Cover photo for Barbara J. Thiel's Obituary
Barbara J. Thiel Profile Photo
1943 Barbara 2022

Barbara J. Thiel

July 15, 1943 — March 25, 2022

Barbara “Barb” Thiel, 78, died peacefully on Friday, March 25, 2022 at Aspire Senior Living in Oshkosh surrounded by her family. Barbara was born July 15, 1943 in Oshkosh, WI, the daughter of Clair and Dorothy (Kallas) Coats. She attended grade school in Winneconne, but graduated from Omro High School after her family moved to the farm where her girls would have their most fond childhood memories. Barb proudly graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a Secondary Education Degree and taught physical education in Waupun and Oostburg, before moving back to Winneconne to begin a teaching and coaching career that would span more than 30 years. To say that Barb loved her career as a teacher and coach is an understatement. She was truly dedicated to the school district in Winneconne and loved each and every one of the students that she taught. Her colleagues were special to Barb; many have become lifelong friends.

Barb’s hobbies and talents were a big part of who she was. Her writing was a gift that she shared with many. If you were lucky enough to receive a personal letter from Barb, you realized how much she cared about you. She loved to exercise. You may have seen her walking many miles a day around Winneconne and around the halls of the high school if the weather was bad. Barb enjoyed cooking and baking, mostly to give away to people she loved. Her herb garden was always healthy and well-cared for- especially the basil used to make “Barb’s Besto Pesto.” She enjoyed traveling with her daughters, especially to Door County. She started stamping and making greeting cards years ago. Her cards were beautifully detailed and designed personally for each recipient. Barb was an avid reader and enjoyed reading for hours a day after retirement. She prayed every day for her family, friends, and people she didn’t even know.   

Barb treasured her time with her grandchildren. She spent hours babysitting, playing Pokemon Cards and Barbies, watching movies, baking special treats, and reading to Austin, Kevin and Baylee. They loved her so much and never turned down time with “Grandma Barb” or “GBarb,” even as they got older. She also loved the granddogs and would dog-sit as much as we needed her to.

Above all, Barb will be known for her selflessness and her kindness. She was compassionate and generous, always putting others’ needs above her own. She would give of herself, never expecting anything in return. She had a positive energy about her that always drew people to her and a warmth that put you at ease when you were with her.  

Barb is survived by her two daughters, Brenda (David) Brusky and Nan (Jeff) Cottrell, grandchildren Nick Brusky, Eric (Kate) Brusky, Kevin (fiance’ Jamie) Cottrell, Baylee Cottrell, and Sasha Shymanko (her Ukrainian grandson), two sisters, Janet (Steve) Helmuth, Mary Fleck, brother Jim (Joan) Coats, many nieces and nephews, best friends Linda Dittburner and Nancy Breedlove, who were like sisters to her, and many other close friends and neighbors who were so special to her. 

She was preceded in death by her beloved grandson, Austin Cottrell, her parents, Clair and Dorothy Coats, brother and sister-in-law Ron and Mary Coats, Nephew Shane Fleck and her spunky cat Dexter.

We would like to thank Compassus Hospice; especially her nurse Eva who took wonderful care of her and her doctors Elzbieta Perry and Lars Swanson for their compassionate care. We appreciate the staff and residents at Oshkosh Aspire who loved Barb. A special thanks to Linda and Nancy for their kindness and friendship to our family during many difficult days. 

To honor our mother, we ask you to do something kind for someone else in a small way; make a meal, write a letter, give a compliment, and let the people you love know how much they mean to you.

Funeral services for Barbara will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 830 S Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh. Visitation will take place at the church on Thursday from 9:00 am until the time of service.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara J. Thiel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, March 31, 2022

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church

830 South Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh, WI 54904

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Service

Thursday, March 31, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church

830 South Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh, WI 54904

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

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