North Highline Fire District Commissioner Barb Peters Passes Away

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by Ralph Nichols

“The heart and soul of the North Highline area” is how Barbara Peters, who died from cancer on Sunday, Oct. 25, is being remembered by friends and colleagues.

Not only was she a wife, mother, grandmother and friend, Barbara was a Commissioner of the North Highline Fire District, a 15-year volunteer with the King County Sheriff’s Office, a long-time member of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, and a strong advocate for Burien’s annexation of the North Highline unincorporated area.

Survivors include her husband, William Peters, and three daughters, Valerie, Cynthia and Natalie.

A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, November 2, at Riverton Crest Cemetery, 3400 S.140th St., in Tukwila. A reception will follow at Rainier Golf and Country Club, 11133 Des Moines Memorial Dr. South.

Since her passing, tributes to Barbara have come from her friends and colleagues in the North Highline/Burien area.

Former Highline Fire Department Chief Russ Pritchard, who is also a past president of the North Highline Council, recalled that during his first term as president he asked Barbara to submit an application to fill a vacancy on the council.

“She kept saying ‘no, no, no,’ then agreed to fill it only for the remainder of the term.” But she remained on the council and “was my vice president all three times I was president,” Pritchard said. “Everyone looked to her for leadership. I looked to her for leadership. When I was president, I would say to her, ‘You’re the president, I just run the meetings.’”

He described her as “a force on that council. She took on projects that no one else wanted to do, and she got things done.”

At Fire District 11, “She was a very cool-headed commissioner,” Pritchard continued. “She thought out every issue that came up. When I was chief, she was the first commissioner to attend our staff meetings. She tried to talk to every firefighter to get their views before voting.”

After King County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Cox was killed in the line of duty three years ago, Barbara “was very much a force behind a lot of what was done there after his death to honor him,” he noted. Later, she was instrumental in getting a White Center park reclaimed, upgraded and renamed Steve Cox Park.

Pritchard said that Barbara, Steve, Judy Duff, also a former Highline Council president, and he “spent a lot of time together working on issues and became good friends. Two to three Sundays a month we would meet at her house and she would fix dinner for us.

“We became good friends and called ourselves the Four Musketeers. Now I’m the only one left. I know that in heaven, Barbara, Judy and Steve are now together on some council up there.”

Burien Police Sgt. Henry McLauchlan said Barbara, who ran the Sheriff’s Office storefront station and was a Block Watch leader, “was one of the leaders of the pack.

“We called her the major of the Boulevard Park storefront, but she was much more than a major. She was the general down there,” McLauchlan said. “She was just an incredible human being who was always there for the officers, always the first to raise her hand to volunteer.”

Burien Planning Commission member Jim Clingan said he got to know Barbara about three years ago when she was involved in keeping the Evergreen Pool open.

“She was an energetic, hard-charging individual who put a lot of energy into the things she did,” Clingan said. “She had strong opinions and whether you agreed or disagreed, you got a fair hearing and you walked away knowing you got a fair hearing.

Barbara “was just a good lady, and it’s a sad, sad loss,” he added. “I’m thankful to her family – to her husband and daughters – for sharing her with the community.”

Mike Martin, who became Burien’s city manager in November 2006, said Barbara “took me under her wing almost immediately. She was the first to take me on a tour of North Highline.

“She was a very good friend to us, the city of Burien. She worked tirelessly for annexation to Burien and her efforts were very critical to the success of annexation.”

Martin added, “Barbara was the heart and soul of the North Highline area.”

Here’s her official obituary:

Barbara Jean PETERS Passed away from cancer at home surrounded by her family on October 25th, 2009. Barbara was born in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1937 to Henry and Florence Colella and grew up with her younger sister, Janice. When she was eleven years old, Barbara started working at Pike Place Market to help her grandparents, Emilio and Angelina Galliano, sell their produce. Barbara graduated from Cleveland High School in 1955 and worked for Western Electric Phone Company until she married William Peters on November 22, 1957. Barbara stayed home to care for their three daughters and she was always involved in the girls’ school and church activities. She was known as an excellent cook, organizer and adviser. Once the girls were grown, Barbara became involved in community activities: volunteering with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, a15 year volunteer with the King County Sheriff’s Department, serving on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, and serving as a Fire Commissioner for the North Highline Fire District. Without a doubt though, Barb was most proud of her two grandchildren and she cherished the time she spent with both of them.

She is survived by her husband of nearly 52 years, Bill; her sister Janice; daughter Valerie (Jim) and granddaughter Victoria; daughter Cynthia; daughter Natalie (Jack) and grandson Jack. Everyone who knew Barbara was touched by her generosity, determination and her ability to speak her mind and get things done. Her dedication to children was endless and her accomplishments are too numerous to list and too far reaching to know. Barbara will be greatly missed by her family, friends, neighbors and the community she tirelessly supported. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at Virginia Mason and everyone at Highline Home Care Services and Hospice. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Barbara’s name to: North Highline Fire District Aid Car Fund, 1243 Southwest 112th Street, Seattle, WA 98146. In her memory, Barbara asked to please spend time with a child that is close to you. That time spent and your love for that child will be with Barbara forever.

A graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM on Monday, November 2nd at Riverton Crest Cemetery, 3400 S.140th, Tukwila 98168 with a reception following at Rainier Golf and Country Club, 11133 Des Moines Memorial Dr. S., Seattle 98168.

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3 Responses to “North Highline Fire District Commissioner Barb Peters Passes Away”
  1. Barb was a dynamo, our community is a better place because of her. She’ll be missed.

  2. Vicky says:

    Barb was a tireless worker and strong advocate for community safety and issues that impacted Boulevard Park and North Highline. When I moved to Boulevard Park 6 years ago, Barb was one of the first people I met. With Barb’s help, my neighbors and I set up a block watch that has not only been an effective crime prevention tool, but also has brought our neighbors closer together. We went from people living on the same street to becoming a true community. Barb Peters is a person who made a difference. She will be missed.

  3. Greg Duff says:

    Barb believed that one person could make a difference. She loved the North Highline Area and worked hard to make it a better place to live. I am so sad that Barb did not have a chance to see the North Highline Area annexed to the City of Burien after she worked tirelessly to make it happen. My prayers go out to the family in this time of loss.
    My thoughts go to the community she loved so much.
    Greg Duff

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