11/25/1944 - 03/06/2024
Interment: Montrose, Colorado

Barbara Lynn Williams, 79, of Scottsdale, AZ, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2024, after battling for many years with Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders.

Barbara taught her daughters the importance of appropriate etiquette. As evidence of this, the first portion below will follow standard practice for an obituary, including a brief synopsis of her life events. Following that, will be proof that she also instilled independence and a great sense of humor in her daughters as well.  

Barbara was the first of four daughters born to Joe H. Baldwin and Arlene Reisher. Her birth occurred in Cortez, CO, sometime in late November in either 1944 or 1945. Specificity is difficult. Her mother swore she was born on the 22nd while her birth certificates reflect the 25th.  To further complicate the matter, one of the certified birth certificates reports her birth year to be 1945.  The complexity of her birth record may have been an early indication that her life would defy the norms of the times.

In Barbara’s early years, her family lived in California, Utah, and Colorado and she graduated from Cortez High School in 1962.  Barbara married Joe A. Williams in 1965, and they had their first child, Christine, who they nicknamed Krickette, a year later in Grandy, CO.  The family moved to Durango, CO, in 1968, just before the birth of their second daughter, Anisa in 1969.

1972 was a turning point in Barbara’s life, when she acquired her real estate license. This accomplishment marked when she discovered her life’s passion and purpose and “Business Barbara” was born.

The family moved to Gillette, WY, in 1974, where Barbara continued her work in the real estate industry. After working for the Coulter Agency for a few years, she and a few friends struck out on their own and founded The Real Estate Exchange, featuring Barbara Williams Brokerage.  She was very active in the Wyoming Association of Realtors and served as the association president in 1982. Barbara also served her community as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. Her dedication to community involvement and problem-solving led to her working with local business partners to identify a way to meet the housing needs of people working in the coal mines in Campbell County, WY, resulting in the founding of Wright, WY.

In 1986, Barbara and her daughters moved to Scottsdale, AZ. Barbara continued her work by leading the development efforts at a local engineering firm during the real estate boom of the mid-80’s. Barbara was the only civilian on a committee to merge the mapping systems of all the national governmental agencies. These efforts were the origin of the Global Positioning System (GPS) that we all rely on today.

Barbara’s next endeavor was working at the Arizona Department of Commerce leading the work of forming the Arizona Housing Commission and the Arizona Department of Housing. After initiating these organizational changes, Barbara transferred to the Department of Housing where she spent years dedicated to affordable housing efforts and ensuring fair housing both in Arizona and across the county. She received several commendations from the Governor of Arizona, including recognition of her efforts on the Housing Commission, the Governors Affordable Housing Task Force and her support of Fair Housing efforts.

Over the years Barbara has served in the Wyoming and Arizona Republican Committees, as well as the Republican National Committee. She was an elector in the electoral colleges for President Richard Nixon in 1970, President Ronald Regan in 1981, and George Walker Bush in 1989. 

Barbara’s life took a different direction in 1993 after a car accident resulted in a severe back injury and she was forced to step back from the professional life she had created.  Yet, even in these circumstances she remained steadfast in her commitment to civic engagement. She served on the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care, was a member of the Scottsdale Housing Board, and filled several leadership roles in her HOA among other things.  No matter the role, she was able to fill throughout her professional life, she was loved and appreciated for her commitment to making things better than she found them.

To family, friends, neighbors and community, Barbara was an example of courage and fierce independence, unwavering commitment to community service, steadfast dedication to family, and the source of unconditional (and sometimes tough) love for her daughters and five grandchildren.

Barbara was predeceased by her parents Joe H. and Arlene Baldwin, and sister Constance Iverson. She is survived by her sisters Charlene Unrein and Marsha Vanderpool, her daughters, Christine ‘Krickette’ Wetherington and Anisa Jo Beeman, and her grandchildren, Daniel J. Anderson, Jordan S. McGahee, Haylie B. McGahee, Kaidyn A. Beeman and Noah E. Wetherington.

A note from her daughters:

We are proud to be Barbara Williams’ daughters. She was the OG Influencer, always creating her own path and leading the way.

Our mother’s professional accomplishments were many and yet, her most significant legacy continues to grow from all that she gave to us.  Her life instilled in each of us a deep dedication to family, the strength to endure difficult times, gratitude for what we have, and the capacity to love one another. The best way to know that her legacy continues is through the way we strive to live our lives every day. Some of the life lessons she taught us are: stockings are the best part of Christmas; morning; follow your gut; love your sister; share what you have with others; travel & be able to carry your own baggage; one can successfully combine work and pleasure; never lose your sense of humor; no harm in asking for a better price; if you find something you really like, buy more than one; matching  towels matter; always speak your truth and defend the rights of others to do the same; success comes in many ways; VOTE!!; know when to stand your ground; participate in your community; be patient – institutional change takes about 10 years; and how to be a mom. We will greatly miss her and will do our best to live up to the example she set for us.


Barbara will be laid to rest in Montrose, CO, in June.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to worthy not-for-profit organizations in her honor.  Suggestions include: Keys to Change (formerly the Human Services Campus), because she worked to make the Human Services Campus a reality and everyone deserves a home; an animal shelter of your choice because she loved her dogs, who over the last several years brought her purpose and companionship; or to an organization that her life inspired you to care about.


  • Karla Houghtalin

    What a beautiful tribute to a successful and capable woman. How lucky to be raised by her. Our family shares our deepest condolences and love for you all. We hope you find peace and comfort during this time of grief.

  • Brandi Phillips

    Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Your mom definitely instilled many qualities of love and business to you both. What a beautiful tribute to her. Wishing you comfort and peace during this difficult time. We love you and are here if you need anything.

  • Was a great cousin. She was always there for her family. She will be missed by many.

  • What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. I would say you 2 ladies are her greatest accomplishment! Strong and capable and thoughtful beyond measure. Prayers and love during this difficult time.

  • Such a beautiful tribute! Your Mom really did live a full accomplished life. I have no doubt your Mom continues to be so proud of the amazing women she raised! Hugs & peace ✌️ my friends!

  • Blessings and peace upon all Barbara’s loved ones!!! Beautiful tribute! She was truly a mover and shaker, and she made a difference❤️

  • Alison Vallenari

    What a beautiful tribute to your lovely momma. So proud she must be of you!

  • It was a great privilege to know and work with Barbara. She was a force to be reckoned with and was so influential in the development of the Maricopa Human Services campus. She was fierce, truthful and always knew how and where to lead. A great woman that I am sad to see has left us so soon. My prayers to Krickette, all the daughters and grandchildren for God’s Comfort to surround you!

  • Haylie McGahee

    I will miss my grandma with my whole heart. I’m so thankful for all the things she taught me and all the memories I have with her. She was a force of nature and the proof is with the great legacy she has left behind.

  • Penny Allee Taylor

    Barbara was an inspiration to so many on so many levels: faith, family, friends, community, and career. So much to admire. She left a legacy that you all will carry, treasure, and share with generations to come. Love to the entire family during this difficult time💐

  • God bless Aunt Barb and her family

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