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Barbara Jean (Smith) Zvonar died Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021 at the age of 93. She was a life-long resident of the Tri-City Area, spending her final years at Woodland Terrace in Coloma. Family members were by her side when she peacefully passed away.

Preceding her in death are her beloved husband, Frank R. Zvonar; a son, Daniel P. Zvonar; and grandchildren, Tyler J. Carr and Jennifer Zvonar. She was also preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and one sister.

Born Aug. 3, 1928, Barbara was the third of eight children born to Nat and Ruth Smith. Although she was born in Holland, MI, her parents moved to Van Buren County near the James Smith Family farm when she was only three years old. It was on this family farm that she spent most of her early life.

During her elementary school years she attended the Irish School on the County Line Road and from there went to Watervliet High School, graduating in 1944 at the age of 16. She next completed a two-year college business course in Elkhart, Indiana and from there accepted a secretarial position at the Auto Specialties plant in Hartford where she worked until the birth of her first child. When her children got older Barbara worked and retired from Michigan Fruit Canners in Coloma where she was the manager of shipments and inventory.

On June 18, 1949, she married the love of her life, Frank Robert Zvonar (1920 – 2004) a naval veteran of World War II. Their 55-year marriage was blessed by seven healthy, beautiful children all reared in the family home on Hagar Shore Road. After the last child had wed, Frank and Barbara moved to a home on Wil-O-Paw Drive for their retirement years.

As a busy mother, Barbara enjoyed sewing, cooking, home decorating, weekly get-togethers with siblings and friends, boating on Paw Paw Lake, and gardening. In later years she took an interest in the history of the Irish school and settlement. Thanks to her years of research in that area much information was passed along to local historical groups, for instance the Irish Settlement was instrumental in establishing the Catholic Church in Watervliet. She also spent numerous hours on the genealogy of her family, combing through back issues of the Watervliet Record for obituaries and birth announcements along with relevant news articles.

She enjoyed traveling to see points of interest and to visit relatives who lived outside the state. She particularly enjoyed winter visits with her sister, Beverly, in Florida and daughter Mary, in Virginia and Cindy in Kentucky.

She was an active, life-long member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Watervliet and held dear all the friends and family who worshiped there with her through the years.

Barbara is survived by sons: Robert F. Zvonar; William M. (Linda) Zvonar; and Frank J. (Sue) Zvonar. Surviving daughters are Cynthia A. Zvonar; Mary E. (Ron Graham) Zvonar; and Nancy J. (James) Parmer. Two sisters also survive: Kathryn (Pete) Hofstetter of Virginia and Natalie (Richard) Hartstein, Bainbridge Center. Also left to mourn are 15 grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, two great-grandchildren on the way, and five step-great-grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Monday, Aug. 16, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Watervliet. Burial followed in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Watervliet. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Barbara’s family at


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