Barbara Joan Lewis Lundstrom began her earthly life on October 8, 1927 in Cloverport, KY, the fifth child of what would become a family of eleven children. Her father was a homebuilder, her mother a busy homemaker. The big family made for many interesting experiences from visiting the old family farm, flying down the Cloverport hill on her bike, picking peaches, moving to Owensboro, KY, attending school, and receiving her sacraments. She contracted polio in 1943 at 15 years old; which really shook the family. The virus was so scary and not much was known about what to do. This pandemic caused the family to have to quarantine in their home. She was admitted to Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital where she overheard, “She will never walk again.” Barbara was determined to prove that wrong-and she did! She not only walked, but played tennis (despite always needing a doubles partner) and vicious pingpong. She climbed mountains, even making it to the base of the boulder field on Longs Peak! Her year-long hospitalization, and subsequent recovery, caused her to miss graduation from St. Joseph High School in Owensboro, but her junior classmates welcomed her to finish high school with them. She attended Nazareth College in Louisville, KY for two years.
Barbara worked as a bookkeeper in Hillman’s Jewelry Store before moving to Mystic, CT to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. She worked in Mystic as a bookkeeper for both the Mystic Marine Museum and Dr. Edmondstone, MD. She was enchanted by the beauty of the Mystic Seaport and New England, but was homesick. She returned to Owensboro to contemplate a religious vocation. She completed a correspondence course to become a certified Rural Electrification Administration bookkeeper for the US Dept. of Agriculture.
In 1955, Barbara became restless again, so she hatched a plan and headed west to CO with her sisters Alice Mae, brother Michael, and cousin Catherine Ruth.. This move was inspired by her father Raphael, who had, for a time, moved his new family to Cheyenne, WY for health reasons. His songs, stories, and poems of the Rocky Mountains had always moved Barbara’s heart.
Many young single people were settling in Denver in the late 1950’s, and so did this group of Lewises. They found a community who would soon become dear friends from all over the country within the Cathedral Young Peoples’ Club and later, the St. Thomas University Club. Numerous religious, civic, and social activities took up their time. Barbara had several bookkeeping jobs here in Denver. In 1958, her sister Ann, 15 years younger, had a serious asthma attack in her home in KY. Barbara convinced their parents to allow Ann to move in with her in Denver which afforded Ann a healthier climate.
Barbara remained single and, under the direction of her pastor, was contemplating living a dedicated single life, when she met a lovely young woman named Cel Lundstrom who had a very eligible and handsome elder brother, Bob. Barbara and Bob quickly became an item and were married on June 4, 1960. They made their home in Northglenn, CO where Bob was a public high school teacher and then a post office worker and Barbara was a homemaker. They had 4 children, were members of Holy Cross Catholic Parish in Thornton, CO and soon, the brand new Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn, CO.
While raising the kids, Barbara kept busy. She volunteered at their schools, band, sports, and church. The importance of the love of family, faith and doing for others were ever at the forefront of Barbara’s mind. For years, she helped the residents of Stapleton Housing Project file their taxes and helped maintain a storefront there. She and Bob were active in the Peace and Justice movement in Denver, supporting the United Farmworkers and The Catholic Worker House. They were involved in various efforts to shut down the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Factory, which at one point involved the whole family as 6 links in a miles-long human chain encircling the entire property. She was an active member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish helping start the Martha’s Group and the Social Concerns Ministry. She worked tirelessly to establish Eucharistic Adoration in the old IHM chapel, and remained dedicated to ensuring a full schedule of committed adorers. The family took numerous cross country trips usually back east to IN or KY to visit cousins and one long, fun venture to VA! Barbara loved to drive.
When Bob died in 1998, Barbara continued to be Grandmother/Gram to her 14 grandchildren. They cherished their time with her playing cards, praying, making rosaries, eating and sleeping over. In the last few years, she took on the name Great Grams to three sweet little boys. She wrote countless notes of encouragement to people, played Bridge or any game, told jokes, worked puzzles, watched movies, read, made thousands of rosaries, and prayed unceasingly. She never met a stranger, and could find a connection to everyone she met. She loved and cared about people, loved to hear their stories, and was a supportive cheerleader for so many, most especially her family, church friends, neighbors, Post Polio Support Group members and care-givers.
With her family and a dear friend by her side, Barbara entered into Eternal Life on March 2, 2022 in Westminster, CO at the care Center at Northridge where she’d lived since January following a fall at home.
Barbara was preceded in death by her beloved C. Robert (Bob) Lundstrom, parents Raphael and Alice Lewis, brothers James and Joseph Lewis, sisters Mary Catherine and Alice Mae Lewis, and Teresa Morgan.
She leaves behind her daughters Joan (David) Knapp and Rita (Jon) Quintana; her sons Tom (Anne) and Rich (Julie) Lundstrom; 14 grandchildren Cecelia (Stephen) Noffke, Alaina Rose, and Joe (Michela) Knapp, Nathan (Lauren), Ryan, Daniel, Samuel, and Allison Quintana, Catherine, John, Claire, and Amy Mae Lundstrom, and Charles and Owen Lundstrom; 3 great grandsons Carl and Xavier Noffke and Jack Quintana; brothers Michael and John (Nancy) Lewis, and sisters Fran (Pappy) Cecil, Jean (John) Gulding, and Ann Lewis, and sister-in-law Francey (Joseph) Lewis; caregiver Moon Clifford; and a multitude of much-loved nephews and nieces, cousins, and dear friends.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to: Jesuit Relief Services at jrsusa.org
Published by Horan & McConaty on Mar. 9, 2022.