Marilee Wilshire Barfield

Published 8:40 pm Saturday, January 6, 2018

Marilee Wilshire Barfield, aged 93, passed away peacefully on Jan. 3, 2018 at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. Marilee was born on March 2, 1924 in Houston, Texas. Growing up in the Heights area of Houston, Marilee graduated from John H. Reagan High School, now known as Heights High, in 1942.

In 1943 during WWII, Marilee met her husband, Barwick Odessa “Bob” Barfield of Vicksburg while he was an aviation cadet at Ellington Field in Houston. They were married later that year before Barwick was commissioned and deployed to southeast England as a second lieutenant and navigator in the Army Air Corps. While conducting his 13th mission, Barwick was shot down over Germany, resulting in his capture as a POW for the remainder of the war. During this time, Marilee was living in Houston, working for the Department of War.

After the war ended, the couple lived in Vicksburg, but in 1946, they moved to Baton Rouge where Barwick attended and graduated from LSU. In 1950, they returned to Vicksburg, where Barwick operated an appliance and feed and seed store. In 1958, Marilee and Barwick moved to Lake Charles, La., where Barwick began his business career that moved the family to various cities in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri over the next several decades. In 1977, they moved back to Baton Rouge where they settled permanently. 

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During this time, Marilee enjoyed volunteering for hospitals and the Louisiana Red Cross, and in 1990, was selected the Louisiana Red Cross Volunteer of the Year. Marilee enjoyed participating in various clubs and activities, including local garden clubs, the Woman’s Club of Baton Rouge and singing in the Baton Rouge Music Club Chorus. 

She was a long- time member of First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, where she was active in the women’s church circle for many years. Due to her husband’s POW status during WWII, she was also a member of the Baton Rouge (Red Stick) chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, a not-for-profit, veterans’ service organization advocating for former prisoners of war and their families. In 1993, Marilee wrote, “Days Not Forgotten”, a memoir chronicling her husband’s days as a POW in Germany, as well as her experiences on the home front as the young wife of a POW. 

Marilee enjoyed national and international travel, supporting the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and was an avid reader. She enjoyed Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy spy thrillers the most, but was especially proud the day she completed Leo Tolstoy’s great novel, Anna Karenina.

Marilee was preceded in death by Barwick, her husband of 59 years, and their son Eugene Kline Barfield. 

Known as a wonderful mother, wife, lady and friend, Marilee is survived by her children, Barwick O. “Wick” Barfield Jr (Cynda), Denise Alba (Adrian Jr) and Pamela Katz (Stephen); three grandchildren, Adrian III (Florencia), Lauren Alba, and Barwick III “Trea” (Casey); and 3 great-grandchildren, Cameron Alba, Jacob Alba and Kimber Claire Barfield. 

Visitation will be at 9 a.m., with services beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Riles Funeral Home in Vicksburg. Burial will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery, also in Vicksburg.