Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Barbara J. Sloan

February 1, 1936 - December 9, 2021
Holland, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Barbara Jane Sloan passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on December 9.

Barbara was born on February 1, 1936 on the family farm in Almont, Michigan. She attended Almont High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree from Oakland University and a doctorate degree in education from Michigan State University.

Barbara lived a full and active life filled with family, friends, students, fellow educators and lovers of learning. She was the oldest of 4 children and was a voracious reader. At the age of 12 her father thought she was too much of a book worm so he bought her a horse. From then on riding and reading became a large part of her childhood life. In junior high a new boy got on the school bus – Bob Sloan. They ended up becoming high school sweethearts and were married on June 25, 1955. Soon followed two daughters, Breeze and Tressa.

Barbara’s career in education touched and changed children’s lives for over 35 years; from being a speech therapist, school principal and working with at risk students. In later years she continued to have an even greater impact on the lives of children by instructing teachers at Michigan State University and overseas on how to integrate children with learning challenges into regular classroom settings.

Barbara and the love of her life, Bob retired to Holland Michigan where she volunteered to tutor students after school and was a member of the American Association of University Women. Her greatest pleasure was still reading as she sat on her deck overlooking Lake Macatawa.

Barbara is survived by her dearly beloved husband of 66 years, Robert Sloan; her treasured daughters, Breeze (Fritz) Ettl and Tressa (Mark) Mills; grandchildren, Zane and Sloan Dorr, Max Mills, Maggie (Jonathon) Wigger; great grandchildren, Mary and Micah Wigger; brother, Robert (Barbara) Paton; sister, Candy (Art) Lange; sisters-in-law, Dolly Plettenberg, Helen King, Nancy (Jay) Tuggle, Alice (Andy) Hoban; brother-in-law, James (Rachelle) Sloan and many nieces and nephews.

Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Eva and Walter Paton; sister, Marjorie Smits; sister-in-law Floyce Sloan; brother-in-laws, Dean Sloan, Frank Plettenberg and Jack King.

The family will hold a private memorial service to celebrate Barbara's life.

Funeral arrangements are under the auspices of the Northwood Chapel.