Barbara Ann (Waller) Gantenbein, 74, passed away early in the morning on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, in the comforting care of her home at Seventh Heaven in Dubuque.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road, with Pastor Penny Knutson officiating. Burial will follow in Rockdale United Methodist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be from 9 to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Please remember to wear your mask, and if you are unable to attend, a live-stream of the funeral service will be on the funeral home Facebook page.

Barb was born on July 4th, 1946, in Dubuque. She was the daughter of Clarence and Elizabeth, though following their divorce she was sent to be raised in the home of cousins Robert and Leona Watters. Barb was a graduate of Dubuque Senior High, class of 1964.

On September 10, 1966, Barb married Carl Anthony Gantenbein at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Barb and Tony had four children together, losing one in infancy. Both hardworking farmers at heart, they raised their three surviving children on their beloved farm that they called the T and 4 B Ranch.

As one would expect from someone born on the 4th of July, Barb was a firecracker. Outgoing and personable, she worked for many years as a waitress at Ioco truck stop, where she was known and loved by travelers and locals alike. Her entertaining companionship and excellent cooking were staples of many people’s experiences in the city. Suffice to say, she was as much a part of Dubuque as Dubuque was of her.

Barb thrived in the country life. A quintessential farm girl, she had an affinity for country music and antique tractors. One of her most defining traits was her love of animals, which she made sure to instill in her children and grandchildren. Undoubtedly, it is a trait that will continue to be passed on through the generations — a legacy that honors Barb and would make her proud.

During the final years of her life, Barb navigated the foggy valley of dementia. Even as other things faded, she always maintained her spunk, energy and good humor, providing her caretakers with many laughs and good memories. Her family is thankful for the devoted long-term care of the staff of Seventh Heaven, and the nurses of Hospice of Dubuque for ensuring comfort in her final days.

She is survived by her children, Brian (Linda) Gantenbein, Brenda (Randy) Jansen and Brent (Rachel) Gantenbein; and her grandchildren, Nathan and Nicholas Gantenbein, Gail Jansen and Caden, Everlee, and Bo Gantenbein. She is also survived by sisters, Sally O’Dell, Linda (Gerald) Hoftender, and Rosie (Randy) Stoffel; and brothers Thomas Waller, Earl (Janet) Waller, Alan (Tonya) Waller and Bill (Joyce) Watters.

Barb is preceded in death by her birth and foster parents; her husband, Tony; and her infant daughter, Gail. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Rockdale United Methodist Church in memory of Barb.

Recommended for you