Our mom, Barbara Diane Gustafson Koy was born on March 30, 1948, to Frank and Lucille Gustafson of Far Rockaway, N.Y. Along with her brother Bill and sister Marjorie, she navigated growing up in the culturally rich surroundings of New York City and the hustle and bustle of Long Island. She never forgot her New York roots, and it formed her broad knowledge of the diversity of the world and the perspective of what life has to offer.
After attending Queens College, and a stint of studies in Corsica, she served as a stewardess for Overseas National Airways (ONA) from 1968 until 1971, flying from far off locations in Europe and Asia. Her journeys were varied and full of all aspects of life: charter trips to Greece, week layovers on the beaches of Waikiki, three months stashed in Tachikawa, Japan, and ferrying service members in and out of Vietnam during the war. She relished the opportunities that she had, visiting sites and making incredible memories as she explored the world.
But her life was forever changed when ONA sent her to promote the airline on the riverboat, Delta Queen, for Super Bowl IV. It is here in January of 1970, that she met the love of her life: a promoter of the New York Giants and the NFL, strapping young running back Ernie Koy. To hear her tell the story of how they met and their courtship is to beam from ear to ear with envy and love. In December of that same year, they began 48 years of companionship, love, and adventure. Our Dad’s “pumpkin” left her globetrotting days in the city and moved her life and love to Bellville, Texas.
She graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1973 and began teaching high school in Sealy in 1974. Over the next 30 years, she worked on and off in four different schools, and learned Spanish, impacting the lives of hundreds of Austin County children as she worked to bear and raise those of her own.
She had an innate passion for being our mom and was a mother figure to many of our friends as we grew up. She was unabashed in her sincere belief that she was put on this earth to raise the four of us. From shuttling to piano practices and recitals, sporting events, and extracurricular activities, to affording us cultural opportunities with vacations to different parts of the globe, momma loved to teach and watch her kids grow. Despite our efforts, she loved us unconditionally and never stopped imparting wisdom, even until her last days.
Mrs. B was an active member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Since 1970, she has served in various positions in the parish: Altar guild, usher, vestry, head of day school, and active in a multitude of parish improvement projects.
She loved Jesus, served her church, and was especially there for those who needed the face of God in their lives. She would minister to those who were sick by taking them to appointments in Houston, cooked hundreds of meals to show those in need someone cared, and she was a fierce advocate for those inflicted by chronic illness. Until the very end, she knew her faith secured her a place in heaven, and she was at peace with her God and her soul.
She did not let her cancer diagnosis in 1993 derail her quest to live a full life. Through tough conversations, prognosis, treatments, and fatigue, she persisted. Too often, you would find Ms. Bobbie driving someone to a treatment, visiting an acquaintance who just found out bad news, or mailing a letter to someone in need. Those who knew her, knew of her insistence on never giving up, and having a plan to make the best of any situation. She taught all of us how to fight, and how to never give up in the face of adversity.
Bobbie, Barbara, Ms. Bobbie: she has a fierce group of friends who would do anything for her, and they have. We are all encouraged by the way these ladies have lifted each other up. From getaways, to hospital visits, to each other’s major life events, these ladies are an inspiration to us all, in that friends are the family we chose, and those bonds cannot be broken. We will only be so fortunate to have the friends that she has, because we know that she has been loved unconditionally.
Our mom traveled the world, and Dad was her best traveling companion. They took annual trips and she researched and learned the best of where they went. They loved cruising, traveling with various college alumni associations, and visiting their kids, no matter what time zone they resided. Dad would often say he has the best travel guide, because Ms. Bobbie knew it all. Often, Grand-Bobbie would write postcards from the places she visited, and her albums are filled with captures of what she loved. We can truly say that she did and saw it all.
We will miss our G-Bobbie’s big holiday dinners, playing board or card games, having a glass of wine with her on the back porch as the sun sets, or a coffee in the morning to start the day. We will miss mom’s probing questions, roundabout ways of inserting her opinion, and her persistent and unconditional love. She is a larger-than-life presence that has left a hole in our hearts. We rest easy knowing that she is waiting for us on the other side and know that we will be in her embrace again.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Lucille Gustafson, and her brother William “Bill” Gustafson.
She is survived by her loving husband, Ernie Koy; her sister Marjorie and husband Earl; her children: Robert and his wife Barbie, Andy and his husband Jay, Lucy and her husband Mike, and Jess and his wife Katie. She is fondly remembered by her grandchildren: Andrew Jr. “Bucky”, Catherine “Cat”, Wyatt, Cameron, Avery, Eddie, and Jane “Janie” Koy, and Koy, Claire, Olivia, and Eleanor Lennox.
In lieu of customary remembrances, please make contributions in her name to: Bellville Turnverein Pavilion Restoration Project, P.O. Box 67, Bellville, TX 77418, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 24 North Masonic, Bellville, TX 77418, or to the Bellville General Hospital, P.O. Box 977, Bellville, TX 77418.
In tribute from your loving family.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, at the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Bellville with Mother Rohani Weger celebrant.
Inurnment will follow in the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Columbarium.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of the Schmidt Funeral Home, 12029 Hwy. 36 South, Bellville, TX 77418; 979-865-2424; www.schmidtfunerals.com.