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BARBARA JEAN ASHBY was born on October 17, 1951 to Ralph and Margie (Wild) DeGroot in Luverne, Minnesota. She grew up on the farm near the Ash Creek/Steen, Minnesota area. In her youth, she was active in 4-H with sewing and baking, and had regular attendance at church in Sunday school and youth group. Barb graduated from Luverne High School in 1970. She furthered her education at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. That same year, she began her career with the Social Security Administration where she would remain for the next 34 years. Barb spent a brief time in Omaha, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri before returning to Luverne in 1974. On August 24, 1974, Barb was united in marriage to Gene Ashby in Luverne. During her employment with SSA, Barb worked up the ranks starting as a claims representative, field representative, supervisor, and then assistant manager until she officially retired in 2007. In 2013, Barb was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, but she worked hard to not let it slow her down. She continued her active lifestyle until an injury in 2020 caused a loss of mobility. Gene continued to care for Barb in their home, but she struggled with not being able to continue with her hobbies and activities. In December of 2021, Barb moved into the Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, Minnesota where, on Monday, May 23, 2022, she died peacefully at the age of 70 years, 7 months, and 6 days.
Barb was a member of the United Methodist Church in Luverne. She was involved with the University of Minnesota Extension and Mrs. Jaycees. The untimely death of Barb and Gene’s son, Chris Ashby, brought about avenues in which to keep his memory alive. Barb was invited to be the commencement speaker for the Luverne High School class of 1989. Barb and Gene provided scholarships to all graduating seniors for the Luverne class of 2008. They also developed and financed the Chris Ashby Bike Trail in Luverne in memory of their son. Barb enjoyed biking and walking around town, boxing, exercising, croquet and croquet tournaments, playing cards, baking (especially pies and popcorn balls), movies and dinner on Saturdays, and traveling. Her travels included visiting all 50 of the U.S. states, trips to Egypt, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Austria, and Cuba. Barb and Gene spent 10 winters in Florida and went on many cruises together.
Left to cherish Barb’s memory are her husband, Gene Ashby of Luverne; brother Dean (Liz) DeGroot of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and nieces, Sarah and Anna DeGroot of Minneapolis. Barb was preceded in death by her son, Chris Ashby; parents, Ralph and Margie DeGroot; in-laws, Howard and Ruth Ashby; grandparents; aunts; uncles; and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made to:
Luverne Area Community Foundation
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Hartquist Funeral Chapel
Thursday, May 26, 2022
1:00 - 2:00pm (Central time)
Thursday, May 26, 2022
Starts at 2:00pm (Central time)
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