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Barbara (Melander, Pithan) DeWitt, 91

Barbara Elaine DeWitt (Melander, Pithan), 91, high school English teacher, formerly of Woodbury, passed away on June 5, 2017 in Stillwater, Minn.

She was married to former Woodbury High School principal Virgil Pithan and was mother to two sons, Craig Forester of Laguna Beach, Calif., and Todd Melander of Minneapolis.

Born in Aurora, S.D. on February 18, 1926, Barbara worked as a medical technologist in Brookings, S.D., and Mankato, Minn., before graduating with an English and Secondary Education degree from Mankato State College in 1967.

Barbara began her teaching career in Mason City, Iowa, in 1967. She taught English, composition, poetry, and individualized reading at Mason City High School until marrying Virgil and moving to St. Paul in 1976, then Woodbury a year later. She began teaching English and reading at Stillwater High School in 1976 and coached Stillwater varsity cheerleading from 1979 to 1984. She retired from teaching in 1996, the same year she took back her family name DeWitt.

Due to her connection with the two schools, Barbara boasted as friends the faculties of both Woodbury High and Stillwater High, and she considered many of the teachers from both among her close friends. Her social activities revolved around the schools, and she enjoyed attending football and basketball games of both, usually cheering for Woodbury when the two school met. She and Virgil divorced in 1996, but remained friends until his death in 2008.

Both prior to and especially after retirement, Barbara volunteered extensively, including watching children for friends and relatives, judging elections, and working for King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury. She often saw friends, neighbors, and students in difficult situations as a cause to step in and help to make their lives better or easier. Loved and admired by all, she mentored those in need and exemplified the strength and positivity she advocated to those in crisis.

She is survived by loving sons, Craig Forester of Laguna Beach, Calif., and Todd Melander of Minneapolis.

To honor Barbara a Celebration of Life Memorial will be held at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, with a reception to follow at Ray Js, also in Woodbury. For more information contact or