Barbara Adelle Anderson (Cooney)
Barbara Adelle Anderson (Cooney)

August 22, 1944September 16, 2013 (69 years old)
Hometown: Richmond, MN
August 22, 1944September 16, 2013
(69 years old) | Richmond, MN

Life Story

Barbara Anderson was a beloved wife, mother, and community member whose life work was the vibrant children’s program at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, MN. Barbara is perhaps best known, though, for her wildly successful sunset career change to modeling.

Barbara Adelle Anderson (nee Cooney) was born on a humid August afternoon in tiny Richmond, MN, to Edwin and Ethel Cooney. The third of five children, Babs, as she came to be known, was naturally nurturing and responsible. Many described her as a loving soul. Her father was a farmer, so she also grew up with a love of working outside and later in life that transformed to a love of gardening.

Babs met her future husband Charlie at a church summer social. He was in town visiting family. They had a long courtship, marrying almost three years after they met.

After their marriage, Babs and Charlie moved to nearby St. Cloud to raise their children. Babs worked part time as the children’s program coordinator for their local Lutheran church, while Charlie worked for the school district. Babs was the mother of two beautiful children, Robbie and Susanne. Both children now reside in Minneapolis.

After her retirement from being the children’s director, Babs expressed to her husband a long held desire to try professional modeling. Charlie supported Babs and drove her to Minneapolis for all her auditions, and quickly, for her many photo shoots. Barbara’s biggest campaign was for a stock photo company and she was eventually picked as the sample model for a memorial portrait company in California, Paradise Pictures.

In late 2012 Barbara shared with her family this thought on her professional career: “I’ve worked all my life raising my two beautiful children and assisting to raise hundreds of others. But I never could have dreamed I’d get my image chosen by Paradise Pictures for their sample portrait. It’s a great honor.”

Babs died peacefully in her sleep on September 16, 2013, with friends and family by her side. She had recently returned to St. Cloud from a photo shoot for a seniors only cruise.