Barbara Walls Wilson Westerhouse, age 80 of Manassas, VA died at her residence on May 6, 2019. She was a Folk Singer, Actress, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Chorister.
She was born on March 13, 1939 in Reading, PA, daughter of the late Kenneth Alden Wilson and Grace Walls Wilson.
Barbara Wilson grew up in Cumberland, MD and at the third grade, her family moved to Currituck, NC where her father worked and where she graduated from Moyock High School. She continued her education at East Carolina College, graduating with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught briefly in Winston-Salem, NC and they pursued a career as a folk singer throughout NC and surrounding areas. She was an actress with the Barn Dinner Theatre chain throughout the south east and was featured in multiple productions of plays and musicals.
She met her husband Jim Westerhouse at the Barn Dinner Theatre in Greensboro, NC on New Year’s Eve, 1965, when she joined the cast to take over a role of another actress who was leaving the production. Jim was the music director for the production and when they finished the run at Greensboro, they travelled to Atlanta for another month’s run of the show.
After finishing the show in Atlanta, Barbara went on to Williamsburg, VA, where she was an actress at the Wedgewood Dinner Theatre and a guide and folk singer for Colonial Williamsburg. In the meantime, Jim had gone back to New York to put together another show for the dinner theatre chain. He opened the show in Richmond, VA, and while there Jim and Barbara resumed their relationship. This time resulted in a proposal and culminated in their marriage which took place on July 29, 1967, in Winston-Salem, NC, where her parents were living. They returned to Richmond where Jim was enrolled at Richmond Professional Institute (RPI, now VCU) and Barbara began her teaching career in Chesterfield County, VA, while Jim was in school. After finishing school, Jim obtained a teaching position in Fairfax County, VA and they moved to Manassas, VA with their young son, James, Jr., and Barbara began her teaching career in Prince William County.
While living in Manassas, Jim became the organist and choir director at Trinity Episcopal Church for seven years and the director of the Manassas Choral Society in 1973-1974. Barbara sang with both ensembles and was a frequent soloist at church. In 1976, Jim began graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, and while there he and Barbara both sang with the U of MD Chorus under Dr. Paul Traver. While with the chorus, they sang with the National Symphony under Antal Dorati at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Tray Park and Carnegie Hall. A highlight of their chorus experience was to sing for the dedication of the nave of the National Cathedral attended by President Gerald Ford and Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Barbara continued teaching in Prince William Co., where their second son John was born and Jim moved on to Fauquier Co, VA, where he was a string orchestra teacher. While there, he was the organist/choir director for St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton and later for Piedmont Parish churches in Delaplane, VA. During this time Barbara had roles as a singer/actress in productions of the Fauquier County Community Theatre and the Middleburg Players as well as a soloist in Sacred Music concerts given by the respective church choirs.
Barbara and Jim both retired from teaching in 1994 and they opened Premier Music Center in Manassas where Barbara was Office Administrator. Jim became organist/choir director at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Haymarket, VA and Barbara joined the choir there. They later joined All Saints Catholic Church where Barbara was a singer in the church choir. Jim became the organist at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in 2009, when they closed Premier Music Center and they have been active in music at Holy Trinity Catholic Church until the present.
Survivors include her husband James H. Westerhouse, SR of Manassas, VA; sons James H Westerhouse JR and wife Allison and children Brianna, Brennan and Brittany of Mechanicsville, VA and John Alden Westerhouse and wife Sarah and son Alden Westerhouse of Culpeper, VA; her brother Kenneth A. Wilson, JR and wife Karen and their daughter and husband Kelly Wilson Miller and Andy Miller of Ashburn, VA; a brother in law Ronald Westerhouse and wife Margie of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; a sister in law Carolyn Muthig of Brillion, Wisconsin and by numerous cousins and friends.
The family will receive friends at Pierce Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 9609 Center Street, Manassas, VA on Thursday, May 16,2019 from 6-8 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 8213 Linton Hall Road, Gainesville on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 1:30 PM. Private interment at Culpeper National Cemetery.