Barbara Kwilinski

Barbara KwilinskiMason – Age 85, passed away March 18, 2024, and now rests in the arms of the love of her life.  She was born May 26, 1938, in Holt, Michigan, to Elmer and Flora Riggs. She was a graduate of Holt High School.

Surviving are: her daughters, Jane Surato-Lyon (Todd), Coni Spray (Craig); Kelly Christmas (Dave); and son, John Kwilinski II; grandchildren, Joshua Christmas, Jessica Comer (Mark), Dakota Surato- Lawler, Gabriella Johnson (Evan), Becca Surato, Ben Surato, Jared Surato (Sarah), Jenna Spray, Spencer Spray; great-grandchildren, Nathan Palomo, Elise Comer, Sophia Johnson and Ellie Johnson, great-great grand-daughter Natalie Palomo.  She was preceded in death by her husband, John Kwilinski; and her son, Bruce Surato.

Barbara was a woman of many talents and interests and whose spirit and heart are impossible to encapsulate. She was passionate about cooking, gardening, music, travel and MSU sports.   She delighted in tending to her vegetable gardens and was skilled at canning and preserving the fruits of her labor.  She loved camping in Lake City with her family, playing in the lake, cooking masterpieces over her little camp stove and telling stories around the campfire. She could never pass a baby or puppy without stopping and talking to them.  She was an expert whistler and could recount any tune or summon her kids from blocks away.  She was fun and funny and sought joy each and every day. Her house was filled with music and her living room often became a dance floor.  She loved holidays – not just because she had a reason to decorate, do crafts or make delicious food, but because she knew she would be surrounded by family. Together with her husband, John, they were unstoppable and could figure out how to do pretty much anything.  They loved life and lived it fully.  She had a great capacity to love and think of others, no matter what was needed.  She was strong, loyal, and fiercely protective of those she cared for, and she valued these relationships above all else. Of all the skills and lessons she passed on, this is her legacy.

A luncheon open house will be held in her memory from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Best Sellers Book and Coffee Co, 360 S. Jefferson St., Mason, Michigan. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of Lansing, Inc. Online condolences may be left for her family at

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5 Messages to “Barbara Kwilinski

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April 9, 2024 at 7:36 pm

Oh my sweetest Mom, I can never thank you enough for all you did for me and your family. You gave so much to so many people. Your love was endless. What you and Dad had together and shared so freely was the most beautiful love ever. You gave me so much to me without even knowing you did. Thank you for loving my kids the way you did( always there). It goes without saying you were my best friend all my life and I will do my best to do the same for Sophia and Ellie. I love you Mom, always and forever. Please give Grams, Bruce and Dad the biggest squeeze ever, and love my boys till I see you all again. You will always be in my heart and prayers.

April 10, 2024 at 7:16 am

This is beautiful Jane

Beverly lake
April 10, 2024 at 4:44 pm

I remember Barb from school – (she was older?, my cousin’s age) I also remember she worked with my g’ma at Hitchen’s Drug store. Barb was always fun to be around, and fiercely devoted to her family! I also worked with John at Wyeth Labs and he always made me laugh. Over the years we got to share two beautiful great granddaughters! I’m sad they won’t have the joy of growing up with both of them in their lives! I have memories of Barb at the before Christmas craft sales also, fun times! They were both a joy and will be missed a lot!

Pat Hl
April 10, 2024 at 8:53 am

Sorry for your loss. It’s hard losing a parent.

Susan Lawson (Slocum)
April 10, 2024 at 9:32 am

I remember her always smiling and happy. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know she’ll be missed by many people.


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