ASHLEY JO BARBER was born on August 18, 1988 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota to Richard and Holly Jo (Johnson) Barber. She was baptized September 9, 1988 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar and confirmed her faith on May 18, 2003 at Palisades Lutheran Church in Garretson, South Dakota. She spent her early childhood years in Willmar, Hanley Falls and Welch, Minnesota. In 1999, the family moved to Luverne, Minnesota where Ashley Jo continued her schooling. She enjoyed singing in choir and being a part of Future Leaders of America. She also enjoyed attending threshing shows with her family. She loved community theater and participated in Green Earth Players productions. She graduated from Luverne High School in 2006. Throughout high school, she worked at the Magnolia Steak House and Verne Drive In. Following graduation, she decided to further her education at Minnesota West in Pipestone, Minnesota for medical coding/transcriptionist where she graduated in 2008. She worked for the Luverne Hospital and then the Sanford Women’s Plaza in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After a number of years, she switched careers to an administrative assistant where she was employed at Labor/People Ready and most recently the Department of Social Services with the state of South Dakota as a Senior Secretary. On Saturday, November 13, 2021, Ashley Jo died at her home due to health complications at the age of 33 years, 2 months and 25 days.
Ashley Jo had a huge heart and deep spirituality. She was a positive, selfless person who gave out the most amazing, tight hugs. She was always trying to help people in the best way she could. She loved tattoos and enjoyed collecting antique books and jewelry. She was a high vibing, crystal loving, sunshine seeking, chakra balancing, moonbeam dancing, lover of light…the girl knew how to live life colorfully! She advised friends and family to “go big or go home!” She had a passion for all things burlesque, and performed as a kitten in the Va-Va-Voom show at the VeauxDevil Caberet-Burlesque and Performance Art Center in Sioux Falls. She competed with the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz in the roller derby community, was an amateur photographer and earned her Reiki Level 1 & 2 Certification.
Ashley Jo is lovingly remembered by her fiancé, Sean Strack of Sioux Falls; parents, Richard and Holly Jo Barber of Luverne; brother, Nicholas Barber and his wife, Briana, of Beaver Creek, Minnesota; niece, Emberly Barber; and other family and friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Vergil and Ella Barber and Russell and Clarice Johnson; and an aunt, Peggy Ellingson.