Barbara succumbed to her 11-year battle with cancer on May 7, 2020. She was a valiant fighter and a true inspiration to everyone who knew her.
Barbara was born to Albert L. Kleckner and Jane Snyder Kleckner on September 17, 1946 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents moved to Athens, Georgia when she was three years old so she grew up very much a Southern woman. Her father taught at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine in Athens where Barbara recalled having free range to wander around among the animals.
The Girl Scouts and the First Presbyterian Church in Athens played big roles in her childhood. Her mother was her Girl Scout Troop leader. Barbara still kept her own Girl Scout uniform as well as her mother’s uniform who had been a Girl Scout before her.
Barbara attended Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio where she studied Social Work and became life-long friends with Suzie Thomas and Cindy Gierky. After college she was a Child Welfare worker in Manhattan, New York for four years. She then went back to Georgia to earn her master’s degree in Social Work. After moving to San Francisco she worked in Child Welfare from 1976 to 2003.
Barbara was highly respected by all who were connected to the Child Welfare system. A devoted child advocate, she was also a skilled trainer for child abuse investigators as well as attorneys and judges in the dependency court.
Barbara and her husband Ed were both accomplished cooks and connoisseurs of wine which led them to build their dream home for retirement in Healdsburg in the heart of the wine country. Barbara also loved the symphony and ballet and held season tickets for performances in San Francisco as long as she was physically able to attend.
After retirement, and during her battle with cancer, Barbara volunteered with Habitat for Humanity building houses. She was particularly proud of one home built entirely by women whom she recruited. Barbara made quilts for kids moving into Habitat homes and also knitted blankets for kids going into foster care.
Since 2010 Barbara fought a constant battle with cancer with the loving support of her husband Ed, their fabulous helper Fanny, and the many friends who offered their generous support through her Angel News emails, and her devoted cat Moose.
Barbara is survived by her husband Edward T. Forte, step-children Edward T. Forte, Jr. and Brownlie Raffaini and grand-children Katie and Dominick Raffaini. Also surviving is her brother Richard (Dick) L. Kleckner and Martha Kleckner of Moneta, Virginia and nephews Chris, Jesse and Tyler.
A celebration of Barbara’s life will be planned at a later date.