Huwe, Barbara Ballard

Loving Mom, Grandma, sister, aunt, friend, and nurse, Barb died on March 18, 2023 in abundant peace and care at N.C. Little Memorial Hospice in Edina, MN.

Barb was born in Kansas City, MO on January 19, 1944 to Dorothy and Dr. V. Bryce Ballard. She met her father at age two when he returned from the war in the Pacific. The oldest of 3 daughters, Barb grew up in Boston and Prairie Village, KS. Elected to the National Honor Society in high school, she attended Monmouth College, and earned honors at the University of Kansas where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology.

After college, Barb moved to Minnesota. Her daughter Stefanie was born in Minneapolis in 1969 and the city became her long-loved home. It offered the outdoor beauty of Lake Harriet, where they loved to walk and spend warm summer nights reading on the beach, but not much in the way of daycare options for a working single mom in the early 1970s (earning her nursing degree from St. Catherine’s University was no small feat!) In 1976 she met the love of her life, Greg, and they married in 1978. The family moved to their home on Minnehaha Creek (later affectionately called “Bonnie Doon”) where they welcomed Amanda in 1982.

A Public Health Nurse for 33 years, Barb spent much of her career working with St. Paul’s Hmong immigrant community. She really knew how to connect with her patients, who often shared their own traditions with Barb and her daughters, including the gifts of handmade needlework that she loved and that that seemed to decorate every surface of the house. Barb displayed them everywhere she lived, alongside her own photography from the Khao-I-Dang Refugee camp on the Cambodian border of Thailand. Her first-ever trip abroad was with the first medical team sent there from Minnesota in 1979, and Barb never stopped caring for others, learning, creating, and travelling.

Barb spent as much time as she could outside, even during the notoriously cold Minnesota winters, and even when walking became difficult. She loved gardening, biking, visiting the North Shore along Lake Superior, and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Barb had a gift for connecting with people. She was involved in so many groups over the years that Greg rarely knew which event she was attending on any given evening. “Circles of love” (the family shorthand) were always at the center of her life, from her Monmouth Kappa Sisters to the “South Minneapolis Gang;” her fellow nurses; members of her women’s, Al-Anon, and AA groups; friends from church(es) and beyond. The circles never stopped, growing to include the incredible apartment friends she developed after moving to St. Paul and right up until the end of her life. Her two sisters, friends for life, were always at the center. The space or words to describe her love for each of her four grandchildren would never suffice. Any of us who knew Barb can recall her openness, laugh, corny sense of humor, and total inability to tell a joke correctly.

As with her late husband, Greg, Barb was unassuming in her accomplishments, but her gentle empathy and bright, rebellious spirit shone through to everyone around her. She volunteered at church, the Aliveness Project, and the Ebeneezer Care Center (where she was named volunteer of the year in 2018). She called herself a grateful member of AA and Al-Anon, with 40 years of sobriety. Barb is survived by her daughters and their husbands Stefanie Solum and Peter Starenko, Amanda and Steve Hotaling; Grandchildren Charlie, Will, Luisa, and Maya; cherished Sisters and their husbands Beth and Bill Southern and Margie and Mark Bult; and many other beloved family members and friends. Barb was preceded in death by both parents and her husband, Greg. Barb’s 79 years of life will be celebrated at her church, Living Table UCC, 5011 S. 31st Avenue in Minneapolis on Friday, June 9th at 1 PM with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to N.C. Little Memorial Hospice or the Aliveness Project.

Sendoff - Funerals Reimagined 612-236-0141

Published on May 21, 2023

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