John Barber

Obituary of John "Jack" Barber

Age 90, long-time resident of Mendota Heights passed away peacefully April 25, four days short of his 91st birthday. Born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa, to parents Nathan and Rita, Jack served in the Navy during WWII on a troop transport in the South Pacific, and later retired as a Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve. He graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, and later US WEST, retiring in 1991, after 41 years. Jack married his beloved Helena, a former high fashion model from Vienna, Austria in 1954, and they started their life together in Rapid City, SD. Moving to the Twin Cities in 1961, they raised 3 children. Jack was active in the Office of Naval Research for over 20 years, and served as the Commanding Officer of the Volunteer Research Company at the U of M. He was also a member of the U of M Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, serving as chairman for several years. He believed in civic responsibility and helped with many individual and community service programs in the Twin Cities. Jack was an avid outdoorsman, was always willing to lend a hand on projects, and could fix anything. He spearheaded the building of several local hockey rinks in Mendota Hts., complete with lights and warming houses, all with volunteer and donated labor and materials. He coached youth baseball and hockey, taught youth gun safety, and enjoyed gardening, hunting, and sports, especially golf, which he started playing at the age of 7. He worked at a golf course growing up, played through high school, and continued to enjoy his golf for the rest of his life. Jack and Helen were members of Mendakota Country Club since 1961. They were active in the community, loved to travel, and enjoyed ballroom dancing. Jack is preceded in death by parents, brother Nathan, Jr., and beloved wife of 62 years, Helena. Jack is survived by daughter Jacqueline, grandson Karl Pihlstrom, sons Lance of Orlando, FL, and John (Cathy), grandson Jake Barber, of Alpharetta, GA, nephew Mike LaCroix (Sally), and many friends. He will be greatly missed. Special thanks to staff and caregivers of the Commons on Marice in Eagan, for their dedicated care and friendship these last years; thanks also to staff at the MPLS VA hospital and clinics. A Memorial Service celebrating Jack’s life will be held Saturday July 29, 11AM, at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1575 Charlton Street, W. St. Paul, 55118. Visitation at the church 1 hour before. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Macular Degeneration Research or the Alzheimer’s Association.
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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service - Grand Avenue Chapel
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