OBITUARY

Barbara June Olsen

October 24, 1941April 15, 2021
Play Tribute Movie

Barbara Miller Olsen died on Thursday, April 15, 2021, after a 2 1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer. Barbara was born in San Antonio, Texas on October 24, 1941, while her father was in the Army training at Fort Sam Houston during WWII. While her father was fighting overseas, Barbara and her mother moved to Dallas to live with her mother’s parents. Unfortunately, her father, Capt. Ernest Benge Miller, died in battle in Normandy, France on June 13, 1944.

Barbara grew up in Dallas and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1959. She attended Texas Tech for one year and then transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated in 1965 with a BS degree in Home Economics. She married Bobby D. Leach on June 27, 1964. For three years, she was a home economics teacher at Hill Middle School in Dallas. She and Bobby moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 1967–1969 where Bobby served in the Army as a dentist on the base during the Vietnam War. Her oldest daughter, Kerrie, was born on the base in 1968. In 1969, they all moved back to Texas and bought a home in Plano. Her youngest daughter, Amy, was born shortly thereafter in 1970. Barbara was the consummate homemaker for 13 years. She literally handmade all of the clothes for her family. She understood the science behind cooking and baking and had an amazing ability, at times, to create a meal when her kids complained that there was nothing to eat around the house. Her first marriage ended and she re-entered the workforce as a Quality Assurance Manager at InterFET in Garland. She worked there from 1983 until she retired in 2000. During that time, she met and married her second husband, James David Olsen, at First Christian Church in Plano. They were married during the Christmas Day church service in 1988. Barbara was a member of FCC for almost 50 years, where she served as the first female Elder in the church.

Barbara has spent her life focused on her daughters and grandchildren. Until recently, you would frequently see one of them in her lap, even as they outgrew her and neared adulthood. She quietly supported the underdogs of the world and those in need. She had a calm, reflective spirit full of wisdom, coupled with an unexpected, powerful laugh. She also valued independence—especially when it came to empowering the women around her to learn new skills and not be afraid to do things for themselves. With a love for preserving the environment, Barbara enjoyed gardening, recycling, repurposing and composting. She relished finding treasures and bargains at garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores as well as restoring broken or torn items to their original glory. She enjoyed the friendships and fellowship she found through her church crafting group and the knitting group at the Plano Senior Center. Patient and kind, Barbara loved to teach others how to knit and sew. She also used her talents to help others by knitting helmet liners for the military and knitting beautiful chemo hats to lessen the impact for women and men who lost their hair during cancer treatment. She would bring several completed hats whenever she came for a chemo treatment. It brought her great joy to see someone wearing her handiwork. She proudly knitted breast forms for breast cancer survivors through Knitted Knockers, as she was a survivor, herself.

She was fascinated with the English language and was amazed at someone's ability to acquire this difficult language as an adult. She helped with several ESL classes and was the first to welcome non-native speakers to join the knitting group at the senior center or to assist someone at a store that was having difficulty communicating. She was the friend who would keep your confidence and share your burdens without judgement. Barbara was a beautiful soul who will greatly be missed by those who knew her.

Barbara was preceded in death by her father, Captain Ernest Benge Miller in 1944; her mother, Mary June Kittrell Miller Crook in 1996; her husband, James David Olsen in 2012; and her stepson, David Olsen in 2019. She is survived by her daughter, Kerrie Lynne Leach Milligan Whitson (Steve) and her granddaughters Melanie and Megan Milligan; her daughter, Amy Elizabeth Leach Larson (Kris) and her grandchildren Katie and Benge Larson; her brother, Ernest Benge Miller, Jr. (Lana) and her niece, Meredith Miller Hodgkinson (Brad); her stepson, Eric Olsen; and her grandchildren (from David), Ashley Olsen Smith (Kirk) and Trevor Olsen (Cara).

A visitation will be held at Ted Dickey Funeral Home at 2128 18th St., Plano, Texas, 75074 on Friday, April 23, 2021 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Services will be held at the First Christian Church at 813 E. 15th St., Plano, Texas, 75074 at 11:30 AM on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Masks are required at the visitation and the service. Barbara willl be laid to rest at Restland Cemetery in Richardson; graveside services for immediate family only.

Ted Dickey Funeral Home in Plano, Texas has charge of arrangements.

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, April 23, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, April 24, 2021

Memories

Barbara June Olsen

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Diann DeRulle

April 23, 2021

We were good friends at
Woodrow Wilson High School
and we kept in touch for years afterwards!! I will always consider her a dear, dear friend!!
I am very saddened by her loss...Blessings to her daughters
and I will keep them in my prayers!!
Diann Derulle

Kay Trussell

April 23, 2021

I loved Barbara I was her hairdresser for years we had so much fun at the shop with Carrie and Amy I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. I love you both. Love kay

Margaret Gordon

April 22, 2021

My mother and aunt, Harriett Gordon and Hannah McDaniel, often spoke of their beloved cousin Barbara and I was fortunate enough to meet her a few times. Much love to her family.

Jim Miller McCoy

April 20, 2021

Kerrie, Amy, and family,
It's hard to put into words what Barbara meant to me my whole life. Her visits (Ernie too) to the ranch when I was growing up was always a treat, and later visiting you in Plano.

I've spent the last hour looking through all the fantastic pictures you have posted (a couple of them I took). Wonderful memories! I'm glad that you could bring her out to the ranch one last time in 2019. God be with your all.

"Jim Miller"

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara with kids in bird socks

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara with grandkids at 2018 Christmas Eve service at FCC

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy with Barbara at Chemo

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara meeting Meredith, Kerrie, Amy and kids for breakfast.

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy and Barbara

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara visits Amy in Ann Arbor.

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara with kids in bird socks

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara with grandkids at 2018 Christmas Eve service at FCC

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy with Barbara at Chemo

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara meeting Meredith, Kerrie, Amy and kids for breakfast.

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy and Barbara

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara visits Amy in Ann Arbor.

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara with Kerrie and Amy

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy, Barbara and Benge in Barbara's mother's hats.

FROM THE FAMILY

Barbara and Bobby going to Andrea's wedding.

FROM THE FAMILY

Amy and Kerrie are flower girls for Barbara's cousin Margie.