Barbara Mary (Sheild) Guenthner

Barbara Guenthner passed away peacefully at age 94 on August 1, 2019 at St. Andrews Village, Mahtomedi.  Barb was born on December 13, 1924 in Salem, South Dakota, to Rexford M. and Mary C. Sheild.  She met her future husband Dick in high school after watching him play basketball for rival Bridgewater in a game at Salem.  She attended the University of South Dakota, where she majored in English, graduated with honors, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority.

Barb and Dick were married in Salem on June 21, 1946 and moved to Rochester, New York, where Dick worked for Eastman Kodak. In 1947 they moved to the East Side of St. Paul, where Dick began a 40-year career as a research chemist at 3M.  They raised their four children, Tom, Betsy, Ken and Mary at their homes in St. Paul and Birchwood, where they moved in 1962.  Barb and her family were active members and volunteers at Arlington Heights Lutheran Church in St. Paul and First Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake.  She taught English in the St. Paul school system and later taught as a substitute teacher in White Bear.

Barb was preceded in death by her parents Rex and Mary, sister Betty, brother Bob, and husband Dick.  She is survived by her brother, Rev. John Sheild, son Tom (Maxine), daughter Betsy (Gary) Nabel, son Ken (Kathy), and daughter Mary (Rob) Osterlund.  Barb and Dick had nine grandchildren, Willy (Jess) and Frank (Marissa) Guenthner, Chris (Mary), Elisa, and Katherine Nabel, George and Guy Guenthner, and Jonathan and Laura Osterlund.  Barb was blessed with two great-grandchildren, Willy and Jess’s Rex and Louise, and had a special, mother-daughter relationship with dear family friend Anna VanWely Rafter of Bristol, England.  She left many close friends and neighbors for whom she was a second mother or grandma.

Barb and Dick were among the Founders of and longtime volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House at the University of Minnesota.  Their commitment to the humanitarian mission of First Lutheran Church led to their participation in two mission trips to Kenya following Dick’s retirement.  She was a talented seamstress, quilter and knitter and she outfitted all of her extended family with many beautiful sweaters, socks, scarves and mittens.  She knitted every day and was working on a prayer shawl up until her final days. 

Barb was an intelligent, sweet woman and she lived a life of gracious, unconditional love.  She was a loyal, supportive friend and a beloved daughter, sister, mother, mother-in-law, aunt and grandmother.  Her heart had room for every person she met and she lived her life surrounded by those who loved her. Her family is grateful for and wishes to thank the many aides and staff members who provided the wonderful care she received at St. Andrews Village.

Services will be held at Community of Grace Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake on October 14, at 11 a.m., with visitation at 10 a.m. and a reception at the church to follow.  Barb will be interred next Spring alongside Dick at the Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Bridgewater, South Dakota.  Memorials to the Ronald McDonald House Charities – Upper Midwest.

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