Barbara Tinch survived three cancers and COVID-19. But ultimately, she succumbed to the long-term effects of the coronavirus, her loved ones said.
“Bobbi left this world as a queen,” her longtime friend, Melva James, said.
Tinch is remembered by her family as a natural beauty, a woman of faith and a giving mother. Though she was 87, she had few wrinkles on her face and always wore a hat over her long white hair.
She died Oct. 26 at Hillside Manor at Mountain’s Edge from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung disease that causes obstructed airflow. She was in hospice care and bed bound and was one of five patients at the home.
Her daughter Lisa Tinch said she had lost confidence in several facilities’ abilities to care for her mom amid the pandemic. Her mom struggled with COPD before she came down with the coronavirus, which made her existing condition unmanageable.
“It was a tough road for those six months, and I just know that she never went back to her baseline,” Lisa Tinch said. “COVID pretty much wiped her out.”
Barbara Tinch contracted COVID-19 in April at The Heights of Summerlin, where 30 patients have died — the most of any facility in the state.
She had been confined to her room at the Las Vegas nursing home for more than a month under a quarantine intended to keep the disease at bay when she suddenly came down with a fever that peaked at 105 degrees. Soon she felt a pang in her chest and began struggling to breathe.
Three days later, Barbara Tinch was in the intensive care unit at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center, where she tested positive for COVID-19.
‘God’s not through with me yet’
Barbara Tinch’s three children remembered their mom as a woman who believed in miracles and enjoyed listening to gospel music, most specifically the famous song “God’s Not Through With Me Yet.”
She was the fifth of seven children and spent 81 years of her life in Kansas City, Kansas, where many knew her as “Bobbi.” She moved to Las Vegas in 2014 to be closer to her daughter Lisa.
As a young lady, Barbara Tinch found pop bottles for spare change and sold the Kansas City community paper, “The Call,” to her neighbors. When selling, she dramatized the most noted headlines to get the attention of hesitant buyers and built up a solid clientele base.
Her motto was “time waits on no man.”
And she didn’t just sell newspapers, her children remember. When her oldest, Robert, had to sell peanut brittle for school, he was often crowned the king of sales because of her savvy selling skills.
She also ordered cologne by the case and sold it in parking lots.
“But she wasn’t selling something just to make money,” her middle child, Diana Carter, said. “She was always honest and believed in what she was selling.”
She was also a great storyteller, and would dramatize the 1943 song “Stormy Weather” by Lena Horne for her kids, stamping her feet and moving her hands.
On Saturdays, she would send them around the neighborhood to do chores for the seniors who lived nearby.
“Don’t worry about them giving you anything. Just do it from your heart,” their mom would say.
She taught her children the value of service. Lisa Tinch later became a nurse, Carter an interior designer and Robert Tinch a minister.
After recovering from the coronavirus in May, Barbara Tinch was transferred to an acute rehabilitation facility, where she was improving.
Through the glass, her daughter Lisa and friend Melva James would visit her. On her 87th birthday, July 6, they watched her scarf up a key lime cheesecake.
But as she was transferred to different facilities, some workers still treated her like a COVID-19 patient, Lisa Tinch said. They would leave her tray of food across the room, where she couldn’t get to it.
And by August, she had stopped eating. She told her daughter she missed playing bingo and asked about one of her friends who had died of the coronavirus.
“I think Mom wanted to live on her terms, and she wasn’t able to do the things that brought her greatest joys,” Robert Tinch said.
On Oct. 10, she watched her oldest granddaughter get married via Zoom.
“It’s like she just wanted to see her granddaughter get married, and she was ready,” Carter said. “She said, ‘Diana, am I dreaming?’ And I said, ‘No, you just feel like you’re in a dream.’ ”
During the two weeks that Barbara Tinch stayed at Hillside, Lisa Tinch was able to have the first physical contact with her mother in eight months.
“Just being there to hold her hand, to feel my touch, that she wasn’t there alone,” Lisa Tinch said. “That I will cherish until I die.”
Barbara Tinch was laid to rest on Nov. 3 in Kansas City, Kansas, next to Otis Tinch, her husband of 47 years. She is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.