Barbara Jean Van Cura, 79, a longtime Brookfield resident, died on Jan. 30, 2017. Born on Dec. 4, 1937 to the late Edward and Lillian Van Cura, she was a skilled nurse and accomplished nursing educator with a career that spanned 40 years, most of it at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
There she held a variety of clinical, management and educational positions and a faculty position at the School of Nursing. Much of her career was devoted to helping with nursing development, and she designed and implemented education and training programs for professional and non-professional staff and coordinated clinical experiences for graduate and undergraduate students from various academic institutions.
In addition to her academic accomplishments, she was a member of Sigma Theta Tau (national association for nursing) and honored for her achievements with many awards including Outstanding Young Woman of America, Excellence in Nursing Practice Award from NMH, and the Thelma Shorr Award for innovation in staff development.
She also pursued her hobbies, artistic endeavors, and her many treasured friendships. Barbara was a member of PEO (Philanthropic Education Organization), Church Women United, and served as president of the United Methodist Women for several years and held other positions on the board.
Ms. Van Cura was active with the First United Methodist Church of LaGrange, participating in the Chancel Choir, prayer shawl ministry, as an email prayer chain leader, and with the Church Leadership Council.
Her calligraphy talents were used to inscribe children’s presentation Bibles, baptismal certificates and other special documents. She also studied dance for more than 12 years with a teacher who had been with the New York City Opera Ballet, studied drama and wrote several musical satires which were performed by local groups.
Her artistic talent also flourished through the creation of dozens of miniature rooms and dioramas, which were intricately detailed to scale. She was a member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts, taught miniature crafting, and built miniature replicas of buildings which were used for marketing purposes.
Barbara also served as a consultant for the Bradford Exchange. In spite of limitations from post-polio syndrome and metastatic cancer, she carried on. She will be dearly missed.
A celebration of her life was held at the First United Methodist Church of LaGrange on Feb. 4, followed by interment at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of LaGrange, 100 West Cossitt Ave., LaGrange, 60525.
Woodlawn Funeral Home, Forest Park, handled arrangements.