Barbara Heavenston

Mother, friend, world traveler

Barbara Jane Palmer Heavenston of Claremont, a resident of Mt. San Antonio Gardens, died Saturday, March 16, 2013. She was 86.

Mrs. Heavenston was born June 10, 1926 in Upland, California to Donovan and Doris Palmer. She graduated from Chaffey High School and Pomona College. She and Don Heavenston were married on July 2, 1954. For many years, the couple owned and operated a Mobil Oil distributorship in Pomona. After her husband’s death in 1977, Mrs. Heavenston continued running the business alongside their son, Bill Heavenston.

Mrs. Heavenston enjoyed playing violin in the Claremont Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years. In retirement, she participated in the Claremont Golf Course Women’s Golf Club and volunteered with the Red Cross and Harvey Mudd College.

Joyce Sokolowski is one of the many friends who bonded with Mrs. Heavenston over games of golf.

“Barbara added a lot to a lot of people’s lives,” she said. “She enjoyed her life.”

She was an enthusiastic traveler, who toured through Europe and Scandinavia and enjoyed getaways in Hawaii with her husband. Later, she visited with family in far-flung locations ranging from Oregon to Texas and from Poland to Japan. Several years ago, she undertook a tour of the Panama Canal, another cherished memory.

Mrs. Heavenston was also an avid reader and was especially fond of biographies, autobiographies and travel books, which she devoured when preparing for a trip abroad. Later, when her eyesight had deteriorated due to macular degeneration, she enjoyed many recorded books courtesy of the Braille Institute.

Diane Briner shared a long and dear friendship with Mrs. Heavenston, which began when the 2 women joined the Claremont Symphony in 1967. Ms. Briner was a violinist as well and so they became stand-mates.

Their friendship revolved around their shared love of music, with Mrs. Heavenston and Mrs. Briner regularly heading out to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic or take in a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. They also shared many games of golf and many picnics.

“Everyone should be so lucky to have such a friend,” Mrs. Briner said. “She had a great sense of humor, she was adventuresome and music was so much a part of our lives. We had so many good years together.”

Mrs. Heavenston’s family would like to thank hospice and the staff of the Lodge and the Health Center at Mount San Antonio Gardens for the love and care given to their mother.

Mrs. Heavenston was preceded in death by her husband, Don. She is survived by her children, Martha (Senri) Nojima of Shimabara, Japan; Bill (Debra) Heavenston of Seal Rock, Oregon; Nancy (Randy) Alexis of Austin, Texas and Phil (Rose) Heavenston of Kailua Kona, Hawaii. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Laurie (Matt) Zink of Austin, Texas and Stephen (Justyna) Alexis of Austin, Texas, as well as her great-grandchildren, Adam Alexis and Jordyn, Penelope and Carson Zink; by her sister Peggy (Jim) Colman of Claremont; and by her nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Mrs. Heavenston’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mt. San Antonio Gardens Health Center, 900 E. Harrison Ave., Pomona, CA 91767.




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