Barbara Jean Gaddis Knox

February 23, 2018
KNOX, Barbara Jean Gaddis
Barbara Jean Gaddis Knox
April 27, 1933 to February 23, 2018
Barbara Jean Gaddis Knox was born in Muncie, Indiana on April 27, 1933. Her parents were Gail T. Gaddis and Hazel Dennis Gaddis. She had one brother, Tom Gaddis, born in 1937 and who pre-deceased her in 2008. In 1941, when Barbara was 8, the family moved about 25 miles from Muncie to Hazel's grandparent's farm, near Losantville. There, they helped Hazel's grandparents run the farm. In addition, Gail taught school as an industrial arts instructor and Hazel returned to teaching, as well. While living on the farm, Barbara learned to drive tractors, gather eggs every day, feed chickens and pigs, help with processing milk and even help prepare and clean fresh chickens.
Hazel moved to Arizona in 1946 due to her failing health. Gail, Barbara and Tom followed, moving to Phoenix in 1947. Barbara went to North High School at age 14, which was a huge change from Losantville, where there were only 51 students in all grades! At age 15, the family moved to Chandler, where she attended Chandler High School. (Their house still stands across Arizona Avenue from CHS.) At CHS, she met many people, including her future husband, Norman Knox. She enjoyed many activities at school; band, tennis, student government, acting in plays, horseback riding and dances every Saturday night. She attended Girl's State her senior year and was an alternate for National Girl's State. While at Girl's State, Barbara met another lifelong friend, Mary Louise Roberson, who is also a Kappa Sister.
After graduating from CHS in 1951, 4th in her class, Barbara started college at Colorado Women's College (now a part of Denver University) and graduated there with her Associate's Degree in 1953. While there, she met several women who remained lifelong friends, including Jennie Lea Pedicord Moore. While at CWC, she earned the nickname "Gabby" Gaddis, and anyone who knew her will know it was well-deserved. While at CWC, Barbara continued dating Norman and they always got together when their college schedules allowed them.
Following CWC, Barbara enrolled at the University of Arizona, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She took summer classes to allow her to graduate early and she started teaching at the William's Air Force Base Elementary School right after graduation. Barbara thought this was a great move as Norman had proposed to her in the fall of 1954 and she wanted to start out married life already having a job! While at the U of A, Barbara continued making lifelong friends and was very active in campus life, including joining the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which she remained active in the rest of her life, including helping to start a KKG house at Arizona State University.
Barbara and Norman were married on June 21, 1955, only 4 days after Norman had graduated from UC Davis! Theirs was the very first wedding at the then brand-new sanctuary at First Methodist Church in Mesa. It was also air conditioned! They had 2 sons, Lyle in 1957 and Alex in 1965. Barbara quit teaching when she became pregnant and was a homemaker for the rest of her life.
In addition to being a homemaker, Barbara was involved in many, many activities. A lifelong Methodist, she continued to be very active in church, working with the youth groups, Bible school, vacation Bible school, Sunday school and singing in the church choir for over 50 years. Barbara also was active in the Chandler Junior Women's Club, PTA and Cub Scouts. Barbara was invited to join the Chandler Service Club as well as P.E.O. She loved both organizations and worked tirelessly for both of them. Her death brings to close a run of 62 consecutive years attending the Service Club's annual Charity Ball, 55 of which she attended as a Club Member. Barbara also was elected to the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board, where she served two terms. She considered her highest achievement while on the Board was getting the Chandler Center for the Arts designed and built.
Barbara's "homemaking" activity included helping Norman on the farm and was his bookkeeper until son Lyle joined in. Even then, she was instrumental in organizing things and keeping track of Norman's calendar. She was active in several agriculture-related groups, including the Phoenix Cotton Wives and International Flying Farmers. While a member of PCW, she was active in the Maid of Cotton program and served one year as the Maid Chair, which entailed accompanying the Maid to all her appearances that year. Barbara and Norman joined Flying Farmers in 1958 and remain members. Barbara was selected IFF Queen in 1969 and she served for a year as a representative of the organization, touring the U.S. and Canada. While she made promotional appearances for IFF, she was also part of the Executive Board and would attend chapter conventions as a designated Executive representative.
Barbara had many loves in her life. First, and foremost was her family. Through the years, she has supported her children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews in school, church and sporting activities. Church, Service Club, P.E.O., IFF, CUSD, Kappa, among many others, were also extremely important to her and she gave her time and finances to them all.
Barbara is survived by her husband of 62 years, Norman; 2 sons, Lyle (Sue), Alex (Lisa), 4 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be a Celebration of Life service at the Chandler Center for the Arts on March 3. Visitation from 1-2, service from 2-3, graveside service at 3:30 at Valley of the Sun and light refreshments at Chandler United Methodist Church at 4.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the following organizations:

Chandler United Methodist Church
Attn: Barbara Knox Memorial
450 E. Chandler Heights Rd.
Chandler AZ 85249
Add Barbara Knox under Special Instructions

Chandler Service Club
Attn: Barbara Knox Memorial
P.O. Box 1243
Chandler AZ 85244

Chandler Education Foundation
Attn: Barbara Knox Memorial
1525 W. Frye Rd.
Chandler AZ 85224 - "Donate Now" under the Site Shortcuts

Kappa Kappa Gamma
Attn: Barbara Knox Memorial
6640 Riverside Drive, Suite 200
Dublin, Ohio 43017 - Click on the large "Give" link Sign the Guestbook at:
Published in East Valley Tribune