Barbara J. Minster (nee Fletcher), 68, of Downers Grove, died peacefully on 7/25/21, surrounded by the love of her family. She was the oldest of five children, born on December 10th, 1952, to Donald and the late Elizabeth Fletcher in Lombard, Illinois. Barbara is survived by her adoring husband, Jack V. Minster; father Donald Fletcher; daughters Amy Minster (Brian Kalbfleish), Elizabeth (Geraint) Phillips and son Jack D. (Mary) Minster; sister Catherine (Daniel) Graves, brothers Douglas and Jeffrey Fletcher; and her greatest loves, grandchildren Annalee and Everett Kalbfleisch, Rhys, Carys and Alys Phillips, and Jack, James and Lucy Minster. She was preceded in death by her mother Elizabeth (nee Ditterline) Fletcher and brother Richard (Marge) Fletcher.
Barbara married Jack V. Minster, the love of her life, who she first met during their freshman year of high school at Glenbard East. Barbara was an accomplished cellist and student and after several years of getting to know Jack’s jokes and playful character, she finally agreed to go out with him. Their first official date was to see the movie West Side Story during their junior year. The high school sweethearts were inseparable from that point forward and married in August of 1972. They bought their first house in Villa Park, Illinois and moved to Downers Grove with their young family in 1978. In 2005, they bought their dream vacation home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and created countless memories with their children and grandchildren at the beach. Barb and Jack were together for over 50 years and married for almost 49 years, through which they experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, but always together and as a pillar of strength and inspiration to their family.
Barb and Jack’s kids have fond memories of a childhood filled with love and support as they pursued their interests, cultural adventures, and unique learning opportunities. Whether it was participating in fossil hunts, sending the kids to Space Camp, sewing outfits for Cabbage Patch dolls, attending sporting events or driving in to the city for ballet, record stores, to pick up DJ equipment or to attend a musical, Barb had a natural inclination to expose her children to a well-rounded and cultural life. She had a love of reading, gardening, crafting, making jewelry, handmade paper, handcrafted Valentine’s cards and spooky potion bottles to decorate for Halloween. No matter what her children’s interests were, she gave them the space to explore and supported them fully, often at a personal sacrifice. For that, they are eternally grateful.
As their three children grew, Barb realized her greatest joy in life came from the arrival of her eight wonderful grandchildren. She was there as each child entered the world and loved them all fiercely. While watching them all play together was one of her favorite past times, the quiet moments spent in conversation with them individually was where the bonds really grew. She hosted “Grandma Camp” in the backyard and had Jack convert their old pool deck into a pirate ship to fuel the imaginations. She sewed the most beautiful of Halloween costumes and built vast libraries of treasured books for each child. With a goal of building social awareness and personal responsibility, she also provided each of the grandchildren an opportunity to select a charity that represented their own interests and she and Jack made monthly contributions on their behalf.
Barb endured an eighteen year-long battle with breast cancer and did her best to live within the limitations that her health brought about. As the disease ebbed and flowed throughout the years, many plans changed, and certain dreams were never realized. She never had the chance to travel to Italy, to take the grandchildren on an epic RV adventure to the west coast, or the opportunity to watch them find out who they will be as they grow up. Her one wish was to live long enough that even the youngest grandchild would have happy memories of their time together. Grandma Barb gave each of her grandchildren a magical childhood, a sense of wonder and enough love to last a lifetime. The entire family will ensure that her life and legacy lives on with each of them, as she will be in our hearts forever.
A Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 29th, from 4 - 8 PM at Brust Funeral Home, 135 S. Main Street, Lombard, IL. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, July 31st at 2 PM, followed by Inurnment at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1125 Franklin St, Downers Grove, IL.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the People’s Resource Center, Office of Development, 201 S. Naperville Road, Wheaton, IL 60187, an organization that Barb fully believed in and made regular contributions to in order to help better the lives of those in need. She had said that while you can’t always change your own situation, there is always something you can do to help someone else through theirs, and we will continue to live our lives in a way that honors her sentiment.
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People’s Resource Center, Office of Development
201 S. Naperville Rd, Wheaton IL 60187