Barbara Lowenstein Finley, age 98, died peacefully of natural causes at the home of her daughter Deborah (Steve) Conver in Great Falls, Virginia on February 20, 2021.
A life-long South Dakota resident, Barbara was born on September 14, 1922, in Hillsview, SD to Katherine (Lyczewski) and Leonard Lowenstein and grew up in Ipswich, SD.
The oldest of six children, she had to quit school after 8th grade to help raise her younger brothers and sisters. In her late teens, she worked at the C&C Café in Ipswich where she had the pleasure of waiting on famous actor Clark Gable and his hunting friends, earning a huge tip and a story that became a staple in family lore. From Ipswich, she moved to Aberdeen, SD where she worked at a shoe store, hired for her ability to speak German which was her first language, and at Bell Telephone as a switchboard operator.
On January 10, 1949, Barbara married Donald S. Finley, who opened and operated Don’s Barber Shop in Aberdeen until his death in 1990. She quit work to raise their family with five of seven children living to adulthood. A very smart woman despite her lack of formal education, she managed the family finances and earned money to pay off their mortgage by renting out rooms in their house on 2nd Avenue SE.
After the older children had moved away, she worked at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the rectory and then worked for 13 years in the cafeteria of Central High School, retiring in 1995. She also worked as a “sample lady” at Kessler’s in the deli department. Despite her responsibilities as working woman, wife and mother, she achieved a life-long dream by attending classes to earn her High School Equivalency diploma.
A devout Catholic, Barbara was involved in Catholic Daughters and served as Treasurer of the Sacred Heart chapter for quite a few years. She was a tireless volunteer at Church events. Her faith was strong and she kept all of her family and friends in her daily prayers.
Barbara and daughter Cheryl were fixtures at local events in the Aberdeen area. She loved visiting her out-of-state sons and daughter and became an avid international traveler in her later years. She and daughter Deb traveled together to 11 countries. She was absolutely game for anything and her response to any inquiry about possible travel was “send me a ticket.” She loved new experiences, including attending music concerts, especially those where son Terry was Tour Manager, viewing nature, and attending Washington Nationals baseball games where she surprised everyone by knowing all of the rules and predicting hits and outs. (Who knew she had actually been a softball pitcher in her youth?) In her final years living in Virginia, she was the “Yahtzee Queen” for her ability to roll Yahtzees in almost every game. She had a wonderful, wry sense of humor and absolutely loved ice cream, red roses, dancing and a good laugh. She was full of surprises!
She was incredibly proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and she loved her daughters-in-law and son-in-law as if they were her own. While she raised five children, she was “Mom” or “Grandma” to dozens more in South Dakota, Virginia and across the globe. Her “bonus” daughter Gail (Stan) Hanson of Garretson held a very special place in her heart. She was much loved by all who knew her and will be desperately missed.
Barbara is survived by five children, Cheryl Gabriel of Aberdeen, Deborah (Steve) Conver of Great Falls, VA; Garey (Patty) Finley of Bath, SD; Terry (Anna) Finley of Corbett, OR; and Jim (Heather) Finley of Bridge City, TX. She is also survived by her four granddaughters Stacey (Mike) Hecht, Carmella (Franz) Keuser, Chris (Kevin) Rohrbach and Keelin Finley and 8 great grandchildren, Logan, Tyler, Cody and Katherine Rohrbach; Aiden and Timothy Hecht; and Nikolas and Alexander Keuser; her sister-in-law Vivian Lowenstein Monroe and dozens of much-loved nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband Donald, two children Anola Maria and Timothy Patrick, her parents and her five siblings.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Visitation will be 5:00-7:00 p.m., with a liturgical wake service at 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 30, 2021, at the funeral home. Visitation will continue one hour prior to mass at the church.
Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Ipswich, SD.
Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook and also view the service at www.schriversmemorial.com.
The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Hospice Help Foundation, 14900 Conference Center Drive, Suite 170, Chantilly, VA 20151.
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