Dr. Paul Stuart Wichansky

  Life has to end. But my love for you, mom, is eternal.

A tribute to the life and legacy of Barbara Wichansky.

Barbara WichanskyRemembering Barbara Wichansky

Barbara Wichansky, 73, of Freehold Township, passed away peacefully at CentraState Medical Center on August 16th, surrounded by the ones who loved her most.

Barbara grew up in Union, NJ. She attended Union High School, where she graduated with valedictorian honors. She attended Douglass College, the Womens College of Rutgers University on a four-year scholarship, followed by Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick earning an MSW (Masters of Social Work). Her career included the Children's Psychiatric Center, Eatontown, as a social worker; Raritan Bay Mental Health Center, Perth Amboy, as a principal psychiatric social worker; Kean College and Rutgers School of Social Work as an adjunct professor; and a school social worker for the Princeton and Fair Haven, NJ regional school districts. She also earned a license in marriage counseling.

In an era where inclusion was not yet a hallmark in education, Barbara was instrumental in working with teachers and parents to create a disability awareness program for students in her schools. She invited her 10-year-old son, Paul, then in fourth grade, to speak to her students. As Paul recalls, "After those assemblies, my mom and I would go for lunch. I would ask her, 'Mom, how can I make the assembly better? What do you think I should do to improve them?' Those are NEVER questions to ask your mother!! Paul continues with these presentations 37 years later as a living legacy to his mom.

She took such joy in her children, Paul and Suzanne, and lived life through their eyes and dreams. She passed on to them a strong sense of pride, a devotion to family and friends, her gift of gab, and a true love of inspiring others who need confidence. Paul is a nationally-recognized motivational speaker; Suzanne is a school counselor adored by students, parents, and colleagues.

Not only was Barbara a beautiful person on the inside who cared deeply about people, but also beautiful on the outside. She was the 1964 Rutgers Homecoming Queen; New Jersey College Queen, representing the state, which included an appearance on the nationally televised Ed Sullivan Show; and a contestant in the 1984 Mrs. New Jersey Pageant.

Barbara was an avid reader who also loved the beach, travel, Broadway shows (including CATS), coffee and chocolate mint ice cream, and singing in her award-winning chorus group. The television show Golden Girls was also one of her favorites.

This is a video tribute I have dedicated to mom.

She leaves behind her beloved parents, the late Sidelle Schneider and Benjamin Cummins; her devoted husband Steven; two children, Paul and Suzanne (John) Pape of Gaithersburg, MD; a grandson Landon and step-granddaughter Taylor; and a brother, Dr. Charles (Sheila) Cummins, of Monmouth Beach.

Barbara will be missed. For those who knew her the best, they will see her now in their dreams, listen to her with their hearts, and always adore her with their souls. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in her memory.

Published in the Asbury Park Press on Aug. 19, 2018. Video tribute created September 1, 2018.

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