Barbara Bolinger Mitchell

Barbara Bolinger Mitchell died on September 3, 2014 at her Palm Desert home after a valiant six-and-a-half-year battle with colorectal cancer. She was 68.

She was surrounded by family and friends she loved, and who loved her deeply. Typical of her spirit, throughout her long illness she fiercely powered through every situation and obstacle that confronted her.

he was born in Pomona on May 21, 1946 to Bob and Evalynn Bolinger and raised in Claremont. Her parents were onetime owners of the Village Grille and Casa Flores, and Mr. Bolinger served on the city’s planning commission.

As a youngster, Barbara enjoyed riding alone on horseback, often bareback, for hours at a time on the old McKenna Ranch, loving the total freedom and the wind in her hair. At Claremont High School, she was athletic, belonging to the Girls Athletic Association and playing a variety of sports with great energy. Her high school classmates remember her infectious laughter. She was a fun-loving, somewhat rebellious person who knew how to enjoy life. After the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, she was a lifelong rabid LA Dodger fan and once danced with Vin Scully in his broadcast booth.

After graduating from Claremont High School in 1964, she studied business at Arizona State for two years. She put her studies on hold when she married William Steiner of Claremont and started a family, but eventually received her associate’s degree in interior design. Throughout her long career as an interior designer, she served many real estate accounts nationwide. She held marketing positions with firms such as Technicolor Inc. and worked in the advertising industry producing print, radio and television campaigns.

Living her last 18 years in Palm Desert, she became an avid and able golfer as well as a delightful golfing partner, and was a valued contributor to the Avondale community. President of the Avondale Women’s Golf Club for two years, she organized many golfing and social events. She was known as the life of the party, and never missed a gathering if she could help it. Always enthusiastic, totally determined and committed to the task at hand, she was a member of the Club’s golf and house committees. When it came to redesigning facilities, choosing paint colors or selecting furniture, Barbara was the go-to person upon whom others depended for her creative leadership and decision-making skills.

“Even through the struggle with her cancer, she still gave 120 percent of herself in effort, until just recently, when she could finally give no more to her beloved Avondale,” family shared. “To know Barbara was to love her. She was a beautiful, vivacious and warm person who always contributed to the good humor of her surroundings. She was quick to laugh, quick-witted and fun to be around. She will be missed by her world of relatives and friends who knew and loved her.”

She was predeceased by her husband Jay Mitchell, who died in 2011. She is survived by her sister, Jane Bolinger Reed (John) of Los Altos; by her brother, Bill Bolinger (Ann) of Fallbrook; by her son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Nicole Steiner of Cave Creek, Arizona, with grandsons Brenden, Jackson and Greyson; by her daughter and son-in-law, Mindy and Patrick Green of Huntington Beach, with granddaughters Samantha and Jaylene. She also leaves her nieces, Robyn Reed of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Heidi Reed of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, her adopted brother Terry Stratton of Carmel Valley and former husbands William Steiner of Fullerton and Richard Rakes of Palm Desert.

A celebration of Barbara Mitchell’s life will be held on January 11, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. at the Avondale Country Club, 75800 Avondale Dr. Palm Desert.
Per Barbara’s wishes, in lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to support Dr. Lawrence Leichman’s oncology research at NYU Langone Medical Center. Go online to, then select “GI Cancer Research Fund” from the dropdown menu. Click the button for “In honor or memory of someone” and type “Barbara Mitchell.” You may also send a check made out to the NYU Langone Medical Center addressed to NYU Langone Medical Center Office of Development, attn. Jeff Hudson, One Park Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Note: Dr. Leichman’s research, in honor of Barbara Mitchell.

To help improve the Avondale that Barbara loved, send (non-tax-deductible) donations to Avondale Golf Club, Barbara Mitchell Special Projects Fund, 75-800 Avondale Dr., Palm Desert, CA 92211.


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