Barbara Jean Perl obituary photo
In Memory of

Barbara Jean Perl

March 5, 1927 - July 28, 2017


November 2017

My mother loved detail and always wanted to "write a book" about her life. She kept excellent records, which I used to write this Life Story of My Mother. Her story is interesting and I learned new things about her. She had reasons for the things she did, and her records helped me understand those reasons.

As a career working woman, my mom's resume was a very important part of her life. I found...

November 2017

My mother loved detail and always wanted to "write a book" about her life. She kept excellent records, which I used to write this Life Story of My Mother. Her story is interesting and I learned new things about her. She had reasons for the things she did, and her records helped me understand those reasons.

As a career working woman, my mom's resume was a very important part of her life. I found many versions of them in her files. She changed careers several times. These resumes and her files are where I got the information and dates for her story. She always wanted to have this story written and was prepared for it.

My mother was born on March 05, 1927 in San Diego, CA at McCulloch Hospital at 5:40 am. Her parents were Malcolm Herric Heisman (25 years) and Lillian Fay Ross Heisman (23 years). She had an older sister Marie Harriet. Joe Lewis was a family friend and helped Malcom with his businesses. He was like a brother to my mother and he eventually married my mom's sister Marie.

My mother grew up with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins close by. Mildred (her cousin), Iola's daughter, was born within a couple of months of each other. They were friends from birth. Family was very important to her. She grew up in a home where her parents had lots of friends and family visiting and they were always having a big party. Her dad brought home pets all the time - dogs, cats, guinea pigs, seals, alligators, snakes, chickens, ducks, peacocks, frogs, and fish and more. My mother loved animals and had pets her entire life.

When she was little, she had several health issues. She told me that she had ulcers on her corneas and had to go every day to the eye doctor with her mother on the streetcar downtown. This caused her to start school older and she always hated that. She was socially awkward and needed to be close to the chalk board to see. She had vision problems and Dyslexia. This made it harder than normal to get good grades. Her aptitude for mechanical things and Math, though, became obvious early on.

Education was very important to my mother. When I was looking through her "History" file that she created, I found her entire set of report cards from Elementary, Jr. High and High School. ? She went to John Adams School for Grades 2-6 (09/1934 - 06/1940). She served on the School Safety Committee there. She attended Horace Mann Junior High School for grades 7, 8, and 9 (09/1940-06/1943). Then on to Herbert Hoover Senior High School for grades 10,11 and 12 (09/1943-06/1946).

She excelled in Math. She told me she graduated top in her class in Mathematics from high school with a Math Major. She took Mechanical Drawing and Latin in the 10th grade. In 11th grade, she became interested in Nursing when she took a Home Nursing class. In the 12th grade she excelled at Chemistry and Advanced Algebra. My mom was also a member of the American Jr. Red Cross in 1945. She loved ice cream and her favorite color was purple. She described herself later on, under a section in one of her resumes, "Special Skills: Mechanical Aptitude, good with figures, likes to work with machines, ability to organize work and set up systems, picks up new procedures quickly, good teacher and gets along well with people."

When she was at Horace Mann Junior High School, she was one of the 60 Drum Majorettes. They had an opportunity to perform at Camp Callan. After watching the 56th battalion from the viewing stand, the majorettes paraded in formation in their purple and white uniforms with batons instead of guns. They performed the exact same military drills with 1000 people watching. At the end of the exchange the girls divided into four groups and acted as table hostesses during mess hour. They made it in the newspaper on May 8, 1942.

Her educational years were heavily influenced by WWII (09/01/1939-09/02/1945). The War Effort was funded by everyone and relied heavily on donations of money, paper, metal and anything it needed by civilians. Everyone, including children, were encouraged to be a part of the War Effort. She was encouraged to use her money to buy War Stamps which in turn would buy a buy War Bond. I noticed that all of the paper things in her keepsakes - report cards, greeting/announcement cards, notices - were all made from as small of a piece of paper as possible. Most greeting cards were 2" x 2" and mailed in like envelopes. She must have saved all her "important papers" of her childhood. Her parents owned several businesses that "hauled junk/trash". They recycled everything. Nothing was wasted. "Save everything!" they said. Now I know where I get it. ?

They lived at 3276 Mt View Drive, San Diego when she was little. They had a fire in the house and then moved to a 14-acre property off of 46th Street in South East San Diego. This was a piece of property that had many houses and warehouses. Their home was one of a complex of apartments and houses. They used the apartments and other houses for company, workers, or storage. One of the buildings was even an antique store for a while. While living there, her dad, Malcolm, started Bull Frog Haven and M. H. Heisman Co. (two of his many ventures). They manufactured fishing gear, grew all types of fishing worms, and made lead sinkers. They also sold Anise oil, which my grandpa pressed himself with anise grown on the property and a press he invented. They had several large ponds where the public could come in and go fishing in stocked lakes. They had pet alligators! I remember Allie in a large enclosure with a pond and plants and a place to sun himself. My grandma Heisman would feed him a big frozen fish one time per month. He would come out of the water and open his big mouth and she would throw it in. They also had chickens and a large covered rain garden enclosure that had a lot of box turtles. I loved the fresh water pond smell every time we went in there. My mother lived there until she got married. One thing I will never forget was the covered wagons without covers in the middle of their round-about in front of the house. They also had a train car used for storage near the warehouses. ?? Ultimately the State of California purchased the property to put in Highway 805.

The family owned a cabin on Lake Morena in Campo, CA. There they had family fun with their various animals - dogs, cats, monkeys, and her Burro, Molly. Anyone who was anyone would be invited up there for a weekend of cards and fishing. Right after Nursing school in 1955 she worked for Joe Lewis, her brother-in-law, at Gem Liquor store. She worked there about a year and during that time the store was held up by a man that pushed my mom and knocked her down in the back room while he tried to steal the money. He was caught with his hand in the till. He was later apprehended and an article was put in the paper about the incident.

Nursing school: My mom decided she wanted to be a nurse after high school. She was accepted into the Mercy School of Nursing of San Diego California. She began attending there February 1947 and graduated February 02, 1950. She passed the Board of Nurse Examiners and received her Registered Nurse license on May 15, 1950. She decided to go on to Post Graduate School at St. Mary's School of Nursing, Rochester, Minnesota and began March, 1951. She received her degree in Operating Room Technic and Management on January 29, 1952. She was head surgical RN at the Mayo Clinic during her education at St. Mary's and until 1953 when she moved back home. She assisted Dr. Charles William Mayo and Dr. Walters an average of 4 operations a day, 6 days a week for the 2 years she was there. She assisted Dr. Hallenback (one of the first surgeons to perform this cutting-edge procedure) with his second Portal Renal Shunt surgery. In total, she worked in Surgery as an operating nurse from February 1950 until August 1956. When she moved back home to San Diego after college, she worked from June 1953 - July 1956 for Sharp Memorial Hospital as a surgical nurse. In 1954/55 she took quite a few classes in personal development at San Diego State College. Some of the classes were Ballroom Dancing, Swimming, Oral Communication, Sociology, Reading, Economics, Spanish and Salesmanship. The classes she took also gave her a Business Management Major. She never let her learning disability limit her education. It took her much more time to read through material and her grades were average and many times below average. She often told a story from nursing school of hiding in the closet after curfew with a flash light so that she could finish all of her reading assignments.

My parents, Barbara Jean Heisman and Robert Perry Mitchell, were married on June 11, 1955 in San Diego, CA. During my dad's military service in the San Francisco area right after their marriage, she worked as a medical claims adjuster-auditor. They went on quite a few adventures before the kids came along. They went camping, fishing, free diving, scuba diving, on hiking trips and motorcycle rides with my dad driving. She received her scuba license March, 1964 and was a member of Diving Lockers Orcas, and NAUI. I, Lora Jean, came along on November 11, 1959. My sister Kara Lynn was born July 01, 1962 and my brother Mark David one year later, August 27, 1963. We had many trips during the years they were married. Some great memories were camping in Mexico growing up. We took our VW bus loaded with water, diapers, food and dive gear and headed to Mexico every chance my parents got. We were there usually once a month, every holiday, and for extended time in the summer with and without other families. The guys would catch great stuff in the sea and the moms would cook it up in large pots on the beach. We ate lobster, abalone, fish soups of all kinds and turtle. As the years moved on we acquired a dune buggy and brought that along also. I loved getting to the beach and running along collecting all the shells and mammal bones that had washed up. It was great pickings as the beaches were deserted in those days.

My dad got a Business Management degree June 06,1956 from San Diego State College. With their combined educations they began a Mom and Pop business in manufacturing skin-diving accessories. In November 1959 (the same month I was born) they began Mitchell Underwater Products. The name was changed to Aqua-Craft in 1965 and then to Aqua-Craft, Inc. in April, 1968. It started as a one-car-garage operation and became a large corporation selling to skin diving shops worldwide. My dad came up with the ideas: abalone irons, dive bags of all kinds, weight belts, and all types of diving gear. My mom was the full charge bookkeeper, did accounts receivable, payroll, inventory control, foreign shipments, supervised 10 employees, and did credit and collections. What started as a small shop grew up and out of our 2-story shop in the back and home (I remember just before the move, having boxes in the bathtub and the weight belt sewing machines in the dining room) into an international business. It was the right idea at the right time. We moved from East San Diego to La Jolla, CA. During our years in La Jolla my parents took a dune buggy trip down in Mexico with some friends in 1969. They made it back of course, but they had many mechanical problems and it did not go as planned. We had a big house with a terrific view, a housekeeper that took care of us kids, and they had money for fast cars and the fast life. This proved to be the end of the rainbow however, my parents divorced on January 26, 1971. They had their business from 1959-1971.

Then began a new chapter of her life as a single mother of 3. These were difficult times. After her initial adjustment, my mom was 1/3 owner of an escort service business in Phoenix, AZ (January, 1971) called Intro-Mate. In October of that year she changed the name to Mark I Model Agency to include modeling in her services. She had taken a Barbizon Modeling Agency course. We lived in AZ for about 3 years. The venture did not last and she needed to go back to work as a nurse. She worked for Phoenix Hospital in Intensive Care in 1972. She also had several bookkeeping jobs there. She got her first Real Estate License in AZ in 1972. Those years were lean. No family close by, exhausted from long work hours and not enough money, we barely got by. In the summer of 1973 my sister Kara became very ill while on a camping trip with our dad and we made an emergency move back to San Diego. We lived in an apartment in El Cajon.

When we moved back to San Diego she decided at that point to go into business for herself preparing taxes and doing bookkeeping. She completed the H and R Block course to prepare tax returns in April 1973. She already knew the bookkeeping part of her business from past experience. The Bookkeeper, her business, began in January 1974. She had a corner office at 3376 University Ave, near highway 805. Her colors were sunshine yellow and red. We painted everything (even the chairs) red and yellow, her stationary was yellow with red print. It was great! We moved back to our original home in East San Diego where she rented out the duplex in the back and we lived in the front house. Things slowly turned around. This time we had family and friends close by.

She met Frank while we lived in East San Diego and they fell in love. He was working on a job in San Diego for Tucker Sadler & Associates when they met through a Parents Without Partners dance. He was a great guy and when he asked her to marry him she said yes. But, before the wedding we moved to 2747 Massachusetts Ave in Lemon Grove to get us kids to a better school district and a bigger house for everyone. Frank made the move from Anaheim, CA where he lived. He brought Larry, his teen-age son with him. Lisa, my step-sister stayed in the Los Angeles area with her husband. On May 1, 1976 she married Frank Rudolf Perl at Marie and Joe Lewis' house in Lakeside, CA. Frank and my mom had fun square dancing for a while with Marie and Joe.

At that time, she was working for San Diego Center of Children as a Controller (1976-1978). The demands of that job were too much with four teenagers in the house. She still had her bookkeeping business and wanted to diversify her own skills. She completed her CA Real Estate License from Anthony Schools in May, 1978. She worked for Martin Reality and Realty World. Then got her Brokers license and General Securities Registered Representative certificate in 1982. With these she started her B. Perl Realty and Tax business. Networking was important to her and she joined Inland Society of Tax Consultants. Then in 1985, when she was 58 years old, she became an Enrolled Agent and could represent her tax clients before the IRS. She became a member of the National association of Enrolled Agents, CA Society of Enrolled Agents, and The American Society of Tax Professionals in 1986. Frank and my mom continued their mutual interest in Real Estate. They purchased and sold a lot of rental properties over the years. San Miguel, McClintock, Massachusetts Ave, Carlton Hills, Poplar St, Isthmus Ct, and 1st Ave to name a few. ? My mom loved to find it and buy it and Frank loved to fix 'em up. Perfect! They continued doing this until Frank's passing February 05, 2008. They were married for 32 years. Doris Adair was a mutual Real Estate agent friend that became like family. They played cards, went out for meals, shopped for real estate and remained special friends. My mother maintained many licenses and enjoyed all the Continuing Ed.

Frank had some changes in his employment and he began his Architecture business in 1981 and began Perl Architecture, Inc. in November 1985 - December 1992. They were both officers and employees of the company. Frank was President and my mom was Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. She learned all about funding retirement accounts and they started to prepare for retirement. He remodeled the Poplar house again to suit Perl Architecture.

The Poplar Street property belonged to my mother after her divorce. My dad gave her his half in lieu of any further child support shortly after the divorce. The property had been purchased in the early 60's. It was my childhood home, the manufacturing site for Aqua Craft, a rental for the many years when we weren't using it, then we lived there my Jr. high and 1st year high school years from 1973 -75. Then it became the home of Perl Architecture in 1985. It ended up being a blessing and financial windfall several times for my mom. Far more than the child support would have been.

Frank loved going to Home Depot! He loved gardening. He and my mom joined the Home Depot gardening club. They learned about all kinds of plants and made all types of gardens all over the place. They made good friends there and had social gatherings.

In 1990, when Larry went to rehab at Calvary Ranch in Lakeside, CA; she and Frank began to attend church there on Sunday's to visit with Larry (as that was the only visitation they allowed). Coincidentally, my husband Armin's Auntie Doris worked there. Shortly after they began attending there, Auntie Doris lead them in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as their savior and they were baptized by Pastor Tom on November 4th, 1990, in the Jacuzzi at the ranch. They attended there for some time, even after Larry moved on. Then they began to attend Vista La Mesa Church where Grandma Fay went. My mom served on various committees there over the many years they attended and Frank used his Architect expertise there for remodels. She attended Bible Study Fellowship weekly for 5 years and learned a lot about the Bible. By 2004 they started attending Skyline Church. Again, Frank assisted with a large remodel project. They were a part of a small group and helped where they could. They went there thru 2007. My mom loved to take notes at each service and read all the books Pastor Garlow recommended. All her study books that I found were highlighted with post its and notes. She loved to study.

My mom retired three times. She would retire because she was tired, and then she would get bored and one of her friends or family would ask for help. Then, of course, she would take on the job for a couple of years and retire again. She never really did retire. She was always working on the next project. She worked after her first retirement from Real Estate and Perl Architecture for Developmental Services Continuum, Inc. as bookkeeper from 1991-1996 (69 years old). Then she retired from her tax/bookkeeping business on April 15, 1999 (72 years old). After that she took on subcontracting work for her friend Lynette Vail, LJV bookkeeping and Tax, on and off in her 70's.

We had family parties all my life. My mom and Marie were close, so, all birthdays and holidays were celebrated together, even as families grew and changed. These were fun family times. If it was your birthday you might get a sock party (money was put in socks) or just the money tree (a skeleton branch in a pot of plaster-of-paris with clothes pins on it to hold the money). I figured the money all evened out in the end. My mom also got in the tradition of giving everyone a box of Cordial Cherries or Caramel Turtles for Christmas.

She loved and supported myself, Kara, Mark, Lisa and Larry in each very different direction we chose to follow. She loved and accepted our spouses and partners. She and Frank loved to visit, go to events, parties, family dinners and travel if necessary to be a part of lives of their children and grandchildren (Lora's kids: Jennifer, Evan, Emily, Ryan and David; Mark's kids: Chelsea, Kyndl and Josh; and Lisa's kids: Laura, Jake, and Justin) during their growing up years. And of course, her many great-grandkids (Jennifer - Marcus and Matthew, Chelsea - Jacob and Clara, Kyndl - Kameron and Emmalee, Josh - McKenna and Jacquelyn). She loved sharing her office with her grandkids, letting them play "office" and play with office supplies out of her supply closet.

When I was in need of a support person in the delivery room for the C-section birth of my last three children (Emily, Ryan, and David) my mom was there for me. She even traveled to Petaluma, CA and Mt Pocono, PA to be there. The doctors gladly let her be there and take the baby. ? We would brag about her having been a surgical nurse to Dr. Mayo and they were always impressed.

In September 2009 she moved to WA to live with me, Armin, and Co (Emily, Ryan, and David). We did a minor remodel which gave her a large kitchen/dining room, entry way with large closet, and a bedroom/office. We all shared the main bathroom. She loved it! Especially when someone was in the bathroom all she had to do was knock and they had to get out NOW! We made sure she was included in events, ate well and went to the Y for her work out. We went to Adams family events here and she made special friends with Dorothy (Armin's sister-in-law Peggy's mom). Armin practiced with her driving "right" (right turns everywhere she wanted to go) within the two-mile radius of the house. She drove herself to the "Y" 5 days a week. She also took herself to the bank, grocery store, drug store and for her hair appointment. This kept her independence. She had worked her whole life and once she made the "Y" her Monday-Friday "job" she stopped trying to get out of it. On March 5, 2012 at Denny's (85th birthday meal) we noticed that she seemed ill. That was the onset of her Parkinson's brought on by an unknown virus.

In February, 2015 she moved to Lakeshore Manor, where she could get the around the clock care she needed, this is an Adult Family Home in Lake Stevens, WA where she lived until her death of advanced Parkinson's disease. They took excellent care of her. April, the owner and one of her caregivers, treated as her own family. She received special care there and they called her "the Princess". Because, of course, she was. We tried to get everything we could in purple (her favorite color) and have lots of chocolate. Mark and Kara kept her supplied with quality Sees or local chocolates. I came over to visit and monitor her care 2-3 times a week during her stay there.

My mom, Barbara Jean Heisman Mitchell Perl, was generous in many ways (forgiveness, time, money, and energy), she always supported people in their endeavors and encouraged them. She loved to invest in education, accepted people where they were at, and focused on the positive choices people made in life and left the rest to the past. She loved her family and friends and would do just about anything for them. She will be fondly remembered and be loved in our hearts. Thank you mom!