BARBARA DESIRE SIBERT
July 1, 1954 - August 1, 2023
Love has truly been good to me
1954 was a year of creative abundance and historic shifts. Swanson debuted TV Dinners much to the delight of weary homemakers across the country. The storied Ellis Island complex in New York closed as a point of immigration to the United States of America. The words “under God” are added to the Pledge of Allegiance. The Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education and ushered in a new era of public education. And three 1954 births proved to be life changing: Award-winning actor Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, New York. American diplomat and political scientist Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. And in the City of Detroit, Dolores and Robert welcomed a daughter to the world on July 1. They named her Barbara Desire.
Not even one sad day / Or minute have I had since [God has] come my way
Her faith journey began at home. Indeed, Proverbs 22:6 guided her parents: “Train up a child in the way [she] should go: and when [she] is old, [she] will not depart from it.” She grew in faith with each lesson learned from her parents. They taught her reverence of God, His earth, His people; and every living thing. She was raised with a strong belief in God and she attended various Catholic schools in Detroit. She graduated from East Catholic High School, blossoming into a woman of tremendous courage and abiding faith. A lifelong learner, she eventually earned an Associate’s Degree from Macomb Community College. She pursued her studies as a way of empowering herself, inspiring her daughters and her grandchildren, and dispelling the myths of what a single mother often working two jobs could achieve.
A woman of action, she didn’t just dream beautiful dreams, she made her dreams become realities. Her children saw a mother who was hardworking and caring. Theirs was a mother who rejoiced in connecting and reconnecting with people. Her children saw a mother who was a seeker of truth and wisdom. Theirs was a mother who never stopped learning. Her children saw a mother who reinvented herself and evolved as a woman. Theirs was a mother who was committed to Christ.
I hope you know I’d gladly go / Anywhere you take me
Her keen sense of analysis and precision led her to a career in quality assurance. In 1982, she began a tenure as a Quality Control Leader Grade I at Huron Products in Mount Clemens, Michigan. She ventured over to the General Motors Company Truck Group as a Senior Advance Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer. She subsequently transferred to the Reliability Department at the Pontiac East Assembly Center as their new Reliability Engineer. Near the end of her career, she joined American Specialty Cars (ASC) as a Senior Supplier of Quality Engineering. The last vehicle she worked on was the Chevrolet SSR (Super Sport Roadster), a retro-styled pickup truck inspired by the manufacturer’s late-1940s Advance Design trucks. She loved how the throw-back truck required the team to relearn a decade’s old automotive stamping technique. She loved how working at ASC allowed her to put her many God-given talents and years of experience to great use. Her gifts made room for her; she was a proud member of the American Society for Quality and believed in its mission to “empower individuals and communities of the world to achieve excellence through quality.”
I’m happy as I can be / You have come and it’s changed my whole world
A caring and spiritual soul, as she matured her connection to God became authentic and direct. Hers was a faith that deepened over years. She discovered that she did not need a middle person between her and God. Her faith granted her the stamina to work her way up the ladder at work, hold down a second job, and still––somehow––check homework, attend every parent teacher conference, chaperone field trips, lead a Girl Scout Troop, and have dinner ready for her daughters. She found solace and community as a member of the Crosspoint Christian Church. Her faith reminded her that we are the hands and feet of God. It was at Crosspoint that she nurtured her relationship with The Divine, God the Good, and embraced the teachings of love, forgiveness, and gratitude. Her relationship with Pastor Matt was special. He remained her Prayer Warrior and Spiritual Guide as she navigated health challenges with grace, never losing sight that Christ is the Center of her joy and her life.
Bye-bye sadness, hello mellow / What a wonderful day
Barbara Desire Sibert IS a beloved daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, mother, grandmother, and friend. She transitioned from this life to eternal joy and peace on August 1, 2023. When we think of her, let us think about her smile, her laugh, and the ancient Greek meaning of her first name: “beautiful, mysterious stranger.” Let’s remember the feel of her hugs and the passion with which she lived for 69 years. Think of her when you hear Luther Vandross on the radio; his velvety voice resonated deep within her and his soulful melodies touched her heart and gave her comfort during moments of triumph and challenge. Let’s remember how she was joyful everyday and how––even as she faced her last days––she exuded the same zeal, strength, and grace for which she was known. Think of her when you travel abroad––she came to love Mexico through her trips to work with automotive suppliers in the country. When we think of her, let’s remember her Eagle Eye ability to inspect anything for you to ensure it was free from flaws and defects that may have been hidden from you. Think of her when you watch Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Maury, 90 Day Fiancé, Jerry Springer, Judge Judy, or Match Me Abroad. Let’s remember her passion for people and the way she would prepare meals for her family—especially when she barbecued and hosted large family gatherings (Let’s not even talk about how she loved making chitlins and hog maws as side dishes for Christmas!). When she cooked you never had to worry if there would be plenty––there was always enough for folks to take something home. Think of her when you read scriptures from The Holy Bible. Let’s remember how devoted she remained to her children and her grandchildren. She struck a work/life balance to raise her daughters and dedicated Saturdays to them as they were growing up. She helped raise her grandchildren after her retirement, sharing with them many of the time-honored lessons familiar to her daughters, teaching and modeling until the end. Think of her when you take a deep dive into genealogy to explore your family history (she loved learning about her ancestors—the Old Settlers from Mecosta, Montcalm, and Isabella Counties—including famed astronomer, mathematician, and almanac author, Benjamin Banneker). Let’s remember how boldly she would tell everyone “I love you” and how everyone––even strangers––intuitively knew she meant every word. Think of her when you are weathering the storms of life. If we listen close enough, we’ll hear her voice guiding us from the Heavens: “I love you!” and “It is what it is.” Let’s remember the message found in the last words she spoke: it’s going to be amazing!
It’s so amazing to be loved / I’d follow you to the moon in the sky above
Her memory will be cherished by her children, Kendra (AJ ) Williams, Cherise Sibert, and Kenneth Durr, a nephew she raised; and her siblings and their spouses, Frances Carter, Robert Paul (Alene) Sibert, Larry James (Mary) Sibert, and Bernice Carter. Her legacy will be sustained by her grandchildren, Justin Tyler Sibert, Jade Michael Sibert, and Chelsea Taylor Johnson. Others who count it a blessing to have known her are her cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family members, and countless friends––especially, her cousin, Sharon Lawson, who was her Gossip Partner, Jarrod Bell, Siobhan Haggerty who cooked her last meal, and her dogs, Olive and Paco. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dolores Frances Sibert and Robert Bobby Sibert; and her sister, Zenobia Ilene Durr.
Obituary written by Rev. Dr. Tony Lamair Burks II, member The Society of Professional Obituary Writers