Barbara Jean (Cornilles) Hanel
January 15, 1929 - November 19, 2016
Barbara Jean Hanel passed away November 19, 2016. She was born January 15, 1929 to Clarence and Roxie Cornilles in Nampa, Idaho. She moved to Medford after her marriage to Jack Hanel in 1957. She resided in Medford until she moved to Portland in 2015 to be closer to family. She was a member of the United Methodist Church for over 50 years.
She was the firstborn, followed by her brothers, Gordon and Jerry and sister, Kay. They and their families all continued to enhance her life with added nieces and nephews and celebrated weddings, births, and regular family reunions.
Raised in a family that enjoyed the outdoors, she passed this on to her family. A Fish Lake cabin and the cabins of friends and family were valued assets in her life. Skiing, hiking, golfing, and all outdoor activities remained a constant throughout her life. She received a new ski helmet for her 80th birthday . . . it was NOT a joke! Not one to talk about her age, she was skiing until age 84. Skiing brought Barbara and Jack and family together and was a tie that bound her early and later families together with friends.
Barbara spent the past year as a resident of Whitewood Gardens in Portland. It felt like destiny to find a facility where the Activity Director played and was able to reunite her with playing her own 1950'ish ukulele. She continued to say “yes” to every experience that was offered. A local organization recently helped her to archive some of her favorite childhood stories. She romantically wrote about her childhood in a “neighborhood of 22 kids as always having someone to play with.” The neighbor would flood his yard when it would freeze so the kids could ice skate on it. The kids loved to grab the backs of cars and be pulled along . . . Hookey Bobbing. “Hedge hopping” was one of the regular games . . . grab the side of the hedge and flip your body over it! She really loved documenting her life stories.
Barbara began sewing and crafting at a very early age and was active in a weekly sewing group at the Gresham Senior Center up until the week before her death. This group made benefit quilts for the center and Quilts of Valor. Antiques, sewing, doll making, teddy bears, and holiday crafts were a constant in her life. She recently relayed a dream one morning of her sewing doll clothes all night but never having to measure . . . I suspect that may have been her alternate heaven. Her grandchildren always had a craft project waiting for them in her presence. They have many physical memories of creations with Grandma. They have beautiful quilts as a physical expression of her love for them.
She grew up with a Depression-era mentality of reuse and recycle that supported her addictive desire for creative endeavors. It was very hard for her to get rid of anything as she could undoubtedly create something out of it. As a creative Camp Fire leader, she taught that it was your own fault if you could not find something to keep yourself entertained.
Always one for physical activities, she was not one to be left behind. She graduated from College of Idaho with a degree in Physical Education, minoring in Art. She went on to teach P.E. and coach at Grants Pass High School and Hedrick Jr. High. Shriners, AAUW, P.E.O., Daughters of the Nile, Gold Diggers, Hillcrest Cancer Society, Antiques, UMW, Rogue Snowmen, BUNKO, Garage Tap Dancers, UM Hand Bells, Lady Golfers, League of Women Voters, OSU Beavers, and numerous craft groups were just a few of her passions.
Always one to try anything, she encouraged others to try new things. Have you ever chewed tree pitch? (don’t try it!). Pickled pigs feet? Pine nuts right out of the cone? She always had a garden and regularly created farm-to-table meals. Huckleberries, Morel mushrooms, homemade dill pickles, and great pie crust will always remind me of her.
She loved to travel! She ran into people she knew everywhere! One never to be left behind or left out of a social event, she remained social until the end. She so valued all of her social, sports, and crafting connections. Her biggest fear was losing contact with the people and activities she valued so much. I assure you all, you were all missed!
Barbara is survived by her daughter, Sally Mackey (Glen); granddaughter, Shannon; grandson, Brendan; brother, Jerry Cornilles; sister, Kay Cornilles Silva; and eight nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles “Jack” Hanel; daughter, Susan Kay Hanel; parents, C.T. and Roxie Cornilles; and brother, Gordon Cornilles. A memorial service will be announced for the spring of 2017.
Contributions in Barbara’s memory may be made to local scholarships for American Sewing Guild OR Chapter/Scholarship, P.O. Box 1598, Jacksonville, Ore. 97530, P.E.O. Chapter CP Scholarship, 1225 Gardener Way, Medford, Ore. 97504, or United Methodist Church, 607 W. Main, Medford, Ore. 97501.