In Memory

Barbara Amelia Rolens - Class Of 1932

Barbara Amelia Rolens was born November 22, 1914 in Murphysboro, Illinois. She was the third of five children and the only daughter of Fred and Margaret Rolens. The family came to Glendale in 1926 on a vacation visit with relatives and decided to stay. Barbara attended school in Glendale, then in 1929 her father purchased the South Pasadena Review, a weekly tabloid which became a bi-weekly, full-sized newspaper.

The family moved to South Pasadena in 1930 (1913 Oak Street was their home for the next 38 years). Barbara graduated from South Pasadena High School in 1932, Pasadena Junior College in 1934 and UCLA in 1937. Barbara married Aaron Lanham that spring and in 1939 they moved to Washington, DC, where he was with the National Bureau of Standards. She enjoyed personnel work with Woodard and Lathrop department store and then became a service representative with the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company; the World War II years in our Nation's Capitol were a unique experience. In 1946 they returned to South Pasadena and Barbara worked for Pacific Bell Telephone Company in Pasadena and several other of their offices in southern California. Her husband became an optometrist, located in South Pasadena. They were divorced in 1951.

In 1952 Barbara married Rodney Gale and lived in Sierra Madre and Eagle Rock with many summers (11) in the northern New Hampshire summer home his grandparents had had built in 1902. Dr. Gale was a long time geology professor at PJC and the drives each year across country were memorable. The Gales had two foster children for several years and then were able to adopt a son and daughter as infants. With her parents and brothers nearby and other relatives and friends, that was a wonderfully happy period. After a divorce in 1966, Barbara and the two children returned to South Pasadena and she was employed by the County of Los Angeles in the Pasadena and Rio Hondo Municipal Court offices. In 1978 she resumed her family name. Since her retirement in 1979, she had lived in Rosemead, Mira Loma, and Arcadia.

Her former husbands and one beloved friend predeceased Barbara. She stayed active with special interest in children, gardening, literacy tutoring as a volunteer in Riverside County and in Arcadia. Reading, keeping track of friend and family with letters, telephone calls, treks up I-15 and I-5, and Route 99 were special joys. Barbara's brother John died in 1983, brother George (SPHS '40) in 2000, and brother James (SPHS '31) in 2007.  She is survived by her brother David (SPHS '38); her children Allan Gale and Diana Snyder; two grandsons; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews and special friends everywhere she traveled or lived.

Barbara's obituary was written in her own words a few years ago and found after her passing. The ending was completed by friends. Barbara was a very unique lady that never let things keep her down for long. She was killed in a freak accident by a golf cart in Riverside and died before her time from head injuries. Barbara was loved by many and will be missed.

The Press-Enterprise, July 23, 2007