Cover photo for Barbara Joyce Hettinger's Obituary
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1937 Barbara 2024

Barbara Joyce Hettinger

December 5, 1937 — June 20, 2024


 Barbara Joyce (Abel) Hettinger, 86, of Missoula, MT, passed away on June 20 at the Pearl Garden in The Village Senior Residence in Missoula, MT.

 Barabara Joyce was born Dec. 5, 1937, at the Council Bluffs Hospital to Fred and Vera (Shafer) Abel. Their family lived on farms near Hastings, NE and Marne, IA, before purchasing a farm near Diagonal, IA in 1947. Barbara attended Country School through 8th gr and then graduated from Diagonal High School in 1955. In 1957, she married Donald Rice and they moved to Osceola, IA. To this union, three daughters were born. They later divorced and Barbara married John D. Hettinger on May 24, 1974. They lived on a farm near Lenox, IA until 1984. During that time, Barbara became a successful Avon representative, and enjoyed trucking with John, and going on motorcycle trips with him. In 1984, they moved to Missoula where Barbara has lived the rest of her life.

 Barbara continued in Avon for 35 years, achieving the President’s Club award all 35 of those years. Barbara enjoyed camping at Flathead Lake with her husband, going to Yuma, AZ, in the winter, and playing card games with other couples until he passed in 2009. Barbara continued to travel extensively and saw many beautiful parts of the world.

Barbara maintained a vigorous lifestyle and a strong faith-walk. She was an active member of First Lutheran Church, where she held various offices of LWML, led service groups, and participated in Bible studies. She even took a mission trip to Ecuador when she was 71. She has also enjoyed being a Red-Hatter and joining in their activities, as well as aquatic classes, line-dancing, Tai-Chi, and activities at the Sr. Center.

In the quieter moments, she enjoyed crocheting, sewing, reading, researching family history, and being proficient on the computer.

The real love of Barbara’s life has always been her family. Growing up, she had a close-knit relationship with her immediate family as well as grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She passed that love on to her family, especially as son-in-laws, and grandchildren were added. Never a dull moment, fun times, and great memories were made.

Barbara was a faith-filled wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who loved “her people”, worked hard, and lived life to the fullest.

From September of 2021, Barbara was lovingly cared for by many care givers at The Pearl Garden of The Village. In addition, in her last days, she was attentively taken care of by Big Sky Palliative & Hospice of Missoula.

She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brother, Ronald, and grandson, Bryan Meyer.

 Survivors include her three daughters, Diane, and husband, Dan Kerr of Andover, MN; Lisa, and husband, Wade Meyer of Sioux Falls, SD, and Patsy, and husband, Jerry Kirschenheiter, of Missoula, MT; one sister-in-law, Viola Abel, of Boone, IA; and 9 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. 

 A funeral service will be held at First Lutheran Church on Thursday, June 27, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Dave Johnson officiating. Visitation is at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served directly after the service.

 In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials may be given to First Lutheran Church of Missoula, MT.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Joyce Hettinger, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, June 27, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Memorial Service

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Reception will immediately follow the service.

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