Our beautiful mother, Barbara Royal, passed away Feb. 8, 2020, in Lynnwood, Washington, at the age of 87. Barbara was born June 29, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Barbara was raised early on by her beloved grandparents, Nathan and Elizabeth Ricks, and later in her childhood by her mother, Luella Ricks, and loving stepfather Ferdinand Jorgensen. At the age of 16, Barbara moved to Washington DC with her dear uncle Carl and his wife Ruthann, who had taken her under their wing. She was always very proud of the fact that she was the youngest person to have ever worked in the US Patent Office. She returned to Salt Lake City and married her first love Nick Royal in 1950, who she was married to for 67 years until his death in 2017. Together they raised three children, Paul, Nikki, and Ellen. Barbara married into a Greek family, and though not Greek herself, learned how to cook and bake delicious Greek meals and desserts, learned about Greek heritage, and embraced and became quite devout in the Greek Orthodox faith. Barbara and Nick were known for their “nomadic” natures, and lived in many different places in the country, including various places in Utah, as well as New Jersey, California, and Washington state. They enjoyed experiencing different parts of the country, and especially enjoyed overseas trips to Greece and England. Barbara was known for her organizational skills and careful logic at work and could always be counted on for a job well done. She held jobs mostly doing clerical/office work and retired from the federal government as a customer services supervisor at the GSA in 1994.
Barbara became very interested in her family’s background in the early 2000s and began the process of researching her family history. She compiled an amazing collection of photographs, stories and her own recollections that uncovered a rich legacy telling a fascinating story of the Ricks family. It’s an incredible gift to her children and grandchildren and future generations.
Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009. She never let it get her down and became very interested in helping others with the disease by creating support groups in the cities where she lived. She would advertise, arrange for meeting spaces, consult with members of the medical community to book speakers, as well as reach out to individuals to lend support whenever she could. The groups she created are still active in their communities.
After Nick died in 2017, Barbara moved back to Washington to live near her youngest daughter Ellen in Seattle. There she lived in an assisted living community where she made many close friends before her Parkinson’s symptoms required she move to an adult family home.
Barbara will be remembered for her love of family, her love of God, and her ability to make friends easily wherever she was.
Barbara leaves behind her son Paul Royal; daughter Nikki Dees and son-in-law Gene Dees; and daughter Ellen Royal-Ward and son-in-law Gregg Ward. She is also survived by her many wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved so very much. Barbara is also survived by her brother Wesley Tanner. She was preceded in death by her father James Lynn Tanner, mother Luella Ricks, son John Royal, grandson Michael Royal, and great-granddaughter Taylor Leuk.
A funeral service honoring her life will be held at St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church, 9201 S. 1300 East, Sandy, Utah, at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. A night viewing will take place at Tate Mortuary, 110 S. Main St., in Tooele, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, from 6 to 8 p.m. Interment will be in the Tooele City Cemetery, 361 S. 100 East. The family would like to thank all the healthcare workers who helped Barbara in the last several months, including those at With a Little Help, Merrill Gardens, and especially Lola Bella Care. These people showed such love and compassion in caring for our mom. We are so grateful for their kindness.
May her memory be eternal.