Barbara (Zimmer) Sajbel ’67

25 February 2013

Class: 1967

Major: Biology

Residence: Oakland, CA

Deceased: July 13, 2011

(deceased 7/13/2011)

Barbara’s husband Rick Sajbel pre-deceased her in 2007. She is survived by two sons, Derek and Anders; younger brother Rick with his family; and youngest brother William and his family. Barb and I met when my family moved onto Scotch Lane, Riverwoods, Deerfield, IL in 1956, during the last half of our Sixth Grade at Wilmot Elementary School. She and Patti Quirk were already good friends, as they both lived on Sherry Lane, a loop off Portwine Road. We formed a three-some and had many sleep-overs, phone conversations, and early returns from lunch at home to Wilmot when they had caramel apples on a stick for sale.

Eventually, as we attended Highland Park High School for our freshman year, then the newly built Deerfield High School, our circle of friends grew to include Nancy Gross, Kathleen Landreth, Sue Anderson, Bertita Trabert, and peripherally, Michelle (Mike) Wunders.

Barb was of medium-plump build, chocolate brown eyes that turned down ever-so-slightly at the outside corners, gorgeous straight brown hair (which she hated and wished it could be curly), and flawless skin. She was often over-looked in a crowd because of her quiet personality, soft voice, and droll sense of humor. She also happened to be a straight “A” student and accomplished flutist. She never got quite as boy crazy as some of us did during high school. Maybe, just maybe, that was how she stayed straight “A” student and accomplished flutist.

While Barb, her parents and two younger brothers lived on Sherry Lane, she had a big tank of tropical fish in her bedroom. When she got her driver’s license, her Dad let her borrow his hot little turquoise Triumph to drive around. She also enjoyed going horse-back riding with me on the flood plains of the Des Plains River. She attended college in Minnesota for her BS, then went to California to earn a MS in Marine Biology. She said one of his biggest thrills was to swim with the dolphins.

It was in CA that she met and married Rick Sajbel. The laid- back CA life agreed with Barb. She began to relax within her marriage, manner of dress, and it enabled her flow-blown maternal instincts to emerge. She was totally taken with breast feeding her boys. Barb home schooled her sons while keeping the books for her husband’s businesses: Gourmet Caterer and importer of fine, French wines for their wine store.

When Barb was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2008, she under-went the surgeries and chemo therapies and they thought that was that. Several times before, my family had traveled to CA to visit our son and would set-up a “mini-reunion” of our Riverwoods Gang. When Barb didn’t show-up for our 2010 luncheon, I had a sinking feeling that something was very wrong. The cancer had re-occurred. In January, 2011, she recognized that the treatments weren’t effective and opted to stop the treatments. Occasionally, I would phone her, but mostly we would stay in touch via e-mail. She told me that if I didn’t receive a response within two weeks, she was “either on the way out or gone”. She never lost her droll sense of humor. The day came when her son replied to my e-mail. Barb was too weak to do e-mail. He promised he’d read any emails to her, but she wasn’t able to carry on a phone conversation. She was her terminal illness… until now. Barb is the first of our Riverwoods Gang to go and it hurts.

Kate Chamberlin (formerly Kathy Holmberg), Riverwoods Gang

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