Cover photo for Barbara A. Kovalchik's Obituary
Barbara A. Kovalchik Profile Photo
1937 Barbara 2021

Barbara A. Kovalchik

May 22, 1937 — April 27, 2021

The family of Barbara Ann Kovalchik, 83, of Mount Upton, is saddened to announce the passing of their matriarch on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure, and Lyme’s disease.

Barbara was a devoted wife, mother, and friend who earned the respect of all who knew her. She is survived by her husband of almost 61 years, Donald M. Kovalchik; sons, Brian, of West Monroe NY, and Kenneth (Natalie), of Slingerlands NY; daughter, Susan, of Wasilla, AK; grandsons, Jackson Taetsch and Donald Joseph Kovalchik; granddaughter, Kalelan Kovalchik; and dear cousins, Carol Yakabowski, Elaine Johnson, and Eric Wright; as well as a host of adoring nieces and nephews.

Barbara was born to Joseph and Georgianna Stashak, in Manville, NJ. An only child, Barbara spent her young life working in the family pharmacy and tending to her studies. “Bobby,” as she was affectionately called, learned how to handle and show her father’s prize Beagles and, like her father, was also a crack shot, a trait that would allow her to reliably put venison and other game in the freezer in her adult life. She spent summers on her uncle’s farm, an experience that would also serve her well later in life. After graduating from Somerville High School in 1955, Barbara spent four years at Michigan University, in Ann Arbor, where she distinguished herself as a student of Physical Therapy. After graduating in 1959, Barbara returned to New Jersey to pursue her profession. Barbara would eventually retire from DCMO BOCES as a well-regarded Physical Therapy Assistant.

In 1952, she met the love of her life, Donald Kovalchik, and the two joined hearts were inseparable ever since. Barbara and Donald were joined in Holy Matrimony on June 25, 1960, and initially made their home in central New Jersey. In 1969, frustrated with urban sprawl, high taxes, and crime, Barbara and Donald left their residence in New Jersey in exchange for building a life on The Hemlock Hill Farm, in rural upstate New York. It was here that Barbara embraced all of what farm life was. She raised her children and her livestock, tended her gardens, hunted, and fished. Barbara knew every inch of her farm and worked very hard to help that farm provide for her family. She was an intuitive and skilled hunter who could always be counted on to put something in the freezer. A dedicated fisherwoman, Barbara’s crowning achievement was a ten-pound Walleye that she dragged out of the Madawaska River in Canada using a children’s Zebco. She was skilled at canning and food preservation, running a veritable cooking and canning factory in her own kitchen. Barbara was known for her creations; her Dandelion and Tomato wines were highly regarded.

Barbara was also a crack mathematician and bookkeeper whose facility with numeracy has served her family well over the years. Disciplined and organized, Barbara always kept track of the small details of life and her sharp mind and keen wit kept all around her on their toes. One of Barbara’s greatest joys in life was spending time with and supporting her husband Donald in his endeavors as coach of the Norwich Wrestling team. Barbara was the pillar behind the man, a fixture at as many meets as she could attend. She also used her numerical and organizational skills to run the scoring for many wrestling tournaments in the area; always to the great admiration of those who worked with her. And many Norwich wrestlers will have fond memories of the great spaghetti suppers she hosted for graduating seniors at her home. Barbara’s cooking skills were legendary to all who were fortunate to experience a meal at her table, and her pie crusts are still yet to be duplicated.

Barbara also truly loved traveling with her family and she could always be counted upon to take long stints at the wheel as she and her family traversed the country pulling a camper; a passion that was taken from her by the ravages of disease. Still, even as disease took her mobility from her, Barbara was a keen witness to world events and always a resource to her family as we looked to her for guidance. She never let disease define her, and she was a warrior against the great odds stacked against her, right up until the end. In the game of life, “Wimps Need Not Apply” and Barbara was no wimp.

A graveside service for Barbara will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at Maplewood Cemetery, Mount Upton, NY, where Rev. Bernard Osie Ampong will officiate. Friends are invited to call at the Wilson Funeral Home, Norwich, NY, on Wednesday, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Callers are asked to enter through the side doors of the funeral home. To ensure the safety of all in attendance, please observe social distancing and sanitary practices, including facial coverings. A celebration of life will be announced later this year.

Contributions in Barbara’s memory may be made to the Barbara Kovalchik Memorial Scholarship, c/o Wilson Funeral Home, 68 South Broad Street, Norwich, NY 13815.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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