Services celebrating the life of Barbara Leigh Runyan, 76, of Inola, Oklahoma, will be Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 2:00 P.M. at Inola First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery in Inola under the direction of MMS Payne Funeral Service. Visitation will be Monday, November 28, 1:00 – 7:00 P.M. at Inola Funeral Home. Family will visit with friends 5:00-7:00 P.M.
Barbara Leigh Runyan was born April 20, 1946, in Long Beach, California to Robert and Virginia Lazzaro. She passed away peacefully November 21, 2022, surrounded by her family.
Barbara attended school in Tulsa and was a 1964 graduate of Tulsa Rogers High School. Upon her graduation from high school, she began attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It was there that she was swept off her feet by a college football player, who became the love of her life Dale Runyan. The college sweethearts were married April 15, 1966, and their love story began. They soon moved to Claremore and started a life together. While Dale began his coaching and teaching career, Barbara chose to be a homemaker for a while, then later worked at Claremore Finance and also Gymnastics City. Soon, Dale and Barbara moved to Inola, where they raised their family and became an integral part of the community and school system. Barbara returned to college where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She began her teaching career at Tiawah Schools, where she taught for two years. She then joined her husband at Inola Public Schools. She was the cheerleading coach at Inola for many years, and was a positive influence on so many of the cheerleaders that were under her. She remained at Inola until she finished her career, before retiring.
She was proud of her Italian heritage and loved cooking Italian food, with lasagna being her specialty. Barbara was also an avid reader and spent many hours at the town library in an effort to improve its services to the community. She also served as President of the Library Board of Directors. In addition to her civic involvements, Barbara was also quite the world traveler, making four overseas journeys to much of Europe, Scotland, and Ireland. However, her favorite place to travel was to Gulf Shores, Alabama, with her family. She enjoyed being on a sandy beach, as well as sunbathing at Spring Creek during the summers with family and friends.
Although she enjoyed traveling, Barbara’s favorite memories were made, while supporting and following her husband, children, and grandchildren in their activities. Whether it was attending their sporting events, teaching aerobic classes, or just being a loving wife, Mom, or Grammy, she was there. Barbara truly had a servant’s heart and her greatest joy came when she was taking care of friends and family. She left imprints on the hearts of those who had the pleasure of knowing her, including former students, friends, and family. She will be missed, but never forgotten.
Barbara is survived by her husband, Dale Runyan, her mother Virginia Lazzaro, her daughters Cindy Runyan and Amy Segelstrom, son Bryan Runyan and wife Leslie, her brother Robert James Lazzaro, and sister Leslie Westemeir and husband Terry. She is also survived by her grandchildren Mia Segelstrom, Elijah Runyan, Benjamin Runyan, and numerous other extended family members.
She is preceded in death by her father Robert Lazzaro.