An old portrait of Barbara.

We are saddened to announce the passing of Barbara Ellen Nelson Caraway of Moab, Utah. Barbara, age 75, passed peacefully on August 7, 2022. 

Barbara was born May 25, 1947, in Livermore, California. She was the first child of Mary and Frank Nelson and the oldest of five siblings. She graduated from San Lorenzo High in 1965 and later graduated from the University of Utah. Shortly after graduating, she joined the U.S. Army. She had many adventures in the military and spent time all around the United States. During her stint in the Army, she met and married the love of her life, her “General.” When this relationship ended, she moved to Moab and worked for the State of Utah. 

Barbara’s heart belonged in Moab and the city became her home for the rest of her life. She truly was an adventurer who enjoyed the beauty of the Earth. During the early years, she often went hiking, biking, and exploring with her friends and her beloved pet dog, Weasel. When his short legs grew tired on a hike, she would pick him up and help him continue to the hike’s completion. Barbara spent most of her career working or the Utah School of the Deaf and Blind as a vision consultant covering Grand and San Juan counties. Her greatest joys happened when one of her students learned something new. Barbara believed that everyone had the ability to learn and grow. She was a master teacher that celebrated her students’ many successes. 

In Moab, she met another partner of her heart, artist Ben. They shared love and laughter for many years. When the romance waned, they became eternal friends. Ben has maintained this friendship for thirty-plus years during good and rough times. Barbara has stated many times to various friends her gratitude and love for Ben and his family. 

Barbara valued education and was a lifelong learner. While working for USDB, she continually researched and implemented the best practices she could find to help her students grow. She was interested in the world’s spiritual practices and beliefs. She became a scholar of all things metaphysical. Barbara was most happy and animated when surrounded by her “goddess sisters” and discussing the beauty of each soul and self-knowledge that bathed the world in love and light. She had a wonderful community of friends who loved and cared for her. 

As Barbara’s health declined, she was physically and mentally unable to continue many of the activities she enjoyed and to stay in touch with those that she loved. As she became homebound, a dedicated team of home health providers, medical professionals, and caregivers became her ever-changing new family and friends. Barbara’s frustration with her physical limitations and increased pain often led to confrontations with those she loved. During quiet times when Barbara felt well, she expressed love and gratitude to all of those that cared for her and continued to support her even when she was agitated.

Barbara was a pioneer of women’s rights and what many would call a liberated woman who lived life on her terms. She had a strong belief in the afterlife and was looking forward to reuniting with her friends and loved ones who had crossed over before her. 

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Mary Nelson; her brothers, Stanley, Richard and David; and her first husband, Bryce Larsen.

Barbara is survived by her sister, Shirley Greene of San Lorenzo, California; along with her triplet niece and nephews Amanda Nowlin, Michael Greene and John Greene. She is also survived by her nephew, Andrew Nelson; and two great-nephews, Sam and Joe Nowlin. 

As per Barbara’s wishes, her ashes will be returned to the land that she loved so much at a later date. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 20, at 11 a.m. at the Grand Center in Moab. There will be an opportunity to tell stories and share memories. 

You may send condolences to the family at