Barbara Kay Beers Kirscher, 89, passed away from natural causes on May 25, 2016 in Townsend, Montana.
All Barbara's life was directed by her faith and love of family and friends and her desire to make a positive contribution to her Community. Her life was a lifetime of service; to Townsend, to Broadwater County and to the State of Montana.
Born in Judith Gap, Barb graduated from Judith Gap High School in 1944 as Valedictorian of her class. During her time at Montana State College (now MSU) Barbara played trumpet in the marching band once performing before the Legislature in Helena. She used her flare for journalism working on the MSC Exponent and the MSC yearbooks. She was a member of the freshman honorary society Alpha Lambda Delta, a member of the MSC Spurs (a sophmore service club where she served as local president and editor of the national magazine) and she was a member of the Mortar Board - the Senior Honorary Society.
While at MSC Barbara met and married Frederick Joseph Kirscher, WWII Army Air Corps Veteran. In 1948, they both graduated from MSC, Barbara with the highest honors.
While being a full, working partner on the family ranch near the site of the historic town of Canton (now under Canyon Ferry Lake) Barbara raised a family of 4 children (3 girls and 1 boy). During that time, Barbara also taught Sunday school to adults and children, was Superintendant of the Sunday School and served on the Administrative Board; was a member of the PTA; was President of the Canton Valley Woman’s Club and of the County Federation winning a local and district local fashion sew-it-yourself contest. The clubs were very active in community services during this time being responsible for gaining grants to build the original swimming pool. They were also still sponsoring an annual Charity Ball, which had benefited the local hospital. Barbara’s year as Charity Ball Chairman used an “April in Paris” theme and benefited local youth projects.
She also served many years as Chairman of the county library board, accomplishing a major renovation of the library in the courthouse basement accomplishing a “weeding” of the stagnated collection and institution of a system of review and systematic renewal of the collection. She was recognized by the Montana State Library Board as runner-up for the Librarian of the year and was one of those honored at a regional Library Convention in Glacier Park.
Barbara was also an active 4-H parent and as a 12 year leader helped guide her own children and others through many years of varied 4-H projects. She served as Chairman of the County 4-H Council .
In 1966, Barbara was appointed as manager of the local Selective System Service office a position she held through the tumultuous years of the Viet Nam War until the Selective Service was "put on standby". Barabara was also employed by the Broadwter County Clerk of Court.
After Joe's death in 1973, Barbara held a variety of jobs. She was employed by the Montana Department of Public Instruction in Helena as a secretary in the Indian Education Division. She then took a position with the Montana Health System Agency in Sidney, Montana where she served on the State Governing Board for MHSA. As federal funds for health care dwindled, Barbara moved to Billings where she was responsible for the 14 South Central Countines in a part-time position with MHSA and was also employed by the local branch office of the Montana Lung Association. She was very proud of her role in establishing and directing Camp Huff and Puff, a camp for children with breathing problems.
After retiring from the Lung Association in 1989, Barbara moved back to Townsend where she continued her long tradition of community service. She helped from the Broadwater Community Health Foundation. In addition she served on the Townsend Health System Board and the District Board until her health required her resignation in 2016.
Throughout her life Barbara was very active in the Esther Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star holding many offices. She twice held the position of Worthy Matron and served as Grand Representative several times. Her membership in the Daughters of the Nile, as part of the Egyptian Oriental Band and her support of the Shrine Hospital were especially importatn to her.
She also served 4 terms on the board of the "Live at the Civic" and worked many years as a membership volunteer. She supported the Townsend United Methodist Church for 58 years and as a charter member of the Trailhead Christian Fellowship.
In the 1970's Barbara was awarded a Kellog-Extension Program Fellowship. It involved studying at MSU and travel on a State, National and International basis for 4 weeks each of 3 winters. Over the years her involvement in the Keep project took her China, Japan and Hawaii fostering a love of travel. She subsequently visited Australia, New Zealand, many European Counties including Ireland, England and Greece. The also visited Egytp, the Panama Canal and Mexico and enjoyed several trips to the Caribbean. Of course, she traveled to many US locations including Alaska.
In 2013 Barbara was given the Jennie Award by the Grand Federation of Women's Clubs. The GFWC Jennie Award is the only national honor that recognizes individual members for personal excellence. The GFWC Jennie Award honors one clubwoman from each GFWC Region for outstanding commitment to club, community, and family. They are chosen by their clubs to compete at state, region, and national levels for the Federation’s highest honor. Barbara was selected as the national Jennie Award winner. For more information regarding the Jennie Award click on the link: GFWC Jennie Award.
To read testimonials written for Barbara in support of her Jennie Award Nomintation"
Throughout her life, Barbara was an active Democrat and was very active in the Broadwater County Democratic Central Committee.
To read Barbara's auto-biography click on the link:
Barabara and Joe's Wedding Photo: