Cover photo for Barbara J. McNee's Obituary
Barbara J. McNee Profile Photo

Barbara J. McNee

December 11, 1940 — April 28, 2024

Barbara J. McNee

Barbara Joan McNee passed away at the age of 83 on Sunday, April 28, 2024 in Post Falls, Idaho.  Admired and beloved for her kindness, patience, generosity, creativity, quiet resolve, and resilience, she is survived by her husband of 58 years, Joel, her sons, Scott and Malcolm, her daughters-in-law, Holly and Erotides, her grandchildren, Aaron, Carrie, and Derek, her younger sisters, Carolyn and Ginna, nieces and nephews, Kim, Ken, Mike, Jennifer, Jeff, and Deanna, and many grandnieces and grandnephews.
 
Barbara was born in 1940 in San Mateo, California to Dr. Kenneth White and Lillian Hildebrandt White, a dentist and teacher, respectively. She attended San José State University between 1958 and 1962. There, she was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and majored in elementary education and minored in art. In 1964, she attended a summer program for teachers at the University of Hawaii and lived in Honolulu for 3 months, which she often described as her great adventure. For 10 years she taught in public schools in Santa Clara, Reno -- where she set up one of Nevada's first public kindergarten classes -- and Santa Barbara.
 
In 1965, she married Joel McNee in Squaw Valley. Their connection dated back to when they were playmates at the age of 5, when Joel's grandmother lived next to Barbara's family in San Mateo. Her family moved to a new neighborhood, and they lost touch until Joel, following his service in the Navy, was visiting his grandmother and asked after Barbara. By coincidence, they were both living in Santa Clara. Their first date was a drive over the Santa Cruz mountains, the beginning of a lifelong love of taking scenic drives together. After marrying, they lived in Reno for 2 years before moving to Santa Barbara, where Joel attended photography school and Barbara taught for another 5 years. They started a family, with Scott born in 1968 and Malcolm in 1971, and they began together a successful wedding and portrait photography studio. She did re-touching and photo restoration work and worked as business manager for the studio.
 
In 1980, seeking adventure and a different lifestyle, Barbara moved with her family to Salmon, Idaho, where she and Joel opened a new business, Salmon River Photo Emporium, which included wedding and portrait photography and a camera store. They operated this business for 27 years. Barbara also worked in Salmon as a substitute teacher and then full-time for an accountant, learning computer skills, payroll procedures, and tax preparation. They retired in 2007 and moved to Hayden, Idaho, to be close to their son, Scott, and his family. Barbara continued to work part-time after their move, helping Joel to develop and operate a business selling prints of his wildlife and scenic photographs. For many seasons, they had a weekly booth at the Kootenai County Farmers' Market where they sold cards and matted and framed prints that Barbara put together from an archive of Joel's beautiful photos.
 
Barbara over her lifetime had many interests and talents. She loved animals and took care of countless dogs and cats, including her beloved Felix. She was an accomplished painter and enjoyed taking art classes with her granddaughter, Carrie. She made many beautiful quilts as gifts for her family. She enjoyed reading and swapping books with her sons and daughters-in-law. And she was a dedicated family historian, compiling into beautifully composed albums stories, photographs, memorabilia, and genealogical research, tracing ancestors on both sides back through many centuries. The archive of images, artifacts, and histories that she compiled is a tremendous gift and legacy that she leaves to her family. During her last weeks, she completed work on a final album, gathering memories and photos from her life as a young woman. To the end, she loved to reminisce and had an amazing memory and sharp intellect.
 
In 2019, Barbara and Joel moved to the Grove at Orchard Ridge, a retirement community in Coeur d'Alene. There, Barbara was dedicated to taking care of Joel, whose health had begun to suffer. In late 2023, with her own health in sharp decline due to a neuro-muscular illness, they moved to the Idaho Veterans Home, a beautiful new skilled nursing facility in Post Falls, where she received compassionate care, for which her family is tremendously grateful.

A private memorial is planned for Barbara at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the ALS Association at als.org  






To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara J. McNee, please visit our flower store.

Guestbook

Visits: 157

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree