Barbara L. Sullivan — O’Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home


Barbara L. Sullivan, 89, of Payson, passed away Saturday, June 29, 2024, at Quincy Healthcare & Senior Living in Quincy, IL.

Barbara was born January 6, 1935, in Payson, IL to Howard “Shorty” and Esther (Campbell) Waack. Barbara’s early years were marked by her courageous battle with polio. Diagnosed at 18 months, she underwent extensive treatment at Shriners Children’s Hospital, enduring seven surgeries. Despite these challenges, Barbara’s determination never wavered, and she proudly graduated from Payson High School, setting the stage for a life defined by perseverance and grace.

Barbara’s professional journey was marked by her roles as a dedicated homemaker, an at-home caretaker, and a secretary at St. Mary’s Hospital. Her work ethic and compassion touched the lives of many, leaving a lasting impression on those she cared for and worked alongside.

A woman of diverse interests, Barbara’s zest for life was infectious. Her passion for fishing led her to many serene outings on Lake Little Tweet, where she enjoyed the tranquility of nature. Her adventurous spirit found joy in the vibrant atmosphere of casinos like Mark Twain and Riverside, where she played her favorite slots. Always with a green thumb, Barbara’s gardens were a testament to her patience and care, yielding bountiful harvests of blossoming flowers and vegetables, which she lovingly canned.

A fan of old country music, Barbara’s soundtrack was as timeless as her love for the Chicago Cubs. Her enthusiasm for the team was infectious, and she shared this passion with her grandchildren, creating unforgettable memories at Wrigley Field. Barbara’s culinary talents, particularly her legendary noodles and homemade pies, were highlights at family gatherings. More than anything, she valued the time spent surrounded by her family, building a legacy of love, support, and happy memories.

Survivors include her three children, Tracey Altgilbers (Rocky) of Quincy, Kendra Steffen (Roger) of Plainville, and Kyle Sullivan of Willard, OH; four grandchildren, Kelsey Steffen, Kasey Clingingsmith (Tim), and Kegan Sullivan, and Nathan Sullivan; six great-grandchildren, Madilyn Clingingsmith, Brooklyn Clingingsmith, Karter Clingingsmith, Beckett Sullivan, Emma Sullivan, and Joseph Sullivan; one brother, John Waack (Cheryl); and one sister, Mary Ann Benjamin (Russell).

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; one brother, James Waack Sr.; and one nephew, James Waack Jr..

A Graveside Service will be at 10:00 am Monday, July 8, 2024, at the Payson New Cemetery in Payson, IL. Rev. Pat Wheeler will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital.

Online condolences may be shared and video tribute may be viewed at

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Current Weather


Trending Stories