Barbara Ranck Ashenfelter of Malvern
Barbara Ranck Ashenfelter, 86, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Born in Leola at the Ranck family farm, she was the daughter of the late Mabel Cooper and Charles Pfautz Ranck. She enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the farm with her sisters, Nancy, Joan and Mary Lou. Barbara graduated from Upper Leacock High School, followed by a college degree in Home Economics from Penn State University in 1952.
Barbara enjoyed a career at the Vineland Training Center, The Booth School, Malvern Nursery School and twenty plus years at Good Samaritan Day School. She was a preschool teacher, admired by both her students and parents. Her class roster was filled well in advance, as parents requested this teacher who emphasized courtesy, good manners and self-discipline. Stories of bows and curtsies at day’s end, children hanging up their coats and tying their own shoes are legendary!
Barbara’s adventure as a wife and mother began when she married her college sweet heart, William N. Ashenfelter in 1953. She raised two adoring but headstrong daughters, who loved and revered their mother. Barbara was the family’s “moral compass.” She was a tough task master when it came to the hard questions in life and doing the “right” thing. Barbara lived her life by the “Golden Rule,” and insisted that her daughters try to do the same.
Life at “Boot Road” in Malvern was filled with lots of activities and responsibilities. There was always a melee of cousins, friends, dogs, cats, horses and a hilarious level of merriment and confusion. Barbara was a gracious hostess, with an abundance of delicious food and drink at an ever expanding table.
Ferrying her girls to and fro to various activities, Barbara still managed to initiate a long career of philanthropy and public service. She was involved in the Republican Party, President of the Woman’s Service Bureau of the Upper Main Line YMCA, President of the Board of Directors for Family Service of Chester County and was involved for many years with Paoli Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Barbara served her community well, participating in causes to make life better for so many others.
Barbara’s faith in God was steadfast, and she lived her life as a Christian in the true sense of the word. She served as a Deacon at Paoli Presbyterian Church for many years and continued to be an active member in Bible Study and church activities.
Barbara maintained associations with many groups including her college sorority alumni group Alpha Gamma Delta, Secretary of The Junior Women’s Club of Malvern, the Penn State Nittany Lion Club, and Program Chair for The Freedom Valley Chapter of Questers.
Called “friend” by many, Barbara was fun, generous, kind and charitable in nature. She was an attentive listener and a circumspect counselor. She always found the best in others, and rarely if ever had an unkind word to say about anyone. Because of her convivial nature, Barbara enjoyed an active social life playing golf, tennis and paddle tennis at Aronimink and Hershey’s Mill Golf Clubs. She was an avid skier until age 78, played bridge monthly and enjoyed her Book Club. There were many fabulous trips with a big group of dear friends.
Barbara was pre-deceased by her loving husband “Bill” in 2010, who simply put, was crazy about her! She is survived by her daughters, Elaine Bednarz (m. Edward Lee Bednarz) and Mary Jo Heckman (m. Thomas S. Heckman); sisters, Joan Groff and Mary Lou Lee as well as many adoring nieces and nephews, step grandchildren and step great grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Service to celebrate Barbara’s life at Paoli Presbyterian Church at 225 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: National Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800 Miami, FL 33131 or Paoli Presbyterian Church, 225 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA 19301.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www. foundsfuneralhome.com.