Barbara Joy McCombs Bright, age 94 years of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 with family gathered around at her home following an extended illness. Her family is grateful for the compassionate and capable care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
She was born on August 14, 1924 in Bertrand, Michigan to Samuel J. and Cecile (Kizer) McCombs, Jr. She was graduated from Niles Central High School in 1942, and immediately began working in the former Niles offices of the Kawneer Company. She later continued her career in the offices of the former Nelson Transfer company in Buchanan, Michigan until 1983, and then served as a private-duty nurse for Home Health Care. She has lived in Niles all of her life.
Barbara was a former member and Vice-President of the American Legion Post #26 Auxiliary, and a former member of the DAV Auxiliary in Niles, the Buchanan Professional Women’s Club, the Adult Literacy Program in Niles, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Niles. When her children were young, she volunteered with the Howard Township PTA, and Howard Township Cub Scouts.
More recently, she has been a member of the American Legion Post #51 Auxiliary in Buchanan, the Niles Senior Center, and the Cass County Council on Aging.
Barbara enjoyed camping with her young family at Tubbs Lake near Mecosta, Michigan, and at Camp Grayling during her husband’s annual National Guard training, and later, traveling throughout the western United States and Florida. At home, she crocheted many afghans, used those skills to mend injured stuffed animals, and wrote many letters. The dining room table was a favorite place for birdwatching and playing cards – both pastimes best done with grandchildren learning bird species or dominoes or “Uno”. And the kitchen often found her producing homemade pasta for spaghetti or french toast. Barbara loved her family, and the friends brought into her home by her children, and their children were always welcomed and quickly adopted into her family.
On January 11, 1946 in Niles she married Leroy J. Bright. Leroy had served in the United States Army during World War II, and had been awarded the distinguished Bronze Star Medal for Heroism, as well as the Purple Heart Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster. Barbara and Leroy celebrated the eighteenth anniversary of their wedding just days prior to his untimely death on February 2, 1964. She was also preceded in death by her parents, by her siblings, Henry McCombs, Sr., Kenneth J. “Mike” McCombs, Betty Frey, Bonnie Barber, and Sandra Dalenberg; and by a close friend, Jim Heiermann, and a long-time companion, Jack Howard Fisher in 2010.
Surviving family includes her children, Alan (& LuAnn) Bright of Niles, Tad (& Linda) Bright of Syracuse, Indiana, and Mark Bright serving on the USNS Pecos; grandchildren Chad Bright, Aaron Bright, Matt (& Heather) Bright, Kara (& Dave) Tague, Debbie (& Chad) Laughman, Michael Grice, Jeromie Bright, and Trysta Bright, and great-grandchildren Dominic Bright, Haylie Rizor, Avery Bright, Lillian Bright, Isaiah Bright-Tague, Dane Bright-Tague, Christopher Laughman, Emma Laughman, Jonathan Grice, Marissa Bright, Mason Tanner Bright, Stella Riley, Jay Riley, and another soon to arrive - much to Barbara’s delight; and Barbara’s brother Rex (& Doris) McCombs of Niles; and many nieces and nephews.
The Catholic Funeral Liturgy will be read for Barbara McCombs Bright at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 29, 2019 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles by Deacon Roger Gregorski of Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles. The Committal rite will follow at Smith Chapel Cemetery in Niles.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Sunday at the funeral home from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Contributions in memory of Barbara may be made to the Jay and Cecile McCombs Scholarship fund, c/o the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, 111 Days Avenue, Buchanan, Michigan, 49107; https://mgcf.org /.