A wonderful mother.......


Those that attended our camp prior to 2010 surely remember my mother, “Nan”.  She made thousands upon thousands of her special chocolate chip cookies, helped in our kitchen, and headed up transportation for a few summers. She played in the camper-staff tennis tournaments and even won one year!  Her mirth, laughter, faith,  support of our ministry, dedication to her children and love of God were inspiring. I don’t know of anyone that knew her that did not love her.

For the past ten years Nan has battled Alzheimer’s disease and has not been able to return to the camp or enjoy a conversation with her children, grandchildren or friends. But today heaven is a happier place today and Nan is once again able to be with those she loved; she passed away a few days ago, surrounded by three of her daughters as they sang, prayed, loved and wept for her.


I can only hope to become half the self-sacrificing parent my mom was for me.  As I shared with my sons that she had passed, I realized that they had no recollection of their mothers or fond memories of them. They were unable to identify with my loss.  All three were given to the state by their mothers when they were quite young, and none of them know where their mom is or what she is doing. 


What a pity they did not have a mother like mine—one that taught me how to play tennis, hold my tongue, act like a gentleman and even control my temper.  She showed me how to behave in friend’s home, how to do what I did not want to do, but needed to do, and how to worship.   I am not saying that I have always followed her directives, but she did teach me and show me how to live.  Sometimes I got it right.


To this day I can still recall the feeling of how it grieved me to disappoint her!  She expected great things from all of us and demanded that we lived up to our God-given abilities and the privileges to which we were born.  To my knowledge she never asked for help but always was ready to give it. She was not one to gossip, but could quickly put the lid on it if her kids attempted to throw mud at others.  Never one to try to impress others and quite confident in who she was, she associated with others in our church and with neighbors who shared her understanding of humility; yet she  combined this  with a clear understanding that we are all marvelously made by a God who says we are precious and unique—she believed that we all have a purpose and value in God’s eyes.  


To a large extent, I entered the Christian ministry because of her ministry to me.  Within a few years of graduating from college, in fact, all three of her sons became ministers of the gospel. Her legacy lives on.  God blessed me and my siblings with a wonderful mother. 


  • Raynara Ortega

    Dear Dean , I m so sorry for your loss, I do remember your Mother quite well and she was a wonderful woman. I remember driving the big van and supervising many areas, remember her cookies and how she was always attending to your Dad. Mr. Barley. I know heaven is jus rejoicing to have her, I m sure she was happy to hear this words: “Well done, my hood and faithful servant”. I was also happy to learn though your blog that you’re a Father now and have been able to provide a Godly and safe heaven for your boys. My prayers are with you and your family. Please send my regards to your sister Betsy and everyone in your family. I am sending you a big hug and I hope you will continue yo carry on her legacy. God bless you. Love,


  • Mary

    Dean, I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of your precious mother. Thankful though that we know where she is and has a perfectly clear mind now to embrace her Savior and all her loved ones who’ve gone ahead of her on this eternal journey. Nan always had a warm smile and kind word for anyone who met her. I also remember her and Miss Edith enjoying many a chat on the porch swing at the front office. Their laughter as old friends was infectious. I am grateful that I got to meet your Mom.
    Mary Price

  • Angeline Mills

    Yes, you were blessed with a wonderful mother. Reading your message reminded me of a special week years ago when I served as a Camp Mom. I remember that your Mother shared information with such a careful, clear and cheerful attitude , I smile as I think of her. It also reminds me that I marveled to think of running a household of the size that your Mother did! She taught me alot that week and I am so thankful that I was blessed to know Mrs. Barley. Blessings as you remember and reflect on your memories, may God provide you assurance that your Mother was so thankful for you and your ministry. Angeline Mills

  • Juanita Shelton

    My Sincerest Sympathy for the passing of your loved one. Prayers for Peace and Comfort and God’s sustaining Grace during this difficult time.

  • Dana Hunt

    We send our sympathy and condolences on the death of your mother. She sounds like a wonderful mother and I know she was proud of you.
    Dana Hunt

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