Art is life! Life is art! That is how Barbara “Bobbie” Lee Sherman Rieger lived! Bobbie, 82, of Topeka, Kansas completed her life journey on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico at home with both her daughters by her side. Born on an Easter Sunday, April 17, 1938, to Rolland “Pard” Howard Sherman and Martha Jane Rees Sherman in Topeka, Kansas her love of art and life was nurtured and encouraged by her parents and later by her husband, daughters, friends, and extended family.
Since approximately 2008 Bobbie was on an Alzheimer’s/dementia journey for which she only had the map, and family and friends were all just along for the ride. The days and years were full of unknowns for Bobbie and all those who loved her, but Bobbie is now in the arms of the angels doing all things artistic, adventurous, and creative forever. She is flying high with clarity now.
Bobbie graduated from Seaman High School, attended William Woods College, and later graduated from Washburn University in 1961 where she was also a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity. On August 20, 1960 she married Harland Kenneth Rieger. Together they built a life of love and adventure for themselves and later their daughters. Bobbie will be remembered as a woman who got things done. She will also be remembered as a Kansas regional artist and the proud owner of the Orange Crate Gallery as well as for her artistic spirit that was dear, sweet, resourceful, loving, certainly gorgeous, honest, stubborn, feisty, one-of-a kind, silly, bossy, sincere, unconditional, a wonderful wife, a best friend, an awesome mother, a super aunt, always up for telling one what she was thinking, and always present and engaged with her family and friends. She kept her daughters and her husband busy with 4-H, volunteering, music lessons, competitive sports, and adventures throughout their lives.
Bobbie worked as a teacher, for WIBW, and Central Airlines to assist her husband while he attended Washburn University School of Law. She later served her country as a military wife for 36 years. Bobbie worked as the Women and Girls Director for the YWCA and the YMCA in Topeka, Kansas. Bobbie broke out of the business world and spread her artistic wings when she opened the Orange Crate Gallery. There, for nearly 35 years, she shared her expertise in antiques, art, collectibles, jewelry, appraisals, costumes, and later singing telegrams to bring joy and laughter to many people in the Topeka and surrounding area. Bobbie was an artist at her core and she enjoyed creating and designing in every aspect of her life. She was always active and enjoyed riding her horse all day and water skiing as a girl and later in her adult life playing golf, racket ball, tennis, swimming, bicycling, snow skiing, surfing once, and going on long walks collecting found natural objects and discarded or lost treasures for her art projects. She loved reading, working in her garden, sewing, designing, painting with her dear friend Carol Hollis, playing with all her girlfriends, and spending time with her daughters and grandchildren. For over 25 years Bobbie and Harland traveled to and from New Mexico twice a year to spend extended time with family, making New Mexico a home away from their eternal home; Kansas. Bobbie is loved more than she probably thought possible and all is well with the world because of who she was for her family and so many others.
Bobbie is survived by her two daughters, Cardinal Rieger and her husband Joseph Miller, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tonna Burgos and her husband Marcos, Corrales, New Mexico, three grandchildren, Mateo, Maya, and Salome Burgos; two sisters, Linda Sue Meisinger of Gardner, Kansas, and Susan Kay Tarwater of Hoyt, Kansas, many nieces and nephews, and cherished friends she embraced as family. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her sister Judith Ann Gabriel.
Bobbie will be laid to rest on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 2:00PM at Memorial Park Cemetery at 3616 SW 6th Avenue in Topeka, Kansas where she once fed the ducks with her daughters when they were little and where she later supported her husband teaching them both to drive. Bobbie’s daughters wish to thank family members, close friends, and their parents’ close friends who emotionally supported them and their mother and father through the multitude of unknowns of their father’s cancer and their mother’s Alzheimer’s/dementia journey. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University or the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center—both located in Topeka, Kansas.