Arloa (Lillstrom) Barnabo


October 15, 2018

MANITOWISH WATERS, Wis. - Arloa (Lillstrom) Barnabo died peacefully at her home on Oct. 11, 2018. She was born on Father's Day, June 18, 1933, to Mauri and Hilma (Johnson) Lillstrom.

Arloa graduated from Hurley High School in 1951. During her senior year, she fell head over heals in love with her best friend and soulmate, Donald W. Barnabo. They were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hurley on Aug. 10, 1957.

Music played a major role in Arloa's life. She served as an organist at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Ironwood, Mich., St. Williams Catholic Church in Janesville and Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Manitowish Waters.

Arloa also helped organize, with the help of the Sister of St. Coletta, a religious education group for physically and mentally challenged children in Janesville. She also worked as a teacher's aide at Glen Oaks School and the Janesville Public School system entertaining the kids with her collection of children songs. Her students knew her as "Mrs. B the guitar lady.

Retiring to their Northwoods cottage in Manitowish Waters in 1989, Arloa enjoyed the outdoors fishing, snowmobiling and sunsets with her loving husband and good friends. She was an avid quilter and an active member of "The small-town quilters." She loved painting wildlife in art class and was also a member of the notorious singing group The Pinetones.

Arloa is survived by her husband of 61 years, Don Barnabo; children, Dana (Dan) Sweeney of Madison, Tom (Susan) Barnabo of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Lana Barnabo Knaack of Madison; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 11 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Manitowish Waters with a visitation from 9:30 a.m. to the time of the service. Burial will follow in Pinelawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt or HYF/Dr. Kate-Ministry Hospice.

Bolger Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family. Please visit


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