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home : obituaries : obituaries April 15, 2014

5/29/2013 10:00:00 PM
Obituary: Barbara Griswold Fagan Bruce

On May 25, 2013, Barbara Griswold Fagan Bruce passed away after a sudden illness. She was born in Phoenix in 1926 to Ray C. Griswold and Nola Mockler Griswold, and was proud to be a native Arizonan.

Barbara started riding horses at the age of four and won many horsemanship events as a teenager. This photo is one taken when she modeled for Porters Western Store in downtown Phoenix in 1943.

She first rode in the Prescott Rodeo Parade in 1935. As a child, her family ran a boarding stable in Phoenix. During the winters, she helped take groups of dudes out on desert trails. During the summers, they moved the stables up to Iron Springs, west of Prescott.

From the time she was 12, she helped drive the herd of 40 horses from Phoenix to Prescott every summer. It was a four-day trip, stopping near a water source each night. They went from their home in North Phoenix across the open desert to New River the first day. Then up through the bottom of the Black Canyon, stopping down below Sunset Point the second day. On the third day, they traveled along the old Black Canyon Highway, up to what is now called Fain Park in Prescott Valley. Then they went up through Prescott to Iron Springs on the fourth day.

Many families summered in Iron Springs - the mothers and children would come up to stay in rustic cabins. The fathers would ride the train up from Phoenix Friday evenings, returning Monday mornings. There were horseback rides scheduled most mornings - Barbara and her younger brother, Ray Griswold, would get up early to saddle up all of the horses - then all the kids would ride - sometimes over to the old Derby mine (where Highland Pines is now) for a big pancake breakfast that Mr. Smith would fix for all of them - no wonder Barbara and Ray held the pancake eating records for the girls and the boys!

Barbara married her high school sweetheart, George Philip Fagan, in 1944 and they were married for 61 years. She was an excellent homemaker, and also helped sell real estate for her husband in Phoenix and Prescott. They raised and showed Arabian horses for over 20 years. They taught their children and grandchildren to ride - trail riding, barrel racing, polo playing and dressage. She was famous for her chocolate chip cookies and sour cream pancakes. Her grandchildren called her their "Magical Grandma."

They built a cabin in Highland Pines in 1958 and the whole family rode the trails around Prescott every summer morning for the next decade - up Spruce Mountain, Granite Mountain, etc.

Barbara and Phil divided their time between Phoenix and Prescott for over 30 years, finally moving to Prescott full time in 1992. Barbara and Phil developed Vista del Cerro, out Iron Springs Road in the 1980s.

After Phil died in 2005, Barbara married Lewis Bruce. They had originally met in kindergarten, and met again at their North High School reunion. They divided their time between Carefree and Prescott until they moved permanently to Prescott in 2010. They just celebrated their seventh anniversary.

Barbara graduated from North High School and Phoenix College, where she was a member of KDN sorority. She was a member of the Janes, which supported the Jane Wayland Home for Unwed Mothers. She joined P.E.O. Chapter AB in Phoenix, Ariz. in 1959, and held every office, ending with president in 1969-1970. She transferred to Chapter CO in Prescott, Ariz. in 1992.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Lewis W. Bruce; brother Ray F. Griswold (Alex); his children, Lynne Foss and Ray C. Griswold; son Timothy Fagan, MD, and his wife Mary Topmiller of Tucson; daughter Carol Dombey and her husband Craig of Prescott; and son Larry Fagan and his wife Donna Fagan of Prescott. In addition, she leaves behind six beloved grandchildren, Ian Fagan (Karen), Darcy Manfredi (Phil), Daniel Dombey (Donna Yooran Oh), Elissa Fagan, Ryan Fagan (Michael Martinez) and Sarah Mackie (Brian Lepker); and four great-grandchildren, Oriana and Danica Manfredi, Katherine and Elizabeth Bowman.

There will be a memorial service in Prescott on Aug. 3, 2013. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Camelot Therapeutic Horsemanship and Arizona Equine Rescue, www.camelotaz.org.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Sunrise Funeral Home.

Information provided by survivors.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Article comment by: melinda martin

I loved Barbara and Phil--what wonderful people they were. I bought my first home from them and they became dear friends as well as neighbors. They brought joy to many people as well as many horses and will forever be remembered. I will enjoy a horseback ride in heaven with both of them.

Posted: Saturday, June 01, 2013
Article comment by: Virgilene Hall

My parents bought one of your homes in the Spring of 1960--in Ocotillo Hills (on 16th Place). Hermosa Hills (East side of 12th Street) & later, Palo Verde Hills ( West of Cave Creek Road and North of Peoria Rd) were the other two subdivisions. And I went to School with two of your Grandchildren. I wish I could have known you more. Condolences to the Family and Many Friends that mourn your loss. My thoughts are with All of You.

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Article comment by: Linnae Macbeth

To the family,,, I have been Barbara's hairdresser since Monica quit in Nov, 2012, I lost my close friend and the pain is hurtful still. Barbara loved Monica and felt the pain of losing her. I have known your Mom for over 15 years,,I often did her hair when Monica was gone. She shared many stories with me about her yound days doing trail rides in the Valley. My husband and I own Granite Mtn. Stablein Williamson Valley,, both her and I related to alot of horse stories and trailrides. She was more than a client a wonderful lady... she was amazing.. Always dressed looking to be going somewhere other than the salon.. So sweet, polite and proper. I knew her when she lost your father,, she cared so much for him,,, she recently worried about her husband now,, she was such a caretaker..I will always remember her as an absolutely beautiful women inside and out. I am sorry for your loss.

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