Of Fox Chapel, passed away peacefully on Friday, June 26, 2020 due to complications of dementia. She was born in 1946 in Ashland, KY to Betty and Dick Parmelee and was preceded in death by her parents and older brother Richie. She is survived by her husband, Michael O’Connell, cousins William (Linda) Basse, Robert (Lisa Korner) Basse, Barbara Basse, Bruce (Debbie) Parmelee, and her sister-in-law Elaine (Paul) Holley.
Barbara devoted her life to teaching and service in education. She taught high school in Kentucky for a few years, then went on to earn a Ph.D. in the field of Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Michigan. Her first teaching job was with Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1980 she took a position at the University of Washington in Seattle and taught there for many years, eventually rising to the rank of full professor. Along the way she taught undergraduate and graduate courses, mentored many graduate students, served on countless committees and editorial boards, and served a term as chair of her department. She wrote several books and published many research articles, in addition to her teaching and service duties. She and Michael moved to Pittsburgh in 2006 where she was chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh.
Those who knew Barbara will remember her as smart, outgoing, committed to excellence in education and scholarship, and ready to debate on almost any topic. And she never missed a deadline. She was outspoken, never shy about sharing her opinions, had high standards for her students, but at the end of the day was always ready for a glass of wine. Barbara also had a spirit for adventure and played as hard as she worked. She once rafted down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and went on many back packing trips with her cousins. Barbara and Michael met in 1986 and together they explored the Pacific Northwest going hiking, skiing, camping, and bicycle riding whenever possible. Most people don’t know this, but they spent their honeymoon tent camping in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. And yes, there was snow. At the end of every vacation, Barbara’s first thoughts were always about planning the next adventure.
Remember this spirited lady who is no longer with us, and when the opportunity arises, drink a toast in her memory. Service and Interment Private. Contributions in Barbara's memory can be made to the “Barbara Warnick Endowed Fellowship” at the University of Washington in Seattle: (https://www.washington.edu/giving/).
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