Barbara Sevier

Barbara Sevier

Virginia Kaufman

History was made at Cumberland County Hospital in Crossville, Tennessee on December 17, 1956, when Barbara Marie Sevier and her sister were born. They share the distinction of being the first pair of twins delivered at that facility. Their father was in Military Intelligence with the U.S. Army while their mother stayed home with her two young children. Barbara's parents had met while working together in the Pentagon. Her family was transferred to Germany when Barbara was just three months old and they didn't return to the States again for nearly three years. As a result, Barbara's first spoken language was German. The family settled in Baltimore and stayed for several years. At the age of seven, Barbara's Mom passed away and her Dad became a single parent. There was a bright moment in this sad time when hearing of her family's loss, Bob Gaudio, the 4 Seasons band member who wrote "Sherry," presented Barbara and her sister with their first Barbie dolls. When she was eight, duty called and the family of three returned again to Germany where they lived until Barbara was ten. Eventually, they returned to Crossville.

Her very early years of school (having started first grade at age 5) were spent in Germany and elementary school was completed in the States. She took English courses through Tennessee Technological University as a high school senior and graduated from Crossville High School in 1974. Barbara planned to continue her college education, and had even set her sights on Cottey College in Missouri, but her family chose not to support her in this dream. As an adult, Barbara managed to finally complete her studies and following a switch from Accounting, graduated from UAF with an Associate's Degree in Business Administration.

As a young woman, Barbara and her sister received some sage advice from their Great Aunt Mattie. She said that they could do or be anything they wanted. For a time, Barbara was tempted by the thought of pursuing a career as a Dietitian, but unlike her sister, whose interests and career took many turns over the years, Barbara stayed the course, married, worked and grew a family. She does, however, come from strong stock. Their 5th Great Grandfather was the first governor of Tennessee and she recently learned Utah has an entire county named Sevier!

Barbara's first job (her father forbade his daughters to work while under his roof) was as a cashier at Zayre Department Store in Falls Church, Virginia. By then, she was married with a son, Jeremy. When that marriage ended, she found herself being transferred back to Germany with her second husband who was in the military. While there, she secured a position at the Post Exchange that eventually led to work as a Civil Service employee for the Commissary. This pattern of employment repeated itself following a relocation to Ft. Wainwright from Germany. Barbara was at Ft. Wainwright from 1981-84 before leaving for Ft. Carson, Colorado with her family, which now included a daughter, Michelle. She worked there for two years. Although this marriage lasted over a decade, the continued military separations and other circumstances forced a mutual decision to end the union. At that point, Barbara took back her maiden name and resolved to NEVER walk down the aisle again! In 1986, she and her two children proceeded to move back to Alaska and they've been here ever since. Fortunately, she was able to resume Civil Service employment where she rose to become the Inventory Management Specialist for the Fort Wainwright Commissary Central Distribution Center. She retired from there in April of 2012.

Barbara's son, who lives in the North Pole area, has given her a step-grandson and Michelle, who lives in the Fairbanks area, has provided her with three more grandkids. She has also been blessed with a great-grandson, with whom she is very close.

A couple of years before retiring from Civil Service, Barbara started working as a mystery shopper and merchandizer for local businesses. Though she has cut back a bit in recent years, she continues to work this job and doesn't anticipate stopping anytime soon since this is something she really enjoys.

Barbara joined Santa's Seniors in 2009 and was elected to the Board in 2012. She continues to serve as a Director following her term as Board Secretary in 2014-15. One can always tell if Barbara Sevier is at the Center by reading the license plates in the parking lot. A dead giveaway for a "Barbara Sighting" is her vanity plate that reads, "Koalas." I asked her about the significance of this and was told that when she was eight and hospitalized with her appendix, someone gave her a stuffed koala and she has loved then ever since. She even traveled to Australia in 1988 just to hold one!

When Barbara isn't opening the Center for members and visitors, selling raffle tickets (she is our Primary Signatory on our Gaming Permit), bustling around during special events and attending most regularly scheduled affairs, she sets aside a few hours to offer her time as a at the Mining Museum each Tuesday, as a Tanana Valley Master Gardener and as a Board Member for the Friends of the North Pole Branch Library. Barbara is an avid OLLI Class participant, a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an avid reader, a gardener and a card/board game enthusiast.

Asked what she believed to be her greatest strength, Barbara would have to agree that it is her willingness to help. As for her weakness, it would have to be her tendency to procrastinate. She has, in her own opinion, taken this to an extreme at times, and this flaw has delayed many of her personal goals. I have it on good authority from One Who Knows Barbara and they agree 100% with her assessment. Barbara affirms she is working on making changes and promises to get around to it....someday.

Barbara shared her pet peeve is being second guessed, which she interprets both as a complete waste of her time and as an insult. So, if you ask her opinion or direction in a matter and receive an answer from Barbara, please don't turn to the closest person with the same question.

If Barbara had the ability to see into the future of Santa's Seniors, she'd most likely observe additional organizational and facility changes that would include other renovations and some storage expansion. She is pleased with the modifications that have put in place since the first of the year to make the Center more enjoyable to members and visitors alike.

As Benjamin Franklin said in 1706: "If you want something done, ask a busy person." Truer words have never been spoken and we're truly fortunate to have members like Barbara who work out front and behind the scenes on our behalf on a nearly daily basis.

Interview by Francie Cork. Photo by Santa's Seniors.

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