Barbara “Barb” Cordle (née Wolcott) passed away on March 12th, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 80 years of age. 

Barb is survived by her children, Anthony “Tony” Cordle and Randolph “Randy” Cordle; siblings, Dorothy Lyczak (née Wolcott) and Dennis Wolcott; grandchildren, Aaron Cordle, Amanda Cordle, Nicole Cordle, Anthony Cordle, Ryan Cordle, Farrah Cordle, and Georgio Chacon; nieces and nephews, Cinda Torregrossa (née Carey), DeAnna Fowler (née Borton), Chaz Wolcott, Jeff Wolcott, Greg Wolcott, Teresa Ward (née Wolcott) and David Wolcott. 

Barb was preceded in death by siblings, William “Billy” Wolcott and Ritchie “Buzz” Wolcott and her parents, Rhea Aline Richards (née Hans) and Richard Wolcott.  She will also be rejoining over a hundred of “God’s Children” who died of AIDS in her motherly loving arms at Pater Noster (Our Father’s) House in Columbus, Ohio. She was married for many years to Ollie “Tony” Cordle (deceased).

Barb Cordle was born on October 1st, 1939, in Akron, Ohio. The oldest of five children, Barb developed a nurturing, selfless manner as she helped her single mother raise her younger siblings.  At age 9, Barb selflessly saved a younger brother by pushing him to safety before being run over herself and dragged a long distance by a dump truck full of steel. Barb spent over a year in the hospital and had dozens of surgeries, but was losing her battle to save a leg due to continually worsening infection. To the amazement of her treating physicians, who later claimed there was no medical explanation for her sudden improvement, Barb’s leg, although scared, finally healed. Through the Grace of God, her unwavering belief in the power of prayer, and Holy Water, she secretly sprinkled on the festering wounds during painful dressing changes, her infection disappeared, and her skin grafts finally “stuck.” 

During an early surgical resuscitation, she was pronounced dead. However, Barb then was revived with a startle after leaving the “Great Light” encompassing her, and “Knowing God” in a way she could never fully explain except by repeating, “It was Love.” During this experience she could see her resuscitation, but felt no fear. Barb remembered hearing, “Your work is not done” before suddenly becoming reunited with her earthly body. From that day forward, she never feared death or meeting, Christ, “again.” When reflecting on her life, however, she did always say, “I hope He has a sense of humor.” Barb’s survival and subsequent healing was never counted as an “official” miracle but was described as such by her treating physicians. 

God had a plan for Barb to fulfill in the hour of His choosing. Still, it would be decades before He would illuminate her true vocation.  

Barb graduated from St. Mary of the Springs Catholic High School, Columbus, Ohio, in 1957. She was referred to by one of her closest friends, who later became a Catholic Missionary Priest, as one of the Three Musketeers. One of the other Musketeers became a Dominican Sister, and Barb became a Discalced Carmelite in The Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. This little known fact surprised no one who knew of it, but most never noticed the scapular worn throughout her adult life and at the moment of her death.  There was no reason to tell people when they need only to witness her actions to know God was working through her.  In Barb’s twilight years, her St. Mary of the Springs Alumnae recognized her for her life of humanitarian outreach.

Subsequently, she graduated from Mt. Carmel School of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio, after being told by an instructor concerned for her future mental health that she might be “too caring” to be a nurse. Barb worked as a nurse in various capacities for years and always wore her heart on her sleeve.  In 1974 a horrible tornado tore through Xenia, Ohio. Barb, without any preparation, joined the relief effort and helped to care for many injured and homeless people without personal concern for her safety.   

Barb was an amazing mother, as well.  While her boys were young, she helped teach at the schools, was a crossing guard, had leadership roles in the PTA, was a Boy Scout Leader, chased drug dealers away from school zones, etc.  Barb also served as the neighborhood pancake breakfast cook-with chocolate chips and specially shaped pancakes, of course.  Her breakfast table was always open and typically crowded, often managing three griddles simultaneously to keep up with the appetite of the neighborhood boys and the occasional brave girl.  When she learned that a group of the boys was skipping high school and hiding out playing Atari, she did not get angry but instead showed up at the door bearing bags of White Castle hamburgers; feed now, and discipline later.  She officiated the “wedding” of two dogs who shocked the neighborhood children with premarital reproductive activities.  She connected with all these youths, many of whom, in their later times of need, sought her comfort and guidance.

As the years progressed, a new vocation called; helping the poor. Barb met a fellow parishioner at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Columbus, Ohio, who was down on his luck and could not find a job, so she responded by praying and ultimately creating, “The Church’s Free Job List.” Through this ministry, she found hundreds, possibly thousands, of people jobs while simultaneously providing for their material and spiritual needs. From the kitchen table and a few old file boxes, she created an expansive network of employers, service providers, and people willing to help when they could by matching willing people with real jobs.

Then in the 1980s, with the onset of the AIDS pandemic, her vocation expanded, and Barb found her true calling; the “Cup” God had prepared for her and which she readily accepted.  Barb loved and cared for thousands of individuals with AIDS.  At this time, these individuals were primarily shunned and feared by others, including much of the medical community.  Barb had no fear, often quoting Deuteronomy 31:8 when confronted, she comforted those afflicted with no concern for own safety. Barb once said, “God told me this is what I am supposed to do.”

Subsequently, the Pater Noster homes were founded.  It was in these homes that Barb comforted the sick and gave dignity to the dying.  The then-controversial LIFE Magazine pictorial found here illustrates AIDS in this period and Barb’s work ( Barb’s hand was resting on David Kirby’s, moments before his death; another warrior passed.  It was 1990, and this was a familiar scene for these people who rarely lived for more than a decade with the virus. These photos put a face to AIDS, one that could not be ignored.  Barb was always hands-on, believing in people’s inherent need for touch and connection. It was not uncommon to find her holding an AIDS patient in her arms at the time of their death.

Amazingly, despite unprecedented potential exposure to the then mostly misunderstood HIV, including dozens of needle sticks from highly contagious patients, she never contracted the disease. This remarkable fact led medical researchers to take blood samples over the years to search for what cell or chemical protected her.   She was a realist and preached the scientific principles to prevent exposure, but she knew they were looking in the wrong place to find her shield. 

During this period, when people refused to adopt or foster children with the virus, she accepted them with open arms. More than a few were suddenly a part of her household.  When a national supermarket chain refused to let children with HIV enter their play areas, she accepted the challenge, educated their boards, and helped them write reasonable guidelines. She participated eagerly in writing national legislation, which was later adopted to assure children with HIV could go to school and live fully integrated lives without unwarranted social stigma.  HIV positive children are welcomed in such public settings today in no small part due to the courage Barb showed in confronting the misplaced fears held by influential yet misguided people.  

Over the years, her faith in God and remarkable fearlessness in His name occurred again and again. She walked into crack houses past armed gang members, who guarded the doors, with a dismissive wave of her hand to rescue clients within.  On the way out, she stopped to give the gang members her card, suggesting that they give up their poor choices and see her for help getting their life back in order. In one such case, where the local police had the house under surveillance, they later commented that they were shocked when she just marched up the stairs and through the doors.  The Officer said they would not have attempted entry without a SWAT team for backup. Barb stood toe-to-toe with thugs threatening those she loved.  She helped guide a misinformed health department on HIV prevention practices at a time when they were out of touch with this community.  Barb started a needle exchange program long before it was mainstream or accepted practice. Before the San Francisco program, there was Barb.  Barb asked for forgiveness as a Catholic before putting boxes, actually nearly crates, of condoms out as a practical way to hopefully decrease the transmission of the disease. 

Barb would be the first to admit that she was horrible with finances; she didn’t understand them and didn’t want to. When the money was out, and the bills were due, she would remain upbeat and say, “Don’t worry, God has this.” And true to her belief, God provided time after time.  Once when funds were tight and the Pater Noster transportation had finally broken down, a local Christian charity group arrived at her doorstep.  Their representative said, “We don’t need this wheelchair van any longer, and something told us you could use it.  Could you take it?” Once, someone stopped for directions, at her rural “AIDS House.” After learning of her work, the passerby wrote a donation check for thousands of dollars. The rent was due that day. Too many times to count, with sometimes only hours to spare, a stranger or someone who knew her work would just show up and answer, “Here I am.” Barb died with very few possessions and six dollars and eighteen cents to her name.  On the other hand, she leaves behind too many loved ones to count, precisely reflecting her values and how she would have wanted to go out of this world.

 As evidenced by her incredible works, Barb was an active, devout, and as she would say, “an imperfect member” of the Catholic Church.  Barb always emulated the teachings of St. Theresa of Calcutta, the generosity and desire to help the afflicted of St. Francis of Assisi, and the incomprehensible love of St. Mary, the Mother of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Barb devoted her entire life as a volunteer to whoever needed her assistance. She was generous to a fault. Once she received a fancy new coat as a Christmas gift.  She wore it out to one of her favorite restaurants, The Spaghetti Warehouse, that very same night.  At the restaurant, Barb excused herself, and when she returned, the coat was not with her.  She had given it to a stranger she saw in the parking lot at the restaurant 10 minutes earlier.  When asked, Barb simply said, “They needed it more,” “could you pass the cheese” or something like that. Most gifts given to Barb were only temporarily in her possession.  She was just a conduit of giving.  Even after death, she demonstrated this unusual trait through partnering with LifeLink of Florida.  She wanted to impact at least one more life, even after death. 

Just one more…

Barb would list her faults, quite readily, but they were trivial on the scale of a life well-lived for the betterment of the individuals around her. She frequently said, “Many want to change the lives of large groups all at once, but I prefer to focus on the individual and make a small change in that person’s life.” She certainly changed many lives, one at a time.  

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, her memorial service will be on October 1st, her birthdate, at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Columbus, Ohio.  Celebrants will include Father Connelly, (Pastor) and Father Deville, a dear friend and advisor of Barbs.  All are welcome to attend and celebrate Barb’s life. Please add this date to your calendars.  In Honor of Barb, please consider bringing a single red Rose to the service, a symbol so significant in and representative of her life.

She asked that donations be sent to The Saint Vincent de Paul Society:

Public Condolences, Stories, and Pictures are much appreciated:

Private Condolences:

Posted by Patricio Follette on March 30, 2020
I apologize for the mistake my phone auto corrected and it was supposed to say Barb.
Posted by Patricio Follette on March 30, 2020
Herb could light up a room when she came in and she did that the first night I met her at the nursing home. She was very helpful from the beginning out in the smoking area including the rules that they had in place about the smoking area. She made sure that I knew other things too and was very helpful when my friend Marianne was in the hospital let me know how she was doing and sadly she did not make it either. It was a pleasure to no Barb and I will always remember her fondly.
Posted by Gregory Lyczak on March 28, 2020
My deepest sympathies to a wonderful family, mirrored by the beautiful lady who raised them. Barb used to say I was her favorite brother-in-law and loved my homemade spaghetti. Of course Barb would say that rather than hurt my feelings and besides that, I was her ONLY brother-in-law. I will always miss her smile and gentile demeanor. I'll always remember when she and Dotty went to Washington DC. She received an award from the White House for her work at Pater Nostra House. The only thing Barb ever bragged about was her children; never awards. This world is a darker place without her. Put a good word in for me to Jesus Barb, I don't want to stand in line for days.
Posted by Teresa Wolcott on March 25, 2020
Please forgive me because I was traveling & just found out Aunt Barb has passed. May God console all hearts that knew & loved her, she will be very much missed.
Thank you Aunt Barb for all you did throughout your life & your beautiful smile will be missed.
Blessings, Teresa
Posted by Lyn Orona on March 25, 2020
First let me say how sorry I am to hear of Barb's passing. A long time ago, thru our church, I volunteered to work with the teen youth group. That's how I met Barb and her sons Randy and Tony. I remember her as very loving and giving. If I needed anything, she was always there to help. People like that you don't meet everyday. The youth group, of course, all grown now, was and still is the joy of my life
Posted by Janet Vail on March 24, 2020
I'm not sure when l met Barb, l moved to Florida in 1996 to take care of my parents. But when we did meet, we instantly became friends, both of us being nurses. I was amazed how she created the Pater Nastor homes out of nothing but her perservence, she was always amazed at what l did clinically in my career - it was a mutual admiration friendship. Even reading her bio l learned much more. She had a great sense of humor! I was able to get to know Tony personally, and Randy through the stories she told, proud mama she was. Being a nurse in the 80's, l too had to deal with AIDES precautions and issues. Life magazine' s cover was so impactful at the time, never imagining that my future friend facilitated and was part of that - amazing. Later as my mother's dementia worsened, Barb took care of her several days each week which allowed me to get out to grocery shop,etc. My Mom loved Barb and always looked forward to her. Amazing is the word l see often in others tributes, she was the quite, humble embodiment of Amazing. Thank Barb for being my friend. I hope Tony and Randy can find comfort in all these tributes. Love to you all.
Posted by L R on March 23, 2020
So sorry for your loss. She was a great lady. Many fond memories of her. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Lisa Riley
Posted by Tamra Turner on March 23, 2020
I didn't get to spend as much time with my Great Aunt Barb but I have great memories from the time I did get to spend with her. I loved getting to know all about her and her beautiful accomplishments. Watching my Grandma and her sister together was always beautiful. When we came to visit last summer I was able to spend time with Barb and I am so thankful for that. Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel after allowing her to be an Angel here on earth. I love you Aunt Barb and you will be missed by so many!!
Posted by Harry Nolan III on March 22, 2020
Go in peace Barbara, your job is done and you can rest now. It was my pleasure that our paths crossed and I got to know a very caring and wonderful person. You will be missed and especially at the Fordham Condos, you were loved by all that knew you.
Posted by Tammy Weis on March 22, 2020
I often saw patients at Pater Noster House in the 90s and Barb was a wonderful tireless supporter and caregiver. She will be missed!
Posted by Laura Brown on March 22, 2020
I sobbed when I read the obituary. Barb was the most amazing woman I ever met. I was an AIDS social worker through the 1990's, so our paths crossed frequently. I began to love my frequent home visits to Pater Noster House. Barb assisted me with my master's thesis by letting me interview willing residents. She was just the most amazing woman, and inspired all she knew. God bless you Barb.
Posted by Jason Christman on March 22, 2020
Barb was so wonderful and caring. She would always look out for my dad when they shared time in the same home facility until he passed away. She used to have a wonderful positive outlook and always ready to share a kind word and a smile. Her place among the angels is assured. I want to thank her for all she meant to me and my father. May God bless her and her family and may her memory be cherished for her large and wonderful heart.
Posted by Ann Seren on March 22, 2020
I am a 1957 graduating classmate of Barb's at St. Mary of the Springs Academy (1830-1968) in Columbus Ohio.
Many years after graduation, we met again in a store front on W. Broad St in Columbus. She was running a " Free Job List" and I seem to recall a free clothing distribution there also. At the same time, she was managing apartments nearby housing AIDS patients.
In her bio for our 50th HS reunion, she wrote, " 109 patients died in my arms."
May she rest in peace.
Annie McKinnon Seren
Posted by Barb Minister on March 21, 2020
I met Barb while working at the City of Columbus, Division of Electricity with her husband Tony. She was so easy to talk to and somehow we started to talk about the “AIDS” house as I recall. She was telling me about a little boy that was about to have his first birthday and no one thought he would make it. I told her my mom was the “Cake Lady” and Rockwell Clown and asked her if it would be ok if she could make a cake and we could deliver it. Barb was Ecstatic. I made and decorated cakes with mom all the time so I knew she would be all in. I went home and told mom (Mary Teal) she was so touched.. Oh course, we can do this but on one condition, you must dress up as a clown when we delivered the cake..!!. so that Saturday off we went! In the kitchen the little boy sat in his high chair and ate happily .. as mom made balloon animals ... so happy and sad... Barb was thrilled, then mom asked if there were other residence there and Barb said yes and some were very sick. You must realize back then it was taboo to be near a HIV patient let alone caring or being in the same room. So, off we went in our clown outfits trying to bring smiles to all. My mother and Barb C. were angels on earth. I witnessed something special that day that I will cherish forever. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Barb.

I often wondered what happened to that little boy since he was Abandon . I found out years later at Tony’s funeral that Barb adopted him and he is living life to its fullest! What a blessed mom you had, I will remember and think of her until I see her again. God Bless you!

Posted by T Richards on March 21, 2020
My heart goes out to your family. The only consolation I might offer is that this world’s loss gives God reason to celebrate a GREAT Child of God coming home. Barb stands out in my memory as the most loving selfless individual I’ve ever known.

I was attending the memorial service for Barb’s mom, Rhea Hans Wolcott Richards, when I learned brother Billy had been moved to Hospice. I chose to go there rather than remain at the memorial. And there sat Barb, at Billy’s bedside, holding his hand. Billy and I had been close as teenagers, so to see her care for him gave me some comfort at his passing, and she definitely comforted Billy.

Barb was a truly amazing and incredibly gifted human being, blessed with the spirit of Christ inside her.

Rest in Peace, Barb, with God’s Love.
Posted by Randolph Cordle on March 21, 2020
She also left a note about how she hoped we would reflect on her life...

"She wasn't very good at financial matters. She never learned to ride a bike or drive on freeways. Her "halo" was bent but she spent her life trying to be a small shadow of Our Father's Love to her family, her friends, and her patients at Pater Noster House."
Posted by Randolph Cordle on March 21, 2020
I just found a note from many years ago. I asked Mom what she wanted her loved ones to know.

Her Responses:

I wish to have my family and friends know that I love them.

I wish to be forgiven for the times I have hurt my family, friends, and others.

I wish to have my family, friends, and others know that I forgive them for when they may have hurt me in my life.

I wish for my family and friends to know that I do not fear death itself. I think it is not the end, but a new beginning for me.

I wish for all of my family members to make peace with each other before my death if they can.

I wish for my family and friends to think about what I was like before I became seriously ill. I want them to remember me in this way after my death.

I wish for my family and friends and caregivers to respect my wishes even if they don't agree with them.

I wish for my family and friends to look at my dying as a time of personal growth for everyone, including me. This will help me live a meaningful life in my final days. 

I wish for my family and friends to get counseling if they have trouble with my death. I want memories of my life to give them joy and not sorrow.

Posted by Dorothy Lyczak on March 21, 2020
Barb is my only sister by birth...I am still trying to accept that she is gone and that I can't just pick up the phone and call her or message her like we did 10 times a day. Barb was my role model growing up and even a second mother to me and my brothers. There is so much to say about her that it would take at least a book to mention every little thing she ever did for others. She always gave a red rose to people and said it was a sign for a new beginning and I used to tell her she needed to change her name to Rose.
She was a fun person and a loving sister, daughter, mother, grandma, aunt and friend. She gave out love to everyone and walked in the footsteps of Jesus all of her life....Her job here was finished and Jesus called her home. Her heavenly rewards will be many...and I know she will give them away to others instead of keeping them for herself.
I love you MORE big sister...and someday I will be there with you and the rest of our great family. We can all rejoice and praise the Lord day and night together....Thank you Barbie for being my big sister .... I miss you so much.....Your pesty little sister, Dotty
Posted by Vonda Abbott on March 21, 2020
Barb was my face book friend, I never met her in person but she was a wonderful lady. I lived beside her Mother in Gulfport, Florida. and knew her sister, Dotty. What a wonderful family. I know Dotty and her family are heart broken but she would want you to celebrate her amazing life and remember that she is with her family in Heaven and having a wonderful time rejoicing. 
Posted by Daynetta Dammak on March 20, 2020
I worked with Barb at Boca Ciega Center when I first became a nurse almost 15 years ago We often relieved each other on the dementia unit and she taught me so much as a new nurse. I knew there was a reason this nurse was different than the rest and now reading her story helps me understand really just how selfless she was. I used to wonder how someone could be so sweet, compassionate and caring at all times. Barb was truly a saint I am happy to say she was an angel that passed through my life
Posted by Brad Lovett on March 20, 2020
I'm so sorry to hear about Barb's passing. Her life was fully dedicated to "the least of these". Jennifer Prairie Lovett and I share our deepest condolences. "Well done, good and faithful servant".
Posted by Gail Pacillo-Wiley on March 20, 2020
To Barb's family, I had the wonderful privilege of working with Barb for several years before she retired. Loved working with her she always had an upbeat attitude and made me laugh on many occasion when times were rough on the job. She was a wonderful compassionate warm loving person and I loved working with her. God has another Angel for sure. What a beautiful tribute to her by her family. I knew of her work with AID's but nothing else mentioned in the tribute she truly was a Saint. My thought's & prayer's are with you all. Gail & Gray Wiley
Posted by Anna Hunter on March 20, 2020
What an incredible life full of love and service! This angel on earth is now one in heaven. Our deepest condolences to her family.
Anna and Gerald Hunter

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Patricio Follette on March 30, 2020
I apologize for the mistake my phone auto corrected and it was supposed to say Barb.
Posted by Patricio Follette on March 30, 2020
Herb could light up a room when she came in and she did that the first night I met her at the nursing home. She was very helpful from the beginning out in the smoking area including the rules that they had in place about the smoking area. She made sure that I knew other things too and was very helpful when my friend Marianne was in the hospital let me know how she was doing and sadly she did not make it either. It was a pleasure to no Barb and I will always remember her fondly.
Posted by Gregory Lyczak on March 28, 2020
My deepest sympathies to a wonderful family, mirrored by the beautiful lady who raised them. Barb used to say I was her favorite brother-in-law and loved my homemade spaghetti. Of course Barb would say that rather than hurt my feelings and besides that, I was her ONLY brother-in-law. I will always miss her smile and gentile demeanor. I'll always remember when she and Dotty went to Washington DC. She received an award from the White House for her work at Pater Nostra House. The only thing Barb ever bragged about was her children; never awards. This world is a darker place without her. Put a good word in for me to Jesus Barb, I don't want to stand in line for days.
Recent stories

A Gal-Pal indeed...

Shared by Mel Szal on March 27, 2020
I was very fortunate to be Miss Barb's nurse for a while. She moved from where I was working and I knew that she was very special and I wanted to be friends. She and I kept in touch from time to time, I took her out for lunch one afternoon and had a blast. We had such a great time, laughed and shared stories. What an amazing woman I thought to myself...and now I realize what an amazing angel she was on this earth. The Lord blessed us all with her kind spirit and smile. May she rest in Barb's family, may you feel at ease to know that she is surely at God's side and smiling down at are all in my prayers. God bless you, and be well ;)
Shared by Traycee Williams on March 21, 2020
The little girl in the wheelchair in the babysitting picture is my sister Connie Short. Barb was a wonderful caregiver to her - from her special pancakes to the hair bows, to the trips to Friendly's down the street. Connie still talks about her to this day! My family will always remember her fondly. Heaven received a wonderful angel. Continued prayers to the family.
Shared by Tonya Sahr Sahr on March 20, 2020
Made the Last few months of my brothers life a joy . Made my family feel like we were part of hers . What a wonderful lady . Angle on earth now in heaven .