Yesterday, Barbara Barlow turned 83 years old. I’ve known and admired Barbara for a very long time and I will admit a certain bias here. Barbara is a distant cousin. Our common ancestors George and Janet Lyon Speirs are the reason we both live in Tooele. They arrived in Tooele in the early part of the 1860’s when Tooele was just a struggling little pioneer town and they served important roles in the building of this community.
Living on her family’s ancestral farm land, in 1993 Barbara created a labor of love in honor of her ancestors in what is called the Speirs Farm. Built around the log cabin built by her Great Grandfather George Speirs (my Great Great Grandfather), it is a remarkable place. This is a public park where you can go and take a walk way through a beautiful garden of flowers, trees and bushes as well as a central green lawn. There is also a meeting room with pictures and artifacts from pioneer times. This area is used for many functions, often at no or little cost.
It is my biased view that this place is the most beautiful place in Tooele and I have taken my daughters many times to enjoy the sights and smells of nature. The only drawback has been going back to my own yard and not feeling as good as I had previously about the results of my efforts. In 1997 it was dedicated by Elder Loren C. Dunn, and important ecclesiastical leader within the Mormon faith.
In addition to creating this remarkable place, Barbara is a much loved and revered matriarch of a large family. Her four children Teri, Barry, Cecil and Jody, 12 grandchildren and a growing number of great grandchildren all look to Barbara as an example of love of family, community service and a dedication to gardening.
Barbara is involved with Daughters of the Utah Pioneers as well as Master Gardeners and her little park has been part of the annual Master Gardeners Tour for countless years. And all this activity seems to keep Barbara, how can I say it, active. To live a long and active life of service to her family, community and the good green earth is an example of what it is like to live the dream.