July 5, 2012
Breast cancer fought a brave battle with Rachel Ruth Barak, needing to call in multiple reinforcements over the eight years it took to defeat her on July 5, 2012. She passed away peacefully, on her own terms, at Lake Winona Manor, surrounded by the people she loved the most.
Rachel was born March 11, 1944, and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She married her high school sweetheart, Edward Barak, on March 13, 1965, and lived a 47-year honeymoon with him. They had three children. The family moved to Winona in 1972.
Rachel threw herself whole-heartedly into everything she did, whether it was her faith, her work, raising her family, her innumerable friendships, or her volunteer work. Everyone she encountered felt her energy and her love of life, and she left everyone she met feeling happier for their encounter with her. She was always busy, and loved birds, crossword puzzles, baking, taking walks around the lake, her friends in the Ribbon Warriors cancer support group, and her volunteer work cleaning the aviary and delivering the mail at Winona Health. Holiday meals prepared for her family were filled with love, way too much food, and constant laughter. Even as cancer took away her health, it could never touch her indomitable spirit.
More than anything, the love of her family meant everything to Rachel. She was preceded in death by her parents, George and June Sinjakovic. She is survived and missed greatly by her husband, Ed, her children: Joellen Barak, Scott (Candy) Barak, and Dean Barak, her grandchildren: Chloe and Lucas Barak, Joshua and Kelsey Smaby, Scott Miller and Crystal (Joel) Story, and great-grandchildren Shylynn and Branndon Story. Also deeply loved and missed by her sisters, Sandi (Butch) Pahman and Barbara (Ray) Bopp, her parents-in-law, Val and Helen Barak, many nieces and nephews, good friend Joan Brown, and her fellow “Ribbon Warriors.”
The family would like to thank Dr. Ferris, Angie and Shannon, and all of the wonderful staff at Winona Health who took such good care of her, and took the time to let her know they cared. Diane Passehl and the rest of the Ribbon Warriors were an invaluable source of friendship and support.
Rachel’s life will be celebrated with a gathering from 3 - 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at Hoff Funeral & Cremation Service – Hansen Goodview Chapel, with a brief service at 6 p.m., led by Pastor Mark Dumke. Private family burial will take place at Oakland Cemetery in Minnesota City. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Ben and Adith Miller Patient Care Fund, the Winona Health Foundation, or the donor’s choice.
Please share a memory of Rachel, sign her online guestbook and view her video tribute when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com.