Barbara Lee (Bailey) Ferraro

June 16, 1932 ~ January 23, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Barbara Ferraro Obituary

Barbara L. Ferraro of South Bend, Indiana, passed away on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at the  home of her daughter Jill Ferraro and son-in-law Keith Weidner, as she declined from dementia. Barb was 91 years old.

Born on June 16, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan, Barb was the youngest of two children and the only daughter of parents Joseph Bailey and Lucille Poser. She spent her childhood in Michigan, Florida and Indiana and graduated from South Bend’s Central High School.

In 1952, at the age of 19, Barb married Patrick Joseph Ferraro. They were together for 67 years and raised two sons and three daughters in South Bend. The Ferraro Family were long-standing members of Little Flower Catholic Church.

Barb’s life was an imagination-catching tapestry of daily hard work, off-beat perspectives, artistic pursuits, intellectual curiosity, political passion, frugal lifestyle, easy laughter and undeniable parental love.

Without question, her proudest life achievement was spearheading and leading an historic union organizing drive among dozens of her fellow secretaries working for the South Bend Community School Corporation. After a predictably long struggle, the secretaries won. Their first-ever collective bargaining contract was with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Barb’s other talents were so wide, so varied. She played the piano; painted with watercolors; sewed anything she put her mind to; designed parts of two family homes; converted a household linen closet to a telephone booth, executing all the manual labor herself.

Barb was also a voracious reader of non-fiction (politics, philosophy, religion, history, biography). She cared about national politics; was pretty good at investing; excellent with numbers; and a graceful swimmer and diver.

At every stage of her sons’ and daughters’ lives, Barb supported them, from helping with homework assignments in childhood to assisting with moves across the country in adulthood. She encouraged her children to do their best in life and find their own way, even when she didn’t always agree with their choices.  

Over the course of their lives, Barb and husband Pat generously opened their home to people in need from a few days to a couple years at a time. They believed it was their ethical duty, when possible, to respond to others less fortunate.

Barb is survived by her five children, John (Wanda) of Plano, TX; Cathleen of Sacramento, CA; Jill (Keith) of Granger, IN; Francine Whiteford of Mishawaka, IN; Daniel (Annie) of Indianapolis, IN; as well as six grandchildren, Michael Ferraro, Nicole Ferraro, Sydney Whiteford, Sophie Whiteford, Dominic Ferraro and Gianna Ferraro; sister-in-law Rose Sullivan and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins in the Midwest, East and West Coasts.

Barb was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother Joseph “Budd” Bailey, sisters-in-law Lorraine Mollica, Rosetta Ferraro and Theresa Pilarski, brothers-in-law Rocco Ferraro, Edward Pilarski and Edward Sullivan, son-in-law Jerry Whiteford, and niece Mary Ann Ferraro.

The family will receive friends and relatives at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 N. Fir Road, Granger on Saturday, February 17, 2024, 9a-10:30a.  A mass of Christian burial will immediately follow at the same location beginning at 10:30a.

Mass will be live streamed at or

In lieu of flowers, the Ferraro family would be grateful for tax-deductible donations to one of the following charities:

Center for Hospice Care, Mishawaka, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, Indiana, 46545, or Eugene V. Debs Foundation, P.O. Box 9454, Terre Haute, Indiana, 47808, or St. Joseph Public Library, 304 S. Main St., South Bend, Indiana 46601

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barbara Lee (Bailey) Ferraro, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Barbara Lee (Bailey) Ferraro?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Barbara's memory.


February 17, 2024

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
St. Pius X

Mass of Christian Burial
February 17, 2024

10:30 AM
St. Pius X, Granger Chapel


© 2024 McGann Hay Funerals, Cremations. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility