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Barbara Helen McLain
September 20, 1960 ~ November 17, 2023 (age 63) 63 Years Old
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Barbara McLain of Dash Point, WA passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of November 17 at the age of 63 after courageously dealing with traumatic brain injury, resulting from her 2014 falling accident.
Barbara was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 20, 1960, the daughter of Paul and Joan McLain. After living in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Arizona the family settled in Davenport, WA, where her father practiced medicine. She excelled in school, sang in the choir, played on the volleyball team, and was very active in the Davenport Presbyterian Church. One of her fun memories was being crowned Miss Davenport.
She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at Whitman College, where she was a member of Tri Delta sorority, sang in the college choir and graduated second in her class. She spent her junior year at Durham University in England. Barbara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand for 2 ½ years in the field of education. She then attended the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs, earning a Master of Public Administration.
Barbara and David Snow met when he was president of the Seattle-based Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group and she had recently come back from her service. They married in 1990 and honeymooned in France, returning to the home they built near Star Lake in Auburn. They celebrated their 10th Wedding Anniversary in Tanzania and returned to France for their 20th Anniversary.
Barbara had a rewarding 27-year career in state government, serving as a senior research analyst for the House of Representatives from 1987 – 1993 and 2002 – 2014 and also working for the Department of Health, the Office of Financial Management and the Institute of Public Policy. Her dedication and passion to help improve the lives of students through her fiscal and policy work with legislators made a positive impact on the State of Washington’s higher-ed and K-12 education systems.
Having both lived outside the country, travel was in Barbara’s and David’s DNA. They made numerous visits to countries in South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. A most memorable trip was traveling with Rotary International to Ethiopia to help vaccinate children against polio. They played tennis weekly at the club and sailed the Mistral year-round. They enjoyed the Seattle Art Museum, Intiman and ACT Theaters, and never missed a UW Husky Football home game. They were members of Steel Lake Presbyterian Church and later attended Marine View Presbyterian after moving to Dash Point, overlooking the fishing pier, in 2002.
Barbara is survived by husband David, father Paul (Walla Walla, WA), brother Bruce (Houston, TX), his wife Heather and their children Nathanael and Sierra. She lived a meaningful life and even following her accident continued to inspire others to make the most of their situation and abilities. Confined to a wheelchair, David took Barbara on frequent “walk & rolls” from her adult family home in Federal Way to nearby Steel Lake and Town Square Parks.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 8 at 11:00 at Harbor Covenant Church, 4901 Gustafson Drive NW, Gig Harbor, WA. In lieu of flowers, you may wish to donate in Barbara’s honor to the University of Puget Sound School of Physical Therapy, where she was a hard-working, well-respected and beloved patient.