Barbara Sokoloski passed away May 6, 2022, at The Springs in Missoula MT surrounded by family and loving caregivers. She was 98 at the time of her death. Barbara was a remarkable woman known for her witty sense of humor, graciousness, and positive outlook. She was the matriarch of her family, greatly loved and equally admired for her strong spirit, wisdom, and determination.
Barbara was born July 19, 1923, in Burlingame California and was the middle of three daughters born to Roger and Madeleine Waite. She attended schools in San Francisco until her senior year in high school when Roger’s work took the family to Hollywood CA. Barbara graduated from Hollywood High School. During childhood, along with her sisters, she was active in sports including tennis, golf and especially swimming; they also enjoyed the metropolitan activities and culture of San Francisco.
In 1941, her father’s work transferred the family to Atlanta GA and Barbara started school at William and Mary College in Williamsburg VA. When WWII broke out, she left school to work for the war effort in Atlanta.
During the war, Barbara’s younger sister Midge met a young navy pilot stationed in Florida who hailed from Butte MT. At her sister’s wedding, Barbara’s older sister Betty met her future husband, from Charlo MT. Now, with 2 daughters married and living in Montana, her parents, Roger and Madeleine decided to retire on beautiful Flathead Lake. Barbara arrived from Atlanta to help Betty when her husband became terminally ill. During this time, Barbara met Ollie “Soko” Sokoloski and never returned to Atlanta. Thus, through a series of what the family considers remarkable and fortunate events they ended up together in this wild north country that they grew to love.
Barbara and “Soko” were married February 12, 1950, in Missoula MT. “Soko” worked in Real Estate and Barbara was a homemaker. Together they raised 3 children Anne, Don, and John. She was involved in her children’s and later her grandchildren’s many activities as well as activities through St. Anthony’s Catholic church. She had impeccable taste and created a beautiful, welcoming home for her family and friends. Summers were spent at Flathead Lake where she enjoyed watching her children, grandchildren and later, great grandchildren frolic and play. She was a believer in celebrating all of life’s hallmarks whether it was birthdays, holidays, graduations, or any other special occasion. She had a knack for creating many breathtaking moments for family gatherings, leaving warm memories for anyone in attendance.
Barbara was a member of a very special group of women who called themselves “The Hippie Mothers”. The group started in 1964. This close-knit group of women enjoyed many outdoor adventures, travel, crafting and supported each other with laughter and care through five decades. When Soko passed away in 1997, the “Hippies” surrounded Barbara with love and companionship.
Barbara lived at the Springs for the past 12 years and remained active, vital, and engaged until she fell and fractured her hip 2 weeks prior to her death. Over the years at the Springs, she took a keen interest in all the staff’s lives, and she considered them her friends and family.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Roger and Madeleine Waite, her husband Ollie Sokoloski her sisters Madeleine (Betty) Blankenship, Marjorie (Midge) Watters and grandson Peter Maxwell. She is survived by her children Anne Maxwell (Bruce) of Bozeman MT; Don Sokoloski (Michelle) of Missoula MT; John Sokoloski of San Diego CA; her niece Barbara Lee Blankenship of Missoula MT; grandchildren Tyler Maxwell of Bozeman MT, Lauren Nelson (Jack) of Salt Lake City, Ben Sokoloski (Lauren) of Missoula MT and Maddy Webber (Eric) of Bend OR as well as 8 great grandchildren; Oliver, Mabel and Millie Nelson, Theo, Nora and Maxwell Sokoloski, and Wren and Sage Webber.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and staff at The Springs for their loving and sweet care of Barbara. The family is eternally grateful to Grace Hospice who provided the most compassionate, loving care to Barbara and her family for the past 2 weeks.
A family celebration of life will be held this summer at Flathead Lake.
Donations in Barbara’s memory may be made to Grace Hospice at https://www.ghomc.org/donate or at P.O. Box 212, Clinton MT 59825.
Arrangements are in the care of Garden City Funeral Home and Crematory, Missoula, MT