Fern Loretta (Barberg) Holt, age 83, of Cokato, died Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at her daughter’s home in Stockholm Township.
She was born Jan. 25, 1930, in Aitkin, to John and Blanche Allen, and grew up on a farm outside of Litchfield with nine older brothers and five sisters.
She started school in a one-room schoolhouse close to the farm at age 4, and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1947. Fern furthered her education at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, where she fell in love with swimming and participated in water ballet.
Many years later, Fern went back to college and finished her degree at the University of Minnesota - Winona, in 1975.
Fern met and married Alvin Barberg of Cokato in 1949. They lived in Cokato, then Stillwater, and then moved to Denver, CO for Fern’s health. She lived in the Denver area for almost 20 years, working several different jobs, while raising four children.
Fern and Al divorced in 1971, and Fern moved to Rochester, where she spent the next 28 years.
Fern worked for Olmstead County Social Services in Rochester, where she licensed day care homes. She was very active in the Salvation Army, and it was there that she met Charles Holt.
Years later, she and Chuck were married, in 1980. Together, they were volunteer drivers and very active in the Salvation Army church. Fern and Chuck were married for 18 years, until he passed away in the summer of 1998.
In 1999, Fern moved back to Cokato, first living at Edgewood Gables, then moving in with her daughter, Cindy, in 2008. Her daughter, Ginger moved in to help care for Fern for the last two and one-half years, while Fern was on dialysis.
Fern loved to travel and went on art tours with her sister, Nellie, and even took up painting. She had a great love for children.
She is survived by her children, Ginger Tharp of Chandler, AZ, John (Shari) Barberg of Cokato, Tom (Ann) Barberg of Troutdale, OR, and Cindy (Paul) Henderson of Cokato; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren, plus one on the way.
Memorial services took place Friday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Cokato.