Barbara Mary Matthews - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

May 29, 1932 - March 29, 2024

Barbara Matthews

age 91, of Richfield passed away peacefully on Good Friday, March 29th , 2024. Barb was born and raised in South Minneapolis, graduated from St. Margaret’s high school and completed her nursing degree at Mercy in Dubuque, IA. Before she had a chance to work in nursing, Barb met Larry Matthews at a dance in Iowa and shortly thereafter entered her vocation of housewife and stay-at-home mom to her and Larry’s six children. Barb and Larry were married for 59 years until his passing in 2013. Barb was a dedicated volunteer in her spare time. She volunteered in several “Mom” roles at Assumption school, baked pies and introduced the fresh fruit cup for the Assumption Church fun fest, joined in the sewing and crafting circles for the bazaar, baked bars for and coordinated funeral luncheons, organized and served senior luncheons, and purchased the groceries for the priests at the Rectory. Barb used her time and Talents to make a difference where
she could. When her youngest daughters were in high school, Barb saw a need to re-start a hot lunch and design a salad bar program at Holy Angels. From
developing the menus, purchasing food and supplies, obtaining permitting and passing health inspections, coordinating volunteers, serving, then cleaning everything up, she ran a tight ship! She was proud to head up this program, ran it for several years and donated all of the profits back to the school for improvements. As the last of the kids entered college, Barb finally took more time for herself and became a fixture in exercise classes at the health club. Barb enjoyed getting fit and inspired many of the young gals she joined in spinning and aerobics classes. Always a brave and fearless woman, Barb famously went skydiving to celebrate her 80th birthday. She loved the experience and thrill of that adventure! Barb was also fierce in spirited games of ping pong with her grand and great-grandkids.

Barb loved a good bargain and was known for hunting down the lowest prices on groceries. Armed with coupons and the ads showing each store’s best deals, she always knew her prices and always checked her receipts! This skill came in handy for the family budget-stretching and her many volunteer gigs involving food and meals.

When her dear husband Larry became ill in 2010, Barb lovingly cared for him at home. Barb is preceded in death by husband Larry, her parents and her siblings, Bill, Caron and Tom. Barb is survived by her children Pam, Jeff (Deb), Joe (Stephanie), John (Kathe), Mary (Patrick) and Amy (Jon), grandchildren Lindsay, Jason, Paul (Melissa), Alyssa (Garrett), Allison, Natalie (Luke), Kristen (Derek), Brett, Justin (Megan), Nick, Zach (Taylor), Ava, Sarah, Ella, Julia and great-grandchildren Easton, Nina and Lennyn. Barb is also survived by sister-in-law Sally and loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Our Mom taught us that we could always do and be better, that giving of your time can be just as valued and important as giving of your money, and that a clean house is a Godly house. She was a woman of faith and told us that whatever we needed help with, there was a Saint to help intercede for us in prayer. She also prayed for the Rosary for all of us.

Although Barb was very disciplined in her diet, she did enjoy a few treats: her afternoon Diet Coke, her Friday veggie pizza supper, and the occasional cup of Culver’s custard.

Special thanks to Mom’s neighbors Kristy, Nahum, Emily and Allie for bringing joy to her life in later years. We are also grateful for Sister Noreen’s friendship to Mom and our family over the years.

Thank you for taking such good care of us, Mom. We know you were the “no” parent so that Dad could be the “yes” parent. You showed us love by your service to our family and set an example of hard work and constant giving to others.

One of Barb’s favorite charities was St. Vincent DePaul of the Twin Cities and if so moved, memorials could be directed to that wonderful organization (


  1. Pat Kaiser says:

    A very nice tribute to a very special person!

  2. Theresa and David Reiter says:

    Barb was so excited a while back when she called and said she had had so much fun dancing. I thought, wow, she has more energy than I have and she’s a little older. Wink wink. She never seemed to age. Once way back, when my husband was kidding me about my coupon habit, she said nothing wrong with saving money. It was nice to have a kindred spirit. We were all lucky to be raised by parents much like Barb and Larry. They took the job seriously but taught us to laugh and be adventurous. She will be missed.

  3. Wade palmer says:

    I was lucky for the last 10 years or so to reconnect with my aunt Barb. I am going to miss stopping by her home, when I was working in the area. We would have some great conversations, and I enjoyed making her laugh. Being she was the last of the palmer family, I felt a need to have a connection with her. She will be greatly missed.

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