Barbara Johnston passed peacefully in her Boise home on February 26, 2022, surrounded by her family after a brief battle with cancer.
Born Barbara Anne Faller January 27, 1942, in Oil City, Pennsylvania, she was the eldest girl of seven children in the Faller clan. She grew up in Fryburg, Pennsylvania in an idyllic and busy home. The Fallers worked hard running two businesses but never forgot the value of family time. Barbara grew up camping and boating and traveling to the family cottage in Canada. She attended North Clarion High School, where she played the clarinet, sang in the district chorus, and was even a majorette her sophomore year. She graduated in 1959. She started college at Temple University, but love brought her back home and she enrolled at Clarion College, majoring in education.
In 1961 she married David Gerosin, a strapping young state trooper, and they moved to California, complete with “swimming pools and movie stars.” Barbara looked every bit the California golden girl with shapely, tanned legs, her blond twiggy haircut, and a yellow bikini. Children soon blessed the young couple. Anne came in 1963, then Matt in 1964. Barbara had an adventurous, creative view of the world and parenting, and taught her kids to swim as infants. Folks around the pool were horrified the first time she dunked Matt under at 6 weeks of age, but Barbara knew that infants hold their breath and so they swam. Both kids loved the water. She also gave them a love of the outdoors, roaming through the rocky hills of Northridge and Chatsworth, California. They swam, dug for sand crabs, and played at Zuma beach. Barb always had adventurous and educational activities for her family.
Returning to her education after a brief hiatus, Barbara attended Cal State Northridge to finish up her course work and become a teacher. She completed her degree and student teaching while her kids were toddlers. She began her teaching career in 1968 at Parthenia Elementary School in Northridge, CA. She was a naturally gifted teacher. She was innovative, creative, and fun. Students, parents, and fellow teachers all loved Barbara.
In 1975 the family moved to Meridian, Idaho and purchased 10 acres. Never shy when it came to trying something new, Barbara settled into the daily life of running a gentlemen’s ranchette. She learned to irrigate, mend fences, give calves their shots, and developed a lifelong passion for horses. After a few years, Barb and her family moved to town and downsized to one acre and two horses. She went back to work teaching first grade at Star Elementary school in the early 1980s and then transferred to McMillan Elementary School in 1988. It was here that Barbara met her lifelong best friend, Lynn Jensen. Her skills as a teacher were exceptional enough that even former students enrolled their own children in Barbara’s first grade classes.
Divorce in 1989 brought a course change for Barb. She continued to teach and ride her horses. In fact, riding her beloved Phaedrah in the foothills around Boise become a much-needed solace. She showed Phaedrah in some three-day event competitions and rode her in a couple of endurance races as well. They made a great team, a small mare, and her petite rider, fearless together. Barbara remarried in 1992. She and her husband, Jerry Johnston, built a beautiful home in Nampa, complete with a riding arena and a barn that had running water and electricity. A horsewoman’s dream! Barbara made her home a showplace with wonderful flowerbeds that looked like waves of brilliant color in a sea of lush, green grass. With Jerry’s death in 2002, Barbara retired from teaching, moved to Boise, and purchased a lovely new home. She put in a swimming pool and her home become the gathering place for family and friends. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren flocked to her home for swimming, BBQs, and all-around good times.
Barbara fully supported her kids and grandkids in all their activities and sports. She would go “glamping” out in the desert for dirt bike races, drive to Bogus Basin for ski time, and could always be seen at a swim meet or baseball game.
Barbara again found a partner in 2008 with Gary Herriott. They both enjoyed travel and a love of Boise State Athletics. They got together a core group of football fans and began going to all the games, home and away. They traveled to the bowl games and the season openers across the country. Barbara and her friends made the trips more than just driving or flying to a weekend football game. She turned them into vacations and oh, the things they saw and did. She toured the Ford Truck plant when the Broncos played the Spartans in Michigan, made new friends when the team played in Atlanta, and managed to avoid a hurricane after the Broncos clashed with the FSU Seminoles.
Barbara lived fully. She never hesitated to try something new, but her most precious gift was the way she gave of herself to friends and family. If you were in need, Barb was there. She would be at your side through the thick of it, and yet she was a master of helping and supporting in subtle ways, providing opportunities for people to grow and share their own gifts. She is well loved and is well remembered.
Barbara is preceded in death by her parents and a grandson. She is survived by three sisters and three brothers, one ex-husband, a partner, her two children and their families, which include three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Arrangements are under the direction of Accent Funeral Home in Meridian. A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at the Kleiner Park Event Center, 1920 Records Way, Meridian, on March 9, at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Barbara by donating to one of these two charities. Ride for Joy Therapeutic Riding Center, 28379 El Paso Rd., Caldwell, ID 83607. or the West Ada Education Foundation, 1303 East Central Drive, Meridian, ID 83642.