Barbara June Mooney | 76 | Grafton
Her story began on Aug. 27, 1946 in St. Louis, MO, as the only child to Clarence and Ruth Koehler. Barb spent the greatest part of her life with her best friend, Jack Mooney. They had their first date on Jan. 17, 1964. That same year Barb graduated from Riverview Gardens High School and became employed at the Cruden Martin Manufacturing Company. Barb and Jack started their chapter together when they wed on July 9, 1966. They celebrated after their vows with a honeymoon at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Lake of the Ozarks. This year would have been their 57th chapter together. From the beginning, every year they made it a point to celebrate their “first date” anniversary and their “wedding” anniversary. Their first years of being the new Mr. and Mrs. were spent living in Florissant, MO. They could always be found surrounded by friends and family. One of their favorite past times were the countless games of cards they would play with their neighbors. Playing cards became a regular ritual that Barb and Jack continued for their entire marriage. They shared many rounds of Casino, Spades, Hearts and Canasta. Their love of cards probably had something to do with the 2 board games they created; Trivia Bingo and Challenge Bingo.
Within three years of marriage, Barb and Jack added their best two storylines, their sons, Brian Fitzgerald (June 1, 1969 – Jan. 27, 2008) and Shawn Michael (Dec. 12, 1976). By the time Shawn had turned two, they were once again writing a new chapter as they built their first home in Elsah, IL. During their 34 years in Elsah Hills, they would host numerous family gatherings. There were birthdays, reunions, and even their silver (25th) wedding vow renewal. Not many brides could look as beautiful in their wedding dress that many years later – but Barb pulled it off with ease. After her father passed, Barb and her mother Ruth became thick as thieves. They spent numerous years bonding over their love for the St. Louis Cardinals. They attended countless Cardinal games as season ticket holders and numerous cruises with players, coaches and commentators. Barb still had autograph books from her mom that contained STL signatures from the mid-1940s. Jack and Barb had a few chapters in their story that were a bit blurry compared to the others…they all involved raising their boys. There were skinned knees, sticky door handles, rat tails, first loves, broken hearts, an ice cream van, Boy Scouts, school events, ridiculously large parties (not hosted by them, but they did sometimes join in the fun), volleyball games, pool parties, buying a bus, graduating high school, wanting to travel the world and all of the little details in between. It may have all gone fast, but Barb loved being a mom. Once the boys began to get a bit older, Barb felt there was something missing. It was also in Elsah that Barb took a risk and began her own company, Hotel Credit Association, right there out of their home. HCA gave her more than a sense of pride and a paycheck. Within many of her employees she found great friends that we would even go as far as to call them her family. The company outgrew their home office location and was relocated to East Main St. in Grafton, IL. Barb finally retired when she sold the company to Shawn in 2011, but she didn’t go far. After a short hiatus, she was back at her desk working a few days a week. This October will be HCA’s 30th year of success.
Jack and Barb were also lucky enough to build their 2nd dream home in 2012, which was also located in Grafton. They have spent many days and nights over the years enjoying time with close friends and loved ones on their deck watching the river go by. There were several chapters that involved one of their favorite pastimes – traveling. After their oldest son, Brain passed away in 2008, they built amazing relationships with several of his friends that were from across the pond. They were able to take four different trips to Ireland. During those trips they visited many different small towns and of course just as many pubs. But if you could ask Barb today, she would probably tell you the trips after becoming a grandma were always the best. One trip, in particular, was the week-long trip to Panama City, Florida with Jack, Shawn, Nikki and all three of the grandkids (as well as Nikki’s parents, brother-in-law and his husband). It was a packed condo to say the least. There were laughs – even some groans and eyerolls – but it was unforgettable, and we are glad we didn’t take that time for granted. There were countless days spent as a local tourist enjoying the STL Zoo, Grants Farm, The Magic House and the City Museum.
As an only child, Barb found her own place amongst the many Mooney siblings and all of their spouses (who have lovingly dubbed themselves, The Outlaws.) We think the pictures that surrounded us during her funeral service simply spoke for themselves. You could practically hear the sound of her laugh as you looked at her smiles. There isn’t a story book big enough to hold all the memories she created with friends and family. We know we have only skimmed the surface of her amazing life. The last part of her book was spent doing what she loved, working at the office, side by side with her son Shawn, her daughter-in-law, Nikki and her HCA family. Before she walked out of the office that day, she had her routine call, on line 2, with Jack. The call ended as it always did, with an “I love you too.” She grabbed her belongings to head home, and everyone told her they would see her later. No one knew that within a few minutes of walking out that door, Barb would be writing the final line of her book.
She left behind beautiful connections that include her best friend and husband, Jack, her son Shawn (Nikki), 3 grandchildren (Payton -14, Samuel -12, Olivia -8), numerous in-laws and outlaws and more friends than you could count. She was preceded in death by her own mother and father, her in-laws, her first born son, Brian, some out-laws as well many extended family members.
Thank you to those that were able to celebrate one of our favorite stories, Barbara June Mooney.
Visitation and Funeral services were held on March 22, 2023 at Elias, Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey, IL. A reception was held immediately after at Mac’s Downton in Alton, IL.