Barbara S. Friedman, 86, formerly of La Porte, Indiana, peacefully passed away at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital, Glenview, Illinois on Monday, December 6, 2021 while in hospice, which allowed her to be able to visit with family members in the final days of her life. She leaves behind a lasting legacy as a loving mother and grandmother, a devoted attorney for her clients, and a history of charitable good works in the community she loved. Her husband, retired federal bankruptcy Judge Jack Schmetterer, Northbrook, Illinois, preceded her in death by just five days.
Born and raised in Chicago’s west side Austin neighborhood, Friedman moved to La Porte, after high school, with her parents Charles and Celia Shapiro when her father bought and operated the Universal Woodcrafters factory on State Street in La Porte. In 1957, after graduating from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, she married Sanford Z. Friedman, whom she met while at Miami of Ohio. Together they raised four children, Shaw (Greta) Friedman, La Porte, Indiana, Morgan (Preston) Wolin, Chicago, Illinois, Robin (Nat) Shapo, Wilmette, Illinois, and Lane (Shawn) Rabin, Scottsdale, Arizona. She was the proud grandmother to Margaux and Alex Friedman, Max Rabin, and Noah Shapo.
After raising four children, Barbara returned to school after 22 years and obtained her law degree from Valparaiso University Law School in 1982 and began a thirty-seven-year law practice focused heavily on family law, civil and criminal matters. Taking a page from her father, Charles Shapiro, who was voted “Mr. Hospital” by his fellow La Porte Hospital Board members for his success in merging the former Holy Family and Fairview Hospitals to become La Porte Hospital, Barbara threw herself into community activities as she was raising her children and was active for 25 years in PTA, having been a founder of the Block Parent program in La Porte. She was elected by the voters to two terms on the La Porte School Board, first in 1970 and then re-elected in 1974.
A past president of Community Concerts, she served at various points on the La Porte County Tourism Board and the Board of Trustees of the Ruth C. Sabin Home. An avid horsewoman, she showed and judged both Saddled Bred horses and Hackney ponies around the Midwest in various horse shows, and closer to home, she helped co-found the La Porte County 4-H Horse and Pony Club. Barbara enjoyed longtime participation in La Porte Service League with roles in many Service League plays and was also active in AAUW, American Field Service, and the La Porte Hospital Auxiliary. A longtime member of Sinai Temple and Sisterhood, she also worked for a time on the Sinai Sunday Evening Forum Board of Directors. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, she hosted “Shopping with Barbara” on WLOI-AM radio and served as radio co-host for coverage of La Porte’s Jaycees 4th of July parade for nearly twenty years. In later years, her love of reading and poetry led her to sponsor La Porte’s Poet Laureate contest.
Visitation for Barbara S. Friedman will be held at Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center, La Porte, Indiana from 4 to 7 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, December 16, 2021. The family requests that masks be worn at the time of the visitation. A funeral will be held at Sinai Temple, Michigan City, Indiana on Friday, December 17, 2021 at 11 a.m. (CST) with Rabbi Suzanne Griffel officiating. Masks and proof of vaccination are required to attend the funeral service at Sinai Temple. There will be a zoom link available, on Barbara's Celebration of Life page at www.CutlerCares.com on Thursday, December 16, 2021, for those who wish to attend the funeral on-line. Burial will follow at B'ne Zion Cemetery, La Porte.
Contributions to honor the memory of Barbara can be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. Contributions are gratefully appreciated by the family.
Condolences may be shared with the family on www.cutlercares.com.