DELMAR — Barbara K. Rudofsky, 83, passed away peacefully at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center in Guilderland, NY on June 25, 2020 of natural causes.
Born on March 13, 1937 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she was the daughter of the late Helen and Edmund Kiernat. At an early age, Barbara was a true individual, a gifted painter who was as apt to curl up with a good book as she was to brave the deep winter chill to go ice skating. Barbara grew up in St. Paul, where she would meet Ulrich, her future husband, a recent immigrant from Germany who was working as a fry cook one fortuitous day when she stopped by Shapiro’s Drugstore just before its evening closing for a snack. She graduated from Central High School 16th in a class of well over 400 and was named Miss Central High School. After attending Macalester College, she completed her B.S. and earned an M.S. at the University of Minnesota — all of which she self-financed through hard work.
After graduation, Barbara worked for the American Meat Institute and Armour Research Center in the Chicago area. In Chicago, she later taught Physics, Chemistry and Home Economics at Woodrow Wilson College, which was re-named Kennedy-King College in 1969. Married in 1965 with just two witnesses present, Barbara and Ulrich poured their savings into a summer honeymoon in Switzerland and Italy; years later, they’d reminisce vividly about the beauty of sailing on an Alpine lake and the storied sites and cuisines of Florence and Rome they had enjoyed. Three years after the birth of their son in Chicago, they moved to Delmar, NY in 1970. On the first day of winter in 1971, Barbara gave birth to her daughter at home in less than half an hour!
Barbara was an extraordinary mother who took time off from a career to raise her children until they were in high school; afterwards, she worked at Owens Corning in Selkirk for a decade as a technician. She instilled in her children a love of learning, a love of nature and gardening, and a love of reading, art, comedy and music. She expressed her creativity and love to her family through French, Italian, Swedish (her family’s heritage), and Louisiana cuisine. She enjoyed reading mystery novels, memoirs and literary cookbooks; she would return from the library with an armload of books weekly. She loved “stretching her legs” by going shopping for clothes and shoes; purple was her favorite color. She enjoyed the movies of Federico Fellini and Mel Brooks, Paul Newman and Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman. She loved opera, classical music, and the songs of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dr. John, and Frank Sinatra. Post-dinner, she would playfully compete with her family while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Barbara had a beautiful smile, a kind heart, a keen wit, and a vivacious laugh that filled the room. She loved her family more than words can express. We will love her always. Thanks for the memories!
Barbara is survived by her beloved husband Ulrich of fifty-five years and son Frederick Rudofsky of Delmar; her daughter Christina Rudofsky (William White) of Round Rock, TX; her nephew Peter Rudofsky and niece Diana Rudofsky of Chicago; and her sister-in-law Sandy Kiernat, nephew R.B. Kiernat (Courtney), niece Betsy Zakrajsheck (Peter), and several grand-nephews and grand-nieces in the Twin Cities. She was predeceased by her brother, Bruce Kiernat, two years ago.
The family would like to thank the staff at Our Lady of Mercy’s Life Center where Barbara had lived since early 2019; in particular, the dedicated, compassionate nurses and aides–true heroes– who work at the Rosary and Lourdes units. Thanks also to the Community Hospice for the thoughtful comfort care of Barbara and the support shown for her loved ones. Arrangements are being conducted by Durant Funeral Home, Inc. in Delmar, NY.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Barbara’s memory to the Friends of the Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY 12054 and Friends of Five Rivers, 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054.