Barbara Heath Killins, died peacefully in her sleep November 21 at the age of 100. Born in 1918 to Homer and May Heath of Ann Arbor Michigan, Barbara and her family had close ties to the University of Michigan. Both parents graduated in the Class of 1907. Homer Heath was an outstanding collegiate high jumper who started the M Club and built the Michigan Union.
Barbara attended U of Michigan where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi social sorority. She graduated from the university in 1939. She married David Killins, a 1940 grad of U of M. David served in WWII, and was honorably discharged from the US Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. As an undergraduate, David was a member of Phi Delta Theta, and was a member of the University President’s Club, giving financial support to the university. The family owned the Killins Gravel Company which supplied the concrete for the Michigan Stadium and many of the buildings on the Michigan campus.
Barbara, known as Bar to her friends, made her career as a teacher and raised two sons, David Alexander Killins III and Thomas H. Killins. Career moves took the family to San Francisco in the late 1940s, then to Florida in 1972. Bar was active in politics and was a leader in her sorority alumnae club throughout her life.
Bar’s sons both lived in Mesquite, Nevada, for a period, and she moved to Mesquite to be near family when she was nearly 90. Always an avid bridge player, during her years in Mesquite she
sought out bridge playing opportunities and also made contact with other Pi Beta Phi members in the city. She organized monthly luncheons with those sorority sisters, Lenora Hutchins, Mary Walsh, Linda Faas, and Shirley Ward. She loved Mesquite and her Nevada friends as much as anywhere she had ever lived.
Bar left Mesquite in 2012 after the death of her older son David, moving back to Florida where she was looked after by her younger son, Tom. Their Ft Lauderdale home was pounded by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the third such storm Bar weathered over her years in Florida.
Tom organized a lively 100th birthday celebration for Bar on February 21, 2018. About twenty friends gathered to salute Bar and reminisce many happy times she had shared with her guests and relatives. She enjoyed every minute of her party, her sharp memory recalling significant personal events as she browsed the dozens of greeting cards she received, including congratulations from the governors of Florida and Michigan.
Diminished mobility plagued Bar in her final year, but she continued to correspond with Mesquite friends, and received visitors at her home up to her final day.