Barbara was born in Norfolk on June 15, 1945, to the late Arnold Eugene “Jack” Epling and Bessie Florence Blevins Lytle. She was raised by her late aunt and uncle, Beulah and Crocket Sarver, in Newport, Va,, on their farm in Clover Hollow. Her love and admiration for them was immense.
Barbara was preceded in death by her high school sweetheart and husband of 43-and-a-half years, George Thomas Witten; her brother Eddie Egbert Eugene Epling; a sister, Ermadean Epling Caldwell; and her beloved kitties, Mia, Tommy, and Max.
While working full time and being a mother of two small children, Barbara graduated from Radford University. After a long career as a kindergarten teacher at Riverlawn Elementary School, she retired in 2001 from the Pulaski County School System. She loved her students and felt it was important for a child’s first experiences in the classroom to be kind and loving. She devoted herself to instilling in the children a passion for learning and school. Mrs. Witten was loved by all her students and recognized long after retirement as a special lady.
Mom was the strongest woman we have ever known. Cherished lifelong friends Shannon Turner and Denise Bishop were an eternal presence in her life. Together they were teachers, raised their children, enjoyed their grandchildren, and spent countless hours after retirement together shopping and talking over lunch and dinners.
Barbara conquered many obstacles in life. Her strength and faith in God carried her and enabled her to survive multiple cancers, including breast cancer. Her husband George was her rock, and her children and grandchildren were her reason for living.
She is survived by her son, George Thomas “Tommy” Witten, Jr., and his wife, Pam Hixon Witten; and a daughter, Sheri Annette Witten Light, all of Fairlawn. Barbara is also survived by four grandchildren whom she cherished beyond words: Justin Scott Witten, owner of Ambush Sport Fishing in Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Justin Charles Light, a recent graduate of Iowa State University and employed by Deloitte in Charlotte, N.C.; Nicholas Whitman Light, a freshman at Auburn High School, and his sister, Mackenzie Grace Light, who is in the seventh grade at Auburn Middle School. They were what she cherished most and loved to spoil.
Also surviving are sister-in-law Beulah Link Epling of Newport; half-brother Harold N. Moore, Jr., of El Centro, Calif.; half-sister Michelle Diane Lytle Ruggles and her husband Scott of Hunting, W.Va.; and a cousin, Crocket Deanita Sarver Verbeck and her husband, retired Brigadier General Tom Verbeck of Burke, Va.
The family will receive friends from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, at the McCoy Funeral Home, 150 Country Club Drive, Blacksburg. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Interment will follow in the Newport Cemetery.