August 9, 1949 – October 15, 2022
Barbara Fulton said many times, “I’ve had a great life.” She passed peacefully in her sleep on October 15.
Barbara’s indomitable spirit led her on adventures unknown to the average soul. She never met a stranger and made friends with people wherever she went. She was bold, outspoken, and charming in equal measures, frequently beginning conversations with lines like, “This is McGee. Isn’t he the most handsome dog you’ve ever seen?” Irresistible, she would proceed to recruit Lopezians to share their house on the Lopez Island Community Center’s Home Tour.
Barb was a native Washingtonian, born and raised in Edmonds with her three siblings. She received her BA from Central Washington University.
Armed with fierce independence, she left home and country, and her travels encircled the globe. She immigrated to Australia where she was employed at the University of Sydney.
When Barbara returned to Washington, she met the love of her life Ralph Bladt. They were together for more than 40 years. They were a professional couple and enjoyed many trips together and socialized with a large circle of friends. She worked at the University of Washington in Physics, Chemistry, Fisheries, and Psycho-Social Nursing.
She made friends which led to the formation of an informal bike group. They made yearly bike trips both in the U.S, and Europe. She developed into an avid biker often doing century rides and mountain passes. Six years ago, Barb and Ralph enjoyed a wonderful bike trip through Holland with the same old group of friends from the comfort of a canal boat.
Barbara was a devoted and loyal friend. We joke that she had a “steel trap” memory for details about her friends’ lives. She could be in conversation and retrieve a story shared years before with astounding clarity. Her curiosity about the people she cared about was vast and endearing.
Her favorite childhood pastime was riding her horse, Shannon. She had a way with horses and was proud of it.
Barbara and Ralph retired to their dream home on Lopez Island in 2006. It was a special home custom designed and built for them. They threw many dinner parties and family get-togethers there. Together they enjoyed many travels and adventures, including skiing trips with their friend Vicky. They also loved their beloved cats, including the effervescent Catia who used to sit in her own chair at the dinner table. Their dogs owned their hearts, especially their beloved McGee, and more recently sweet Jack.
On Lopez Island, Barbara was very involved in community activities, serving as a member of the Lopez Island Center for Community and the Arts and helping organize the Home Tour. For years she served as a monitor for the Bureau of Land Management, counting cars and people and chocolate lilies as part of the effort to secure a National Monument. She served on the San Juan County Parks Board for several years. She was an avid reader in her spare time and enjoyed her book group along with her weekly poker games.
Barbara is survived by her husband, Ralph Bladt, and her siblings, Bill Fulton, Mary Corey, and her husband Mike; and Irene Marble, and her husband Steve. She has two nieces, Katie and Sarah; two nephews, Christopher and Thomas; a great-nephew Connor, and a great-niece Makenna. Sadly, Barbara was predeceased by her sister-in-law Deryn Fulton and her nephew, Michael Corey, who died serving as an honorable member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Barb’s spark and unique spirit will be sorely missed. Her brother Bill summed her up with four simple words: “Barbara just did it.”
Please sign Barb’s online guest book at obituaries.seattletimes.com.
A celebration of life will be held for Barbara at the Community Center on Lopez Island on November 19 at 2:00 pm.