisconsin passed away unexpectedly at home on the family farm on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 surrounded by her loving family.
Barbara was born in Whitewater on December 30, 1942 to Donald and Eleanor (Rutoski) Vail. She received her education at Whitewater High School and was a member of the Girls Scouts and Rainbow Girls. On January 2, 1960, Barbara married Robert E. Walenton at the First United Methodist Church in Whitewater, recently celebrating their 60th anniversary.
Barbara was a homemaker at heart and enjoyed spending time with family and friends on the Farm. As a young woman, she worked as a CNA and medical records technician. Her need to be a stay-at-home mom inspired her to become a business woman so she became an Avon representative. Her love of children inspired her to open her own licensed daycare provider. To this day, those daycare children have grown to become family.
Family was her foundation, but her passion was always horses, a passion she shared with her husband. Bob and Barb raised quarterhorses on the Farm and, for many years, along with their six children and other family and friends, they hosted hundreds of riders and barrel racers at the Walenton Speed Shows on the Farm, also known as the “Rockin ‘B’ Ranch.” Inevitably, the shows outgrew the Farm, so they took the shows on the road. For over a decade Bob, Barb and crew held the Walenton Speed Shows at the Walworth County Fair in Elkhorn. It was only natural that was an active member of the Boots and Saddle Club of Walworth County and the Kettle Moraine Saddle Club.
Barb enjoyed cooking, gardening, bird watching, reading, doing puzzles and gambling. You will often find family and friends gathered at the Farm for game nights, cookouts and bonfires. She loved playing cards and learning new games. Barb loved to dance and go to concerts, especially if the music was country music. Her love of traveling often took them “Up North,” and it seemed that every year, you would find her “on the road again” to faraway places like Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Her favorites were Nashville, Dollywood, Loretta Lynn’s Farm and the occasional casino in between.
Barbara is survived by her husband Bob, three beloved sons: John E. Walenton of Whitewater, Donald J. (Cindy) Walenton of Smiths Grove, KY, and Robert D. Walenton of Rhinelander; three beloved daughters: Susan R. (Brent) Nelson of Janesville, Michelle M. (Chris) Haferman of Whitewater and Carrie E. (Scott) St. Clair of Whitewater; grandchildren: Jennifer (Quinn) Walenton, Samantha Bluhm, Catherine Nelson, Melissa Walenton, Nicholas Haferman, David Nelson, Cheyenne St. Clair, Canyon St. Clair, Jodi Harris, Jozie Reed, Jamie Reed, Nicki Olds, Emily Olds, and Chad Olds; great-grandchildren: Angelita Walenton-Garnica, Kiana Walenton-Garnica, Jay Schwartz, Braxton West-Olds and Ophelia Diaz; sisters: Karen (Bob) Fadness of Colorado, Bonnie (Tom) Miller of Whitewater, and Nancy (Perry) Kairis of North Carolina; brother-in-law: Raymond (Jan) Walenton of Whitewater; sister‑in‑law Avril Walenton of Menominee Falls, WI; nieces: Debora Austin (and her son Elijah) of Friendship, WI, Amy Austin of Milwaukee, WI, Amanda (Daniel) Travis of Walkertown, NC, Ashley Kairis of Cary, NC, Lisa Burk of Longmont, Colorado, Geila Frevele of Menominee Falls, Lori Lang of Menominee Falls and Robin Walenton; nephews: Andy Fadness of St. Croix Falls, WI, Rodney Walenton and Ronald Walenton, both of Whitewater; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Donald and Eleanor Vail.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Farm at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Barb’s family would like to suggest a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association or to the family at: Walentons, P.O. Box 818, East Troy, WI 53120-0818.
The family would like to give a special thank you to the Whitewater Rescue Squad, the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, and the Mercy Hospital Paramedics for their assistance and compassion.
The Nitardy Funeral Home of Whitewater is assisting the family. Online condolences may be given to the family at www.nitardyfuneralhome.com