Barbara died at the age 71 from the effects of pancreatic cancer. She was a native Oregonian, born in Klamath Falls, and lived in Portland, Sandy and Yachats. She attended St. Rose elementary school and was a member of the last graduating class of Providence Academy Vancouver in 1966. She became a registered nurse in 1976 (Portland Community College and Southern Oregon State College), was a Nurse Manager at Oregon Health Sciences University and was active in the Oregon Nurses Association. Barbara moved to Seattle in 1987 where she worked at Harborview, Virginia Mason, and the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) as the Director of the state-wide nurses’ union.
During her 20+ years at WSNA Barbara led activities to improve the working conditions for registered nurses and their patients. She is held in high regard by nurses in Washington State and across the country for her work in nursing. For her many contributions she was inducted into the WSNA Nurses Hall of Fame in 2016. Barbara also authored a book, “One Strong Voice, the history of the labor movement for registered nurses in Washington state” published just weeks before her death.
Barbara was a community leader, a strong supporter of women and LGBT rights, a Yachats Commissioner and City Council member, a CASA volunteer, and a Board member of Lincoln County Community Health Centers. She was always ready to support issues involving social justice.
Barbara and Bette Perman began their lives together in 1980 and were married in Yachats September 22, 2014, a day Barbara described as “the happiest day of my life”. Their relationship of nearly 40 years was filled with nursing, travel, dogs, friends and family.
Barbara is survived by her wife Bette; sister Carolyn Hainisch, nieces Deborah Hainisch, MaryAnn Thibault, Jennifer Frye, and nephew Tom Hainisch. She was predeceased by her brother Dennis Paul Frye.
Barbara and Bette’s families are grateful to everyone who came by for visits and help with rides, dog-care, yard work, meals and more. This is appreciated more than you could know. The staff at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Samaritan Pastega Cancer Center and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital Oncology & Infusion Centers also deserve recognition. They all provided excellent care during Barbara’s difficult illness.
A celebration of life will be held at the Yachats Commons on February 8, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A second celebration of Life will be held in Seattle on a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Barbara Frye Memorial Fund c/o the Washington State Nurses Foundation, 575 Andover park West, Ste. # 101, Tukwila, WA, 98188.