Barbara Shigley

Obituary of Barbara Shigley

Barbara Rose (Porta) Shigley, a 68 year resident of State College, Pennsylvania, died after a brief illness Thursday December 21, 2017, at the Mount Nittany Medical Center, College Township, Pennsylvania. Born January 5, 1927, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she was the youngest child of the late Francis Joseph and Rose Hannah (Smith) Porta. On June 12, 1949, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she married James William Shigley, who died February 1, 2001. She is survived by three children James Francis (Mike) Shigley, Laurie Eileen (Shigley) Brown (husband Peter), and Lynne Catherine Shigley (husband Frank Modruson), six grandchildren (Aubrey Chandler Brown, Addie Rose Forstman (husband Edward), Frank Blaise Modruson IV, AnnaMay Leonore Modruson, Eliza Catherine Modruson, and Erin Lynne Modruson), and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by her two brothers and three sisters, and by a grandchild, Hilary Andrew Brown. She regularly attended Sunday mass at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

After graduating from Penn State in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Chemistry, and before her marriage, she worked in the medical laboratory associated with Albany Medical College. Between the time of her marriage and the birth of her first child, she worked in Dr. Pauline Mack's lab in the old Chemistry and Physics building at Penn State, testing blood from children living at the Cresson orphanage. As she was raising her children, she began her lasting engagement with the State College community. For over 40 years, she served as a Girl Scout leader, member of Hemlock Council, and service unit registrar. Concurrent with that she was active in local government, leading neighborhood fund-raising efforts, serving on her precinct committee and as precinct poll watcher, and twice chairing "Four for Effective Government," seeking the election of a team of like-minded Borough Council members and mayor. She and her husband were long-time fixtures at both School Board and Borough Council meetings, later just focusing on the latter.

She was an extraordinary woman of many talents: an educator of her children in the summer months, a wonderful cook, an inspiring gardener, and an expert seamstress and upholsterer, who refinished her furniture and made numerous outfits for herself and her children. Above all, she was a fountain of generosity and love for her extended family, her friends, her neighbors, and her community. In lieu of flowers, if possible, please give to a local charity helping the less fortunate.

The family will receive the community from 2 until 4 p.m., on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 South Atherton Street, State College.

The family would like to thank the professionalism, skill, understanding, kindness, and care of the officers of the State College Police Department, of the technicians of Centre LifeLink, and of the physicians, nurses, and other staff of Mount Nittany Physicians Group and the Emergency Department and Hospital of Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at