Cover photo for Barbara A. Airis's Obituary
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1953 Barbara 2024

Barbara A. Airis

October 19, 1953 — April 15, 2024

Appleton

Barbara A. Airis, age 70, passed away on April 15, 2024, following a two-decade battle against cancer, surrounded by her family at Ascension-St Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton.  Barbara was born on October 19, 1953, to parents Delbert and Genevieve (Varlamos) Jessen in Carroll, Iowa. She was the middle child of three born to the couple. She graduated from Carroll High School and then attended the University of Northern Iowa and was a proud Panther. She graduated with a BS in teaching and went on to substitute teach, but especially loved being a library aide at Little Chute Middle School until her retirement.

Barb began her relationship with Royal Airis as a pen pal while he was stationed in Vietnam. The couple sent letters back and forth for just over a year before they actually met in person in 1970. Roy traveled to Iowa to meet Barb and the rest is literally history-the couple married in 1975 after a nearly three-year engagement. Soon after the wedding bells were ringing, the couple moved to Appleton, WI where they began their life together and raised a family.

Barb adored all holidays (but especially Halloween and Christmas) and went out of her way to make every event special and unique. She was known for creating birthday cakes which were made with love. Barb was crafty and always hand-made Halloween costumes for all the kids. She was so creative and could see potential in nearly any item.

Travel and camping were high on Barb’s list of things to do. She loved to travel to South Dakota for Sturgis as well as visits to the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and a grudging jaunt through the Badlands. She enjoyed riding on the back of Roy’s Harley-such was her trust in him. She loved M&M’s, chocolate and collecting candy dishes.

Barb loved her family. Her husband, children, grandchildren who were the light of her life. She always told people that Roy was “next level” and was so much more than a best friend-he meant everything to her (and she to him!). Barb was the family photographer, using her camera to document every special event and memory. She was always behind the camera taking pictures in order to hang onto the memories. She especially liked to make sure everyone looked well placed in the photos.

Barb is survived by the love of her life Roy, her children: Lance (Laura) Airis, Brook (Cody) Severson, Shane (significant other Sara) Airis and Brittanni (Chris) Airis-Heeren; grandchildren: Cheyenne (Cole), Bailey, Peyton, Maverick, Zander, Isabella, Sadie, and September Baby Airis-Heeren; and bonus grandchildren: Calla, CJ, Rachel, Carter, Annabelle, and Lucas, She is further survived by her brother Jim (Patti) Jessen, brother-in-law Bill Kneller, sister-in-law Robin (Steve) Schuelke, as well as many other nieces, nephews, and good friends and family.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Roy’s parents Robert and Bernice Airis, her sister Deb Kneller and other special family members.

Friends may visit with the family on Friday April 19, 2024, at Wichmann Funeral Home, 537 N Superior Street, Appleton from 5:00pm until 7:00pm.

A funeral service for Barb will take place at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 724 E South River Street, Appleton, on Saturday April 20, 2024, at 11:00am. Friends and family may gather at the church from 9:00am until the service begins. Barb will be laid to rest at Highland Memorial Park.

Please help us in celebrating Barb’s bright and beautiful spirit by wearing bright colors.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara A. Airis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, April 19, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Visitation

Saturday, April 20, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

First Congregational U.C.C.

724 E South River St, Appleton, WI 54915

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, April 20, 2024

11:00 - 11:45 am (Central time)

First Congregational U.C.C.

724 E South River St, Appleton, WI 54915

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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