E. Vera (Pessina) Barrow

Born: Tue., Jun. 14, 1932
Died: Thu., Feb. 25, 2021

Celebration of Life to be held at a later date

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Elvira Pessina Barrow passed away quietly at her home on February 25, 2021.  Elvira Pessina was born on June 14, 1932 in a room above her paternal grandfather’s tavern on “The Hill” in St. Louis.  The family business was struggling during the final year of Prohibition and the entire country was languishing through the worst year of The Great Depression.  The only child of Louis and Emma Pessina, she was literally a coal miner’s daughter, her family having moved from the coal fields of Southern Illinois to St. Louis before her birth.

The year of Vera’s birth witnessed a number of historical events:  Hattie Carraway became the first woman U.S. Senator; the U.S. hosted both the Winter (Lake Placid) and Summer (Los Angeles) Olympics; Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped; Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean to Derry, Ireland; FDR defeated Herbert Hoover in a landslide; and most disappointing for her late husband, Warren Barrow, the Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs 4-0 in the 1932 World Series.

Having survived the Depression working multiple jobs, Louis Pessina moved his family to Jacksonville, Illinois to start his business and later an oil exploration career.  Here Vera completed her primary education and matriculated to Stephen’s College in Columbia, Missouri and graduated from Lake Forest College in Chicago in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  She took a position with IBM and was soon offered one of the first management jobs extended to a woman when another opportunity caught her attention.

Following a short engagement, Vera was married on March 27, 1954 to a young medical student, Warren Barrow, whom she had met on a double date the prior year.  Following medical school, residency and a 2-year engagement with the US Army in El Paso, Texas, Warren and Vera moved to Pittsfield, Illinois in 1961. Warren joined Dr. Tom Bunting in his medical practice, Vera became the Chief Operating Officer of the Barrow household and raised four children, Dan, Kris, Jim, and Amy.  In an era where being “just a housewife” was beginning to be disparaged, Vera was never apologetic and most proud of being a homemaker, nurturing four kids and their friends, and managing a household for Warren that ran more efficiently than an intensive care unit.  She had patience and an unconditional devotion to her children that they would never fully understand until they became parents themselves.

She was never a fan of flying, even when Warren took it up as a hobby later in life but loved to travel by automobile.  Over the years they would ramble with their children through virtually all the continental United States, much of Canada, and deep through Mexico.  Vera was kind to everyone and well known by her friends and family for her quick wit.  Remarking on her father’s occasional use of profanity, she said as a young girl she thought a son of a bitch was anyone making a left-hand turn in front of him.  

Their home in Pittsfield was built intentionally for their four children, their children’s friends and their friends.  She loved to entertain and was a charming hostess for gatherings of friends and family.  With the first snow each season, her children’s friends would spontaneously arrive at her home bundled and dragging their toboggans to sled down the steep hill in the back yard with a moderate number of mishaps.  For these events and for their well- known “snowbound” parties for friends and their kids, Vera would concoct a massive crock of hot chocolate and warm treats for her impromptu guests.  She and Warren enjoyed a flawless and loving relationship and in later years they would often take off on extemporaneous automobile trips with no particular destination in mind as well as some travel abroad. They loved Big Band era and classical music, were superb dancers and enjoyed watching reruns of old Western movies together.  

Vera Barrow was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years and her daughter, Kristine Barrow Tarpoff (surviving husband Craig).  To her 3 living children, Dan (Mollie), Jim, and Amy (Mack), her 8 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren, she would simply instruct them to never take themselves too seriously, always remember they can do whatever they put their heart and mind to and honor her by living commendable lives.  

Vera Barrow’s family will observe her life and memories privately at this time and will plan a memorial and celebration of her life at a future date.  Her surviving children have established the Warren and Vera Barrow Family Scholarship Fund to provide collegiate financial assistance for deserving young men and women from the Pittsfield area.  In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to this endowment that may be sent to: PPFS, PO Box 89, Pittsfield, Illinois 62363. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.nieburfh.com. Niebur Funeral Home in Pittsfield is handling the arrangements.

Charitable donations may be made in E. Vera's memory to the following organization:

Warren and Vera Barrow Family Scholarship Fund
PPFS, PO Box 89, Pittsfield, IL 62363

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Condolence Booklet

Paul & Janie
   Posted Mon March 01, 2021
Your family was always so special to us. When my mother died you dad came out here and sat with Paul & I for an hour. If you ever need a place to put your feet up we have a big house.

Paul and Janie Ransom

Dino Grasso
   Posted Mon March 01, 2021
Amy, I am so sorry for your loss. Your Mother was such a lady that treated everyone with the utmost respect and a smile on her face. I know she will truly be missed by everyone she met. You and your family are in my prayers.

Marilyn Pessina
   Posted Mon March 01, 2021
To the family, So sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. She was always very kind to me when I joined the Pessina family as Richards wife. I have many special memories of gatherings at your home in Pittsfield.

Love to all of you
Marilyn Pessina

Christina Bolin
   Posted Tue March 02, 2021
Amy, Mack and Emma, I’m so sorry for your loss. Vera was a one of a kind beautiful lady! She always had a a smile to share, I hug to give, kind words for everyone. She passed in so many traditions you’ll cherish forever and pass on to Emma. Vera’s love for all of you will forever be in your hearts, voice in your head, and now the vision of her dancing with the love of her life, Warren.
You will no one your loss, but never forget to tell all the great Vera stories and laugh. That the Vera way. Love you all, Christina

Roger Edmonds
   Posted Wed March 03, 2021
I have so many memories of Vera I don't know where to start. I was welcomed into your family and am so sorry for your loss, Dan, Amy and Jim. I only wish I could have had just one more hamburger.

Paula (Chamberlain) McLaughln
   Posted Wed March 03, 2021
So very sorry for your loss. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers

Shelley (Dively) Arnold
   Posted Wed March 03, 2021
Dan, Amy, and Jim- I was so sorry to hear of your mom’s death. She was a sweet lady, always kind and generous. Like Roger, I remember yummy food she would make for us.
Love to you all
Shelley Arnold

Ruth Ann (Cooper) Uphoff
   Posted Wed March 03, 2021

My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Your mother was beautiful, kind and generous. I never saw her without a smile on her face. May fond memories help you through this difficult time.

Ruth Ann

Cody Barger
   Posted Thu March 04, 2021
this beautiful woman taught me so many things. Every day I would arrive at her home and there would be something new to learn, something new to fix and something new to talk about over lunch. I have never met a more caring, loving generous soul than Miss Vera. I will miss her Truly. 😢♥️

Missy Borrowman
   Posted Thu March 04, 2021
I was just thinking about your mom the other day then I just read she passed away. I remember her telling me that your kids had traveled all over and they still liked the best coming to the fall festival in September.
She was a sweet lady and I know you will miss your mom.
I remember the toboggan party I attended about 50 yrs. ago.

Agnes Peile
   Posted Fri March 05, 2021
My sympathy to your family. Vera was such a sweet and nice lady. I know she will be missed.101

Rick Frazier
   Posted Sun March 07, 2021
Dan, Jim, and Amy:
What a fantastic obituary to encapsulate your mother's amazing life. Vera and Warren were so good to me and my family growing up. My favorite memory is when they gave me one of Dan's old sport coats so I could go with Jim to stay with your grandparents and eat at the Jacksonville Country Club. The toboggan days were epic.

Roger Turner
   Posted Sun March 07, 2021
Dan, Amy and Jim – I was truly saddened to learn of the passing of your dear mother. Vera was an extraordinary lady, a loving wife, a devoted mother and a most gracious hostess to the many guests she welcomed into your family’s home. I know she will be greatly missed but fondly remembered. Vera’s legacy is the family she dearly loved and has left behind as a true testament to a life well lived. Please accept my heartfelt condolences in this very difficult time.

Robert W Fanning
   Posted Mon March 08, 2021
A beautiful lady I had a crush on when we were Freshman at Jacksonville High School. She never knew, but I remember her clearly. My sincere condolences on Vera's passing.

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