Longtime Deer Park resident, historian and author, Barbara Ann Yeary Weidig Wells, passed away May 19, 2019 at the age of 88, surrounded by her family. Born in Augusta, Kansas November 18, 1930, her family made their way to Texas, eventually settling in Deer Park in 1941. Barbara attended school in Deer Park, beginning with grade 7, in “The Annex Building" located on Ivy Street—which once housed grades 1-12. She graduated Valedictorian in 1948 from her class of thirteen and began a 38 year career with Lubrizol in the accounting department.
Barbara married fellow classmate Jimmie Weidig soon after graduating. Together, they raised their family of 3 children, were active in the community and watched Deer Park grow. These were truly “Wonder Years” in Deer Park, living on Norwood Street with good friends and lots of kiddos! Weekends were spent in Deer Park at local sports and school events —or— at “The Cabin” tucked away in Buffalo, Texas, a place built by family, rich in memories of special times and tall tales passed down through the generations.
While completing her Associate Degree at San Jacinto Jr. College, Barbara began a project that evolved into a lifelong passion for history. Barbara authored Deer Park, A History of a Texas Town (copyright 1976 by the Library of Congress and published by the Naylor Company) as part of the The City of Deer Park’s celebration of the 1976 Bicentennial. Barbara continued researching, acquiring photos and documents, as well as interviews with local residents and their descendants throughout her life. She was later commissioned to write her second book, Shell at Deer Park - The Story of the First Fifty Years, which was dedicated to her father, George D. Yeary, “a very special Shell machinist”. In 1986, as part of the Texas Sesquicentennial Committee, she edited As I Remember, recollections over the years by many Deer Park residents.
A photo of Barbara and her best friend Mary Olive Mitchell (taken by Jimmie Weidig) has become an iconic image of this city. Photo is featured in the photo album at the bottom of this page.
Barbara is a charter member of the Deer Park Heritage Society, appointed to the City of Deer Park Bicentennial Commission in 1976 and was named Deer Park Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1981. In 2005, her image was included on “The Wall of Honor” at Deer Park High School. Barbara participated in the 2008 Deer Park rededication of "Patrick’s Cabin”, commemorating the treaty signed by Sam Houston and Santa Anna following the Battle of San Jacinto.
As a testament to her strength and character, Barbara remained a fiercely independent woman all her life. Undeterred by a debilitating stroke at age 59, she continued to live at her home in Deer Park, enjoying family and her love for history - as well as becoming an ace crossworder.
Barbara was preceded in death by parents George and Dora Yeary, and brother Dean Yeary. She is survived by sister Jean Thibodeaux of Hot Springs, Arkansas as well as her large and ever-growing family of 3 generations. Her children all graduated from Deer Park High School: daughter Julianne Brackin (husband Bill) of Austin, son John K. Weidig (wife Lynne) of The Woodlands, and son Casey Weidig (wife Penne) of Bellaire. She was blessed with 11 grandchildren: Courtney Harvey (husband Colin), John C. Weidig (wife Brooke), Meredith Graham (husband Felipe), Daniel Weidig (wife Ellen), Travis Brackin, David Graham (wife Caitlin), Shelley Garland (husband Chad), Sam Weidig, John Michael Weidig, Corey Weidig, and Josh Weidig. Blessings continued with the births of 8 great-grandchildren: John, Price, Cole, Jackson, Charlotte, Claire, June and Quinn.
A family interment will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The family kindly requests any memorial gifts be made to The Deer Park Public Library or a local organization of your choice.
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