Barbara E. Pigford

Barbara E. Pigford, 91, passed peacefully on March 29, 2022, in Newport News, Virginia. Barbara was the daughter of the late Paul and Marjorie Ennis, born and raised in Grand Junction, Colorado. She spent her childhood summers at the homestead of her grandparents in the high mountains of Colorado and had many great stories to tell about her pioneer ancestors.
Barbara graduated from high school with honors, receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Northern Colorado. She had decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher. She and her family eventually settled in Colorado Springs. After teaching in the classroom for a few years, she became a supervisor of new teachers and pursued a Master’s Degree from Colorado College. Soon after, she was placed in charge of elementary instruction in School District 11 in Colorado Springs, where she made significant contributions.  She also mentored educators and encouraged many women to pursue a career ladder in educational administration.  Late in her career, Barbara designed and implemented the first public preschool program in the state of Colorado. She never forgot her roots in teaching, making her an excellent advocate for both children and teachers. Her commitment to public education extended to many state and national groups, consultantships, and advisory panels.
After her retirement, Barbara contributed her time to Care Castle, an organization that trained seniors to volunteer in child care centers, and the Colorado Springs Assistance League, which clothed school-age children, screened preschoolers for hearing deficiencies, and provided educational programs focusing on disabilities and drug abuse. Wherever she went, she connected to children and encouraged young people to further their education. Her legacy continues, as her eldest grandson now represents the fourth generation of educators in the family. All who knew Barbara will remember her for how she cared for others and used humor to raise one’s spirits.
During this period of her life, Barbara followed her passion for travel and adventure, visiting such places as England, Scotland, Bali, and China. She also traveled to Virginia frequently to spend time with her daughter’s family and back to Grand Junction to be with her mother and extended family there. Family and faith were her cornerstones; she lived a life guided by her spiritual ideals of love, kindness, and generosity.
In 2008, Barbara moved to Newport News, Virginia, but her heart was always in Colorado. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Ruth Thayer. She is survived by her daughter Andrea Alley and husband Ray; her son Curt Pigford and wife Dianne; grandchildren Paul Hauser; Aaron, Hailey, and Randon Pigford; Luke and Mark Alley; great-grandchildren Henry and Walker Hauser; her brother Charles Ennis and wife Ann; and numerous nieces and nephews. Barbara was a devoted mom, grandma, and great-grandma.
A private family celebration of life will be held in Newport News. The family wishes to express gratitude to the many dedicated and loving staff members of The Mennowood Retirement Community who helped care for her during her last years.
In her memory please consider a donation to the local food bank or a charity that benefits young children in some other way.  
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Bernice Marie-Daly

    Thank you Andrea for your open hearted love for your mom and sharing her story with us.
    I feel close to her through your great spirit and kindness.
    May you and she be at peace.

  2. Sharon Cleland

    Thank you, Andrea, for sharing this beautiful tribute to your mom.
    Her love, kindness and generosity live on in you.
    Blessings and peace be with you both.

    • Susan Ordahl Howland

      Dear Andrea and Curt,
      You had a lovely mom. She was always so kind when I came over to your house to play when we were kids. My heart goes out to and your family. Susie

  3. Dawn Harris

    Thank you Andrea for this beautiful tribute to Barbara
    She gave so much to her children and profession
    She is at home in rest and peace but not far away
    Her love and generous spirit remains in your heart.

  4. Maha

    My prayers and heartfelt condolences for the loss of your Mom dear Andrea.
    What an exceptional woman she was! Her life of service, love and excellence has evidently been reflected into yours.
    May you always hold fond memories of your time with her and may she Rest In Peace.

  5. Janet Ridley Dickson

    I loved Barbara for her fun & laughter. She cared so much for other people. We had such wonderful trips & fond memories during our travels to Europe. She will always have a special place in my heart. My condolences go out to Andrea & her beloved family.

  6. Helen Gallegos

    My condolences to Andrea and the family. I knew Barbara when I would visit Linnie and her mom. Lovely lady. R.I.P. Barbara!

  7. Jane Neff

    Barbara changed so many lives in a positive way. As a new teacher in the early 1970’s she offered me valuable guidance and words of encouragement that stuck with me my entire teaching career. She made a difference in the lives of so many people.

  8. Beth Carlson

    Barbara was a wonderful leader for many of us who were young teachers in the 70s and beyond. Her sense of humor brought a few moments of laughter when we wondered if we’d survive some of the challenges of teaching. I’m so glad her caring family and friends have made her life easier in the last several years.

  9. Ellen Weir Casey

    Barbara was my mentor when I began teaching Kindergarten in Colorado Springs School District 11. She was so knowledgeable, kind and supportive. I was so fond of her and she made a difference in my life. I went on to teach for 31 years. What a start she gave me.

  10. Stephanie Burton

    I was a preschool teacher in D11 and Barbara was my mentor, my good friend, and my substitute mom. How I loved spending time with her in the classroom and going out for lunch or coffee. She a was brilliant, kind, and compassionate woman who loved her family dearly and was devoted to her friends and to her profession. She was a blessing to the world.

  11. Marjorie Swearingen

    The warmth of Barbara’s smile, her kindness and compassion, her dedication to education and those she mentored, her wit and beautiful style and dignity will always remain in my heart. When I recall times spent with her as a colleague, and friend, fond memories, not to be forgotten, but always cherished, will remain a part of my life.

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