Barbara Ellen DeDecker died July 29, 2016.
She was born in the family home on March 8, 1927, in Iowa County, Iowa, the fourth child of Michael and Agatha Sauter. Barbara had nine siblings, Claire, James, Mary, Joan, Paul, Audrey, Kevin, Michael and Kay. Life on the farm nurtured Barbara's work ethic and creative spirit. She graduated from Millersburg High School and then attended the Chicago Art Institute until she was called home to care for her family.
On Oct. 1, 1949, Barbara married Raymond Eugene DeDecker (Pete), who became her life-long partner. After their wedding, Barbara and Pete began their journey on a 350-acre Sauter family farm in Iowa County. Even though Pete was not raised on a farm himself, the Sauter family embraced him and Barbara's upbringing provided the skill set for their farm to grow. Besides her creative endeavors in the art world, Barbara could wield a pitchfork as readily as she could a wooden spoon. As the years progressed, Barbara and Pete watched their family blossom as much as their farm with 10 children, Mike, Mark, Denise, Mary, Jo, Carrie, Jane, David, Molly and Maggie. In the late 1960s, times were difficult for small family farms, so Barbara and Pete made the difficult decision to relocate their family. They settled in Loveland, Colo., because St. John's Catholic Church provided the spiritual guidance the family needed to begin their new journey. Their house on Namaqua Hills looks eastward towards their Iowa homeland.
Barb's artistic talent took a new direction in raising her children. She was a seamstress, culinary artist, master gardener, painter, sculptor and teacher. Life itself was a canvas for her. The riches of the garden became a colorful still life, whether presented in a basket, preserved in jars, or prepared with love for the dinner plates. Feed sacks turned into grass skirts. Lunch bags became puppets and hats. A salvaged coat transformed into matching Vogue jackets for her children to wear to church. Homework assignments were her avenue to teach her children how to solve life's problems with creativity and Elmer's glue. Her grandchildren remember when grandma repurposed an Amana refrigerator box into a three-room club house, complete with animated Roman frescos. As her grandson said, "Grandma can make anything out of cardboard."
Barbara loved to make dolls. She made porcelain dolls, drip-and-drape dolls, sock-dolls, dried apple dolls and rag dolls. Any material could become a doll, but cornhusks were the medium that reflected her Iowa roots and allowed her to express her true artistry. Her cornhusk dolls weren't just dolls, they were treasured works of art that captured the human spirit. The care that she took in these dolls, and really anything she did in life, were her way of teaching the lessons of love. Everyone felt loved by Barbara, and you couldn't help but love her back. Whenever there was a need she reached out to fill it. Over the years, she and Pete were caretakers for many of their grandchildren. In turn, Barbara and Pete were both cared for at home by their children and grandchildren in their final years.
The family would like to especially thank Dr Prema Jacob and Halcyon Hospice for their personal care for Barbara.
Barbara is survived by her 10 children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Barbara's masterpiece is her family, and in Barbara's own words, "It turned out good."
Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug 5, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish with a reception following at the church. Inurnment will be held at Loveland Burial Park. Memorials to Halcyon Hospice, c/o Viegut Funeral Home. Go to www.viegutfuneralhome.com for online condolences.
Posted on Tuesday, 2 August 2016