By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Ada Barkhau began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in Aurora, Ind.
By the time she retired, she had worked as a librarian for Newport Junior High School, taught fourth grade at Grandview Elementary School in Newport, and devoted 25 years to students in Newport's Weekday School of Religion program.
"She was a saint. She was always serving. Even after she retired, she would go around and visit people in nursing homes, just taking care of people," said her daughter, Martha Malone of Longboat Key, Fla.
Mrs. Barkhau died Thursday at Baptist Village Care Center in Erlanger of congestive heart failure. The longtime Newport resident was 97.
Raised in Osgood, Ind., Mrs. Barkhau earned a two-year teaching certificate from Indiana University. She began teaching in the one-room schoolhouse in Aurora.
She returned to her hometown of Osgood on the weekends, where she met her husband, the Rev. Harold Barkhau, who was then a student minister.
The couple moved to Newport in 1933, when the Rev. Barkhau began serving as minister at St. Johns United Church of Christ.
Soon after, Mrs. Barkhau began working as a librarian for Newport Junior High School. Eventually, she began teaching fourth-graders at Grandview Elementary School.
Beginning in 1957, for about 25 years, Mrs. Barkhau was a teacher for the Weekday School of Religion, a program established for fifth- and sixth-grade students in Newport public schools who wanted to learn about religion.
She was required to teach off school grounds, so each week students would meet at area churches.
Mrs. Barkhau retired from the position around 1982.
An avid gardener, she twice won gardening awards from the city of Newport.
"She had spectacular gardens. People would drive by just to see them," said her daughter, Donna Hamilton of Crestview Hills.
In 1996, she received the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award by the Kentucky House of Representatives.
She was a Kentucky Colonel and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma teacher's sorority.
Her husband died in 1972.
Survivors include another daughter, Mary Haas of Longboat Key, Fla.; a son, the Rev. Bruce Barkhau of Redwood City, Calif.; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at St. Johns United Church of Christ, 415 Park Ave., Newport, and from 10-11 a.m. Tuesday at the church.
Service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church.
Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Southgate.
Memorials can be made to St. Johns United Church of Christ, 415 Park Ave., Newport, KY 41071.
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