Barbara Jean Root, age 62, of Kimball, died Tuesday, Dec.17, 2013, near Litchfield in an automobile accident.
She was born Oct. 21, 1951, in Litchfield, to Wayne Viktor and Mayme Louise (Johnson) Laitinen. Barbara was baptized by the Rev. Claire Jennings, and confirmed by the Rev. Arthur Edstrom, both at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kingston.
She attended elementary school at the Pleasant Grove Rural School, and graduated from Kimball High School in 1969.
Barbara attended Association Free Lutheran Bible College for two years, and then pursued her piano performance and music degrees at Concordia College in Moorhead and at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
During a night of Christmas caroling in the streets of Kingston in 1974, Barbara got re-acquainted with Ned Root; they were married a year later, Dec. 13, 1975, at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel.
Music and her family were Barb’s life. She was the organist at First Methodist of Mason City, IA, Redeemer Lutheran of Kingston, and most recently at Zion United Methodist Church of South Haven. She was also a substitute organist for many churches throughout the area.
Barbara taught her love of music through piano lessons for nearly 40 years; she passed this passion to more than 1000 children and adults.
She is survived by her husband, Ned, of Kimball; three sons, Christopher (Maggie Hake) of Philadelphia, PA, Stephen (Sydney Tolchinsky) of Flagstaff, AZ, and Daniel (Rachel Rosha) of St. Paul; a brother, Tom (Helen) Laitinen of Decorah, IA; a sister, Iva Gunnerson of Remer; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and piano students.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Nathan, in 1981; and a brother-in-law, Colin Gunnerson, in 2010.
Funeral services took place Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. at Ostmark Lutheran Church in Watkins with Pastor Joe Midthun officiating, with a private family burial at Redeemer Lutheran Cemetery. Music for the service was provided by Judy Zylstra, Dana Schauer-Koehn, the Rainbow Singers, and piano students of Barbara.
Friends called Friday, Dec. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel in Kimball, with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
Pallbearers were Mark, Lane, Gayle, and Chad Gunnerson, Annette and Janelle Laitinen, and Mary Keelan.
Arrangements were entrusted with Dingmann Funeral Care Burial & Cremation Services of Kimball. Obituary, guestbook, and video tribute online at dingmannfuneral.com.