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DAVID LEE BARBER was born on November 24, 1940 to Robert and Mildred (Hughes) Barber on the family farm in Redwood County, Minnesota, where he was raised. He was baptized at Philip Brethren #4 where he belonged until age of 25. He attended Milroy Public School for primary and high school. David farmed with his father for two years and then began his career in February 1963 with the Redwood County Minnesota Highway Department. He was united in marriage to Mary (Bailey) in 1967. That same year he took adult Lutheran training at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and also received his confirmation as an adult. The young couple lived in Milroy, Minnesota and were blessed with two sons. After 30 years of marriage, David and Mary divorced in 1996. David retired from the State Highway Department the same year. He became the supervisor of West Line Maintenance Township for the next 10 years. He lived with Doug Christopherson in Milroy. He attended singles dances weekly and traveled with friends. David met Elaine Bodey at one of those dances in White, South Dakota. They kept company as significant others for almost 8 years. He relocated to Brookings, South Dakota and became employed as the Parks Department playground maintenance man. Elaine battled cancer and David was her caregiver until her death. They had purchased a home in Aurora, South Dakota where they had lived. After a short time of mourning Elaine, David returned to the singles dances. He met Ruth in White, South Dakota in the summer of 2005. They enjoyed weekly dancing, car racing, vacations, movies and dinners. David was united in marriage to Ruth Skjeie on October 17, 2007 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Elvis Presley Graceland Chapel in the Woods. David moved to Luverne, Minnesota to join Ruth after their marriage. He commuted to Brookings for a few months and then resigned his position. In the spring he joined Hills Stainless Steel in Luverne as the grounds maintenance supervisor from 2008 to 2012. David took care of their home front. David and Ruth enjoyed numerous recreational activities and family outings. Ruth retired from the Minnesota Veterans Home in November 2013. For the next five winters, the couple left the Minnesota snow and ice weather after the holidays. They rented Park Models in RV parks in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. They continued to enjoy camping at their lake lot until 2015. From then on it was mainly small town life due to David’s health conditions. They would visit the fitness center, have daily walks, John Deere gator rides and coffee at the local deli every day. There were some weekend road trips to visit their children and their families.
David was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Luverne. He served on the Milroy fire department for 28 years (treasurer for two years, chief for five years). He also served on the Milroy City Council and the Aurora, South Dakota City Council, both for two terms each. He enjoyed playing softball as a catcher and pool. His toys included collector tractors, trucks and cars. He also enjoyed lawn-mower pulls, birdwatching, gardening and especially watering tomato plants. In retirement, he daily wore bib overalls. He would have loved having a John Deere to drive every day of the week.
On Thursday, January 20, 2022 David died peacefully at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at the age of 81 years, one month and 26 days.
David is survived by his wife, Ruth Barber of Luverne; two sons, Allen (Nicole) Barber of Tyler, Minnesota and Brian (Darla) Barber of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; three step-sons, Kenneth (Teresa) Skjeie, David Skjeie, and Rick (Shelly) Skjeie, all of Forest City; four grandchildren, Brian Barber, Kaitlyn Barber, Carissa Barber, and Caden Barber; and two great-grandchildren, Raelynn and Ridge Deery; 8 step-grandchildren, Amanda (Matt) Adams, Caitlin (Curt) Dillavau, Drew Skjeie, Nicole (Brett) Osterman, Payton Skjeie, Audry Skjeie, Blake Skjeie and Carter Skjeie; 7 step-great-grandchildren, Gaga Adams, Oliver Skjeie, Rhapsady Skjeie, Charles Dillavau, Gray Adams, Jake Dillavau and Holden Osterman; siblings, Roger (Gwen) Barber of Marshall, Minnesota, Gordie (Twila) Barber of Redwood Falls, Minnesota, Dorothy (Bruce) Drevere of Maple Creek, SK, Canada; and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Mildred Barber; and a brother, Howard Barber.
Memorials are preferred to cancer research.
Monday, January 24, 2022
4:00 - 6:00pm (Central time)
Hartquist Funeral Home - Luverne Chapel
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
4:00 - 6:00pm (Central time)
Hartquist Funeral Home - Tyler Chapel
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