Barbara Elsie Fuller
September 19, 1941 – October 2, 2021
Barbara Fuller, age 80, of Mason, Michigan passed away on October 2, 2021.
She was born on September 19, 1941 in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, to Joseph and Elsie (McKee) Pryor. Following the death of her mother, Barbara was placed in a Catholic orphanage at about two years of age. Her memories of the orphanage and nuns were generally of a life that was peaceful and structured. However at the age of ten, she was placed into the foster care system, which proved to be a chaotic and disruptive time in her life. She experienced years in multiple homes and schools, until without guidance or support, she was able to graduate high school and live on her own, at the age of eighteen. Barbara Pryor married David Fuller in 1966. They left Rhode Island and moved to Michigan, where he completed his graduate program at Michigan State University.
Barbara became the devoted mother of five children, and based upon her life experience chose to be a stay at home mom for about twenty years, until her children were grown. She was a positive force in their lives and a great fan for all their school activities and sporting events. Family has always been the most important and rewarding part of her life. She always enjoyed family gatherings and was eager to share how proud she was of each of her children and grandchildren.
After her children were grown, Barbara spent the next twenty years working as a classroom teaching assistant at Heartwood School, of the Ingham Intermediate School District in Mason. She loved working with special needs students there, and found great joy in their accomplishments.
Barbara was an exceptional walker and talker. She was pleased, at age 70, to have the fastest time of her age group in the Ele’s Race 5K walk. She enjoyed conversing with family, friends, and everyone she met, and after more than fifty years in Michigan, still retained her “Boston” accent.
Barbara’s family survivors include: David, her loving husband of 55 years; her son Mark and daughters Kelly (David) Roe, Becky Fillion, Dawn (Tristan) Moss, and Jessica (Joe) Heron; and her grandchildren: Blake Roe, Harley Roe, Dawson Roe, Ike Fillion, Ava Fillion, Mia Moss, Miles Moss, Marlo Moss, Jackson Heron, and Gus Heron. She was predeceased by granddaughter Grace Fillion.
The family is grateful to the kidney dialysis staff at Fresenius medical, for the compassionate care they always provided to Barbara.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be no public services. A family memorial celebration of her life is being planned.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared below for the Fuller family.
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Barbara Elsie Fuller
October 10, 2021
My first date with Barbara was truly unforgettable! Her aunt was a friend of my mother’s and tried to be a matchmaker, telling me about her niece. However at that time it didn’t work out because I thought she was too young for me. She was only about two years out of high school and I was six years older, having been three years in the Army (Germany) and just graduated from the University of Rhode Island.
Then about two years later, her aunt was visiting my mother and mentioned that Barbara was still single and I should give her a call. So I did, and we planned to go dancing at a renowned ballroom venue in Crescent Park (Rhode Island).
Upon arrival, I knocked on the door, and nervously awaited it opening up. And when it did, there stood in her lovely gown, a beautiful young woman with a wonderful smile. I literally felt my knees go weak, before gaining composure and exchanging greetings. I told Barb many years later in a Valentine letter that I never believed in “love at first sight” until that night, when it happened to me. We enjoyed a magical night of ballroom dancing and that was the beginning of our lives as a forever couple.
A few years ago we heard a song that we enjoyed because it had lyrics that were meaningful to us (“See You Again” Wiz Khalifa). It reminded me of the two years before our marriage when I was attending Michigan State and Barbara was back in Rhode Island. During long absences, we would think about when I would get back home and we could see each other again.
Below are some modified song lyrics and my message to Barbara:
It’s been a sad week without you, my love.
It’s been a hard time since I lost you my friend,
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.
We came a long way from where we began,
Now memories help me live the best that that I can,
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,
And I’ll tell you all about it when we dance once again.
Love always for my New England Beauty,
October 9, 2021
Where to even start……. You were like having a second mother and definitely played one of the biggest roles in my life. From teaching me my ABC’s (earning gold-stars), Numbers, ice skating, basketball, soccer, and everything in between. You were always so patient when I struggled but never let me give up. Your lessons you taught me have stuck with me my whole life.
2 days really stick out when I think of my childhood with you. The day I opened the station wagon door going down road, I thought you were going to kill me. I remember being so hurt because I really disappointed you, that was a bad day. Now you know I made up for it and made you soooo proud when I learned to wipe my own butt!!! This story still seems to pop up at family gatherings.
I miss our conversations we had while we walked to feed “Tony the Pony” or while we were eating Mac n Cheese. I’m sure you remember how hard I tried teaching you how to correctly say “orange” and “Florida”. I have a feeling it never worked.
You left such a mark on this world more then you ever knew. Your compassion for other humans was second to none. Love you so much Barb.
October 9, 2021
Mom was an incredible force and undeniably dedicated to all of us, no matter what was going on. Unconditional love and support was exactly what I'd feel. I distinctly remember her saying "Oh you'll know when you have your own kids one day" and as always she's right.
Sometimes without knowing it, I find myself singing the same songs to my boys that she would often sing to us.
I'll always hear the "Good Morning" song when I walk down the stairs visiting my parents house. "Good morning, good morning, good morning to you" I've been singing to myself in her absence, and I hear it perfectly in her voice.
I am my mother's daughter, and that's a wonderful way to be.
Love, Jessica (The favorite 5th baby)
"I'm already there,
Don't make a sound,
I'm the beat in your heart,
I'm the moonlight shining down,
I'm the whisper in the wind,
And I'll be there until the end,
Can you feel the love that we share,
I'm already there."
October 9, 2021
To This Dear Family,
Your mother, the mold of the family was and is an inspiration as she will forever live in each one of you! What a blessing that she could call you her children and her as your mother. March on as she would demand each one of you with exactly who you are as she’s one proud momma/grandma watching from afar until you all dance together again!
Praying for each one of you thru this difficult time!
October 9, 2021
Anyone who was fortunate enough to know Barb Fuller knows she was always full of life, energy and love for all those around her. My sister Stephanie and I grew up across the street from the Fullers with our parents Bob and Charlotte Wilks, and for years Barb took care of us every day after school. She kept us busy and active – playing basketball, playing in the sandbox, playing in the barn, ice skating, riding bikes, swimming, chasing chickens, barn cats and kittens around the yard, and visiting good old “Tony the Pony.” Over the years our two families became in many ways like one big extended family. When dinner time came around, Jessica Fuller would call our house and ask what we were having for dinner. Based on the response, she would decide which house she wanted to eat at that evening – hers or ours. And although Barb was technically our babysitter, she was certainly much more than that to us. To me and my sister Stephanie she was a role model, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. That is how we will always remember Barb. Her laughter and friendship will be greatly missed by the family in the house across the street.
October 7, 2021
Barbara was the light in our days at Heartwood. David was my boss for about 3 years at Heartwood. They both were very caring people. Barb would come to the office & get things for the classroom and she would have us in laughter. Like the story of her doing the dishes so she could used the dishwasher for her bread drawer. That was a wonderful way to start a day. David I am so sorry for your loss. God Bless you.
October 7, 2021
Becky and Family-
So sorry for your loss. Sending my deepest condolences to you during this very difficult time. May you find peace and healing in the love and memories of your mother. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
October 6, 2021
Babra was a true angel for many years to our son Zachary Smith at Heartwood School. As his one-on-one para-pro and champion she managed his behavior outbursts, language difficulties and developmental challenges with calm, patience, discipline and love. She always saw his potential and worked unceasingly to develop it. We loved her and feel incredibly blessed to have had her in our lives and humbly grateful for her loving care of Zak. We offer heartfelt condolences to her wonderful family and prayers for the progress of her sweet soul in the realms of light and love.
October 6, 2021
Barb, or as we lovingly referred to her, Bab, was the biological mother of 5, but also the second mother to all us kids growing up around the Fuller Homestead in the 1970s and 80s. My memories of childhood are mostly outdoors, where we spent all four seasons outside catching snakes and insects, sledding, iceskating, riding ponies, and making lifelong friendships. (I'm not sure if the old barn is considered outdoors or indoors, but there are plenty of memories there, too, as we developed our gross motor skills!). For those who Barb babysat, our after-school uniform in the winter was moon boots, color-changing gloves, and snow pants; in the summer, it was swimsuits and sunscreen. Barb sustained us on Swiss Miss hot chocolate, mac & cheese, popsicles, tough love, and life lessons. Though she probably had a preference for her own kids, Barb made us all feel equally loved, and created space for us to learn through play and experimentation. As and adult, when I moved to Rhode Island, I was comforted by the fact that everyone talked like Barb, making me feel right at home. In 2020, the pandemic rearranged all of our lives in unexpected ways, and when I moved back to Hagadorn Road with my family, the Fuller property once again became a place of wonder and discovery for my husband, daughter, and me, as Barb and Dave welcomed us for daily walks through the trails of my childhood. My last conversation with Barb was on March 3, 2021, the day before my family moved to Montreal. Barb waved at us through a window of her home, and wished us well on our journey. Now we send Barb off on her own journey, keeping in our hearts the love, happy memories, and wisdom she shared with us.
October 5, 2021
I never would have expected to have a close relationship with my brothers in-laws, especially when they live 700 miles away from me and my family. But it all started with Barbara; the first time I met her was when her grandson and my nephew was born. It was certainly a celebratory occasion but not just because of the welcoming of Jackson, but because it bridged our families. I watched my mother and Barbara bond, which was the start of a blossoming relationship. Barbara would call on holidays, send gifts, and always seek opportunities to connect. Although I only knew her for 6 years, she is forever in my memory, and forever a part of my family. She will be missed, honored, and always fondly remembered.
October 5, 2021
Barbara was an incredibly unique and kind hearted person. Her laugh was infectious and her sweet nature amazing. My daughter, Afton, was one of her special needs kids, and Barbara always fondly referred to her as 'my Snow White.' They had a special bond for which I'll always be grateful. Sincere condolences and prayers to the Fuller family for this difficult loss.
October 5, 2021
From the first moment we met there was an instant friendship. Barbara was a sincere, loving, compassionate , fun, person. I am so glad we got to spend some time together. I will really miss my Michigan friend my heart is heavy. RIP.
Love Celia Heron