Barbara Ann Kovalik passed away peacefully on September 11, 2020, from illnesses following a fall.
She will be remembered at a Funeral Mass on October 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace in Hoboken NJ. To view the live stream of the Funeral Mass, please visit Youtube.com and type Barbara Kovalik in the search bar. The cremation and interment will be private.
Barbara was born in Cleveland in 1936, to Anna and Michael Olle. She grew up on the West Side with three siblings: Ray, Carole, and Michael. Anna passed on a deep Catholic faith that Barbara retained her whole life, and also shared with Barbara a love of reading. Barbara was a lifetime Cleveland Indians fan and saw them win the 1948 World Series. She graduated from Lourdes Academy and Notre Dame College and then bravely moved to New York City to earn her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. She loved her time there, made lifelong friends, and saw many iconic Broadway shows. She returned to Cleveland to work with Catholic Charities and other groups, with adoptive and foster children. Engineer Albert Kovalik was a persistent suitor, and they married on a very hot day in August 1965. Barbara later gave up social work to care for her family as Al’s jobs took them all over the world. They drove across the country to San Francisco, California, with their first dog, Missy. They later lived in Argentina, where they learned Spanish, lived with the locals, and traveled extensively. Al and Barbara then returned to Cleveland to have two much-loved children—Susan in 1974 and David in 1975. After a short time in Houston, Barbara agreed in 1980 to move to Saudi Arabia for Al’s job. It wasn’t always easy to live so far from family and friends, but Barbara made the most of her opportunities to travel around the world. Following their time in Saudi Arabia, interrupted by one year in London, they returned to their home in Lakewood, Ohio, in 1985. Barbara spent a lot of time with her family and friends, sang with the funeral choir at St. Luke Church, and loved to garden. She and her friend Therese Kren were volunteer ushers at Playhouse Square, and Barbara was active at Magnificat and St. Ignatius High Schools. She worked at Rocky River Public Library’s circulation desk and loved recommending books to patrons. She and Al were devoted to their children and followed them in their travels around the U.S. and to Asia and Europe. They were regularly seen around Lakewood walking their beloved collies. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a trip to Australia. Barbara cared devotedly for Al when he developed Alzheimer’s, and in 2012 they moved to Washington DC, to be near Susan and her husband Chris Tully, and David and his wife Barbara Harris. In DC Barbara attended daily Mass at Annunciation Parish and enjoyed the support of Friends Club. Al passed away in 2016 just after their 51st anniversary. In early 2020 she moved to Rutherford, NJ, to live with Susan and Chris. Friends all over the world remember her bright smile, strong faith, and cheerful demeanor. We take comfort in knowing that she is in heaven with God and reunited with Al. She is survived by her children, their spouses, and her siblings Michael (Carolyn) and Carole Doerner (Dan). She was preceded in death by her brother Ray (Lorene).
The family asks that donations be made to the Midwest Jesuits in support of the work of Fr. Gene Hattie, to support the orphanage he founded in Uganda. Donations may be made in her memory at www.jesuitsmidwest.org or sent to Midwest Jesuits, PO Box 6713, Carol Stream, IL 60197-6713. Please note that donations are for Fr. Hattie.