Barbara Allison Cassius was born on November 8, 1956 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Barbara Jean and Donald Anthony Cassius. Her family later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she attended St. Joan Antida Catholic High School, an all-girl secondary school noted for academic excellence. Barbara’s scholastic achievement in high school secured her enrollment at Marquette University where she received a Liberal Arts degree.
After completing her undergraduate studies, warmer weather beckoned and Barbara headed west to start her professional career at the University of California - Berkeley as a research assistant. She later moved to Southern California where she was employed as an analyst for the City of San Diego. Barbara earned an additional Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Science at National University while working full-time just to keep her mind sharp. It was then that Barbara also began searching for other employment opportunities.
Perhaps by coincidence, Barbara’s circle of friends included several educators who encouraged her to consider a career in teaching. After much discussion and research, Barbara took their advice and enrolled in a rigorous student-teacher training program at National University where she excelled. Barbara earned a Master of Science degree in Special Education and was appointed as a full-time teacher by the San Diego Unified School District. Barbara was soon promoted to a Cluster Resource Teacher. In this position, she collaborated with school administrators and other educators to develop and implement cutting-edge instructional programs to help improve the achievement of students with disabilities. During her 22-year career, Barbara taught hundreds of students. She is best known for her rapport with students and her superbly organized classes. Barbara was awarded the Phi Delta Kappa “Outstanding Educator of the Year” award in 2009 which recognized her tireless devotion to the field of education. Barbara had indeed found her calling.
In addition to teaching, Barbara served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Voices for Children program. As a CASA volunteer, Barbara represented children who were referred to the San Diego Juvenile Courts for foster care. She meticulously guided each case through the complex foster care system, always striving for a resolution that was in the best interest of the child.
Barbara was a passionate traveler whose magnificent adventures included trips to the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland and the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, just to name a few. She often recalled her visit to the “House of Slaves” and the “Door of No Return” on Gore Island, Senegal as being one of the most awe-inspiring and emotional events of her lifetime.
Closer to home, Barbara enjoyed searching for antiques, Pilates classes, sipping hot tea while reading mystery novels, eating Godiva dark chocolate caramels in bed and watching classic movies. Barbara had a love for dogs of all pedigree, but her terrier “Miles” had a special place in her heart.
Barbara was an active member of the Epsilon Xi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a charter member of the San Diego Chapter of the Girl Friends, Inc. She also volunteered much of her time to the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and was a long-time member of St. Rita’s Catholic Church of San Diego.
Barbara was predeceased by her father, Donald Anthony Cassius. She is survived by her mother, Barbara Jean Cassius; brother Lawrence Anthony Cassius; niece, Navache Marie Bailey; great-nieces Ariana and Alexis and nephew Dakarai Bailey; God-daughters Briana Stokes-Reyes and Alexis Stokes, cousin Peter Reneau, other relatives and countless friends.
Affectionately known as “Babs” to her family and “Barb” or “Ms. Cassius” to her friends and associates, Barbara’s final chapter ended on May 29, 2018 after her courageous battle with cancer.