Barbara Anne Zuniga

Barbara Anne Zuniga, age 85, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 24, 2023 in Birmingham, AL.  A tribute to Barbara’s life will take place on June 6, 2024, on what would have been her 86th birthday. 

It’s fitting that Barbara left her family the day after Thanksgiving – her favorite holiday – an occasion to cook and be around her beloved family and friends. To this day – we’ve never had better stuffing or tastier turkey. Her memory lives on in her four daughters (and their spouses) who she saw reach 60 years of age, her 8 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and multiple four-legged grand pups.

Barbara was born in Oneonta, Alabama in 1938 and often shared the story of spending each school year in a different location until her junior and senior year where she graduated from Deer Park High School in Ohio. Up until then, the Stones lived in 14 locations from the deep south to the mid-Atlantic states and into the north east – including a year in Guatemala.

Her high school yearbook senior quote fits her like a glove – “Good nature is one of the richest gifts.”  During her last two years in a new high school, she jumped right into making friends and excelled in choir, theatre and sports.  She was also senior homecoming attendant, class treasurer, student council social manager and business manager of the yearbook staff – never shying away from leadership roles.

Upon graduation in 1956, she was met with the choice of college or travel to Cambodia with her family. Always adventurous, Barbara chose the latter and a new chapter began when she met her future husband from Carlsbad, NM – Praxedis Sotelo Zuniga. Life took them to Thailand, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Illinois; and later retirement in Birmingham, Alabama.  They were married for 43 years. 

Over the years, Barbara stayed active in her daughter’s lives by exposing them to arts, music and culture.  She was the best Girl Scout leader and loved camping out, hiking and anything outdoors.  In later years, she began a career in retail working at Hallmark stores in Chicago and then Birmingham.  She was your neighborhood Hallmark lady and she was great at it, rising to the level of regional manager for Lynn’s Hallmark stores in Bham.  Working five years in the nonprofit world was a time very close to her heart. As office manager for the YWCA West Suburban Area in Chicago, it gave her the opportunity to help others which is something that Barbara tried to do every day of her life. 

Barbara was a stranger to no one.  She made friends everywhere, even in the grocery aisle where she would quickly learn a person’s life story.  When starting any new hobby, she went all out securing all supplies and sharing her excitement in the creative process.  No matter what it was, it could be thrifting décor or books for her home and gifts for others, crafting fleece blankets for family, knitting dish cloths for her grandchildren or making her delicious Mexican salsa for parties and gatherings which everyone loved and expected, she put her heart into everything she created. 

A breast cancer survivor for 15 years, Barbara was strong in both will and persistence. She spent her final days with all four daughters talking and singing – laughing and crying – and having their Hallmark moments together. 

Barbara is preceded in death by her husband, Praxedis Sotelo Zuniga, her parents, Onnie William and Virginia Louise Stone (Westover, AL), and her sister, Virginia Gail Thomas (Hoover, AL).    

She leaves behind her four daughters:  Teresa (Eddie) Zuniga Odom – Hoover, AL, Helena (Joe) Dreyer – McKinney, TX, Laurie (Jim) Witthoff – Naperville, IL, and Susanne Kanista (Ken) Mitchell – Durham, NC.   Eight (8) grandchildren:  Adam (Beth) Dreyer, Jake (Beth)Dreyer, Erin (Jon) Beatty, Kristen Witthoff, David Witthoff, Charlie Odom, Anna Marie (Ryan) Dunne, and Emily Ruth (Jeff) Brown.  Thirteen (13) Great-Grandchildren:  Ramona, Nolan and Neil Dreyer, Shepherd, Rhett, Ransom and Lily Kate Dreyer, Cameron Beatty, Amelia, Evelyn and Noah Dunne, Harper Ruth and Hudson Brown.  And a multitude of nieces and nephews across the United States that she loved dearly.

A Celebration of Life Memorial service for Barbara is planned for Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 2 p.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Hoover, AL, with Father John Fallon as Officiant.  Visitation is at 1 p.m.  A lunch reception at Deasy Hall will immediately follow the memorial service.  The family looks forward to greeting everyone who knew Barbara and hearing any stories to be shared as these stories help keep her memory alive and are a great way to honor her. 


  1. Tammy Bringaze on June 7, 2024 at 12:35 am

    So many loving and wonderful memories of Mrs. Z. I am so grateful to have known her; such a special soul ❤️.