OBITUARY: Barbara Jeanne Gehrer

Barbara Jeanne Gehrer passed away peacefully on April 7, 2021, surrounded by family at Pine Village Home in Moundridge.

Barbara was born Dec. 6, 1938 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was the daughter of Fred and Edith Hartman. At age 3, Barbara was adopted by Edith’s second husband, Leo Swedlund, and her name was changed to Barbara Jeanne Swedlund. Barbara became a big sister when Bryan Swedlund was born in 1951.

She was a proud graduate of North High School in Wichita. Barbara would meet the love of her life, Kenneth Gehrer, in the 8th grade. Barbara and Kenneth were married on New Year’s Eve 1960 at St Patrick’s Church in Wichita and became the original Ken and Barbie. They would share 60 years of marriage, starting in Anchorage, Alaska, while Kenneth was in the Air Force. It was in Alaska that their first son, Kevin, was born and three years later, they would move to Kansas City, Mo., and welcomed their second son, Kory. They moved to Wichita in 1966 and welcomed their third son, Kent, in 1971. Their fourth son, Kyle, was born two years later, also in Wichita.

She held several positions within the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, including secretary to the Catholic schools superintendent, school secretary at Blessed Sacrament and business manager for St. Thomas Church. After retiring, they continued to live in Wichita until their love of Table Rock Lake called them to Missouri in 1993 to open The Garden Gallery Gift Shop. They remained in Missouri until Grandma started missing the grandchildren and they moved back to Kansas in 1996.

She survived raising four boys, moving 16 times, washing dishes in the bathtub during many kitchen remodels and we are pretty sure she received her sainthood card immediately upon her death for raising those four boys. Barbara was a great cook and was known for her peanut butter balls, as well as making blueberry pancakes for the grandkids anytime they would come over.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Kenneth, of Hesston and children, Kevin (Nancy) of Wichita, Kory (Joy) of Zimmerdale, Kent (Dana) of Whitewater, and Kyle (Shannon) of Austin, Texas. Barbara is survived by 11 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two more great-grandchildren on the way.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary was at 6 p.m., Sunday April 11, at St Mary Catholic Church in Newton. Mass of the Resurrection was at 10 a.m., Monday April 12, at St Mary Catholic Church, followed by a private family interment.


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