Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Location: Cathedral Church of St. Paul | Des Moines, 815 High Street, Des Moines, IA US 50309

Coordinator: Rev. John Doherty |

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Barbara passed away on the morning of Friday, December 29, 2017 surrounded by family. She was at peace. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 3 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul with visitation one hour prior to the service. Private interment will be at a later date.

Barbara was born December 26, 1924 in Lafayette, Indiana to the late Anna K. Werner Burton and Harry Clifford Burton. The family lived in Chicago, where Barbara attended Arthur Dixon grade school and Emil G. Hirsch high school. She graduated early in February of 1943, and went to work for Commonwealth Edison in Chicago while attending Northwestern College in the city.

At the invitation of friends, Barbara went to work for the government Office of Special Settlements in New York City in 1944. She lived in Huntington House at 94 4th Avenue, right around the corner from Grace Episcopal Church. It was in New York where she met Ralph Brookmeyer Stevens, who was a newly commissioned officer in the Army Finance Division. Barbara went on to work for Pan American Airlines, where she fondly recalled memories of the large Clipper Ship flying boats used during World War II. Ralph and Barbara were married on November 2, 1946 in Lafayette, Indiana.

Barbara spent many years as a dedicated homemaker as she and Ralph lovingly raised their growing family in the Officer's Quarters at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, in Marshall Minnesota, and finally in Des Moines, Iowa. In Des Moines, Barbara worked at Meredith Corporation. She was active in PEO, in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, and also served as an election volunteer.

Barbara and Ralph were well traveled, with trips to England, Mexico, Spain, the Bahamas, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Hawaii and many other locations throughout the United States. Ralph passed away on February 20 in 2000. That year, Barbara took the last of 37 annual trips to Lake Plantagenet in Minnesota to scatter some of Ralph's ashes on Stevens Trail.

She is remembered as a determined person in her sunset years, working tenaciously without complaint to maintain her quality of life and to live on her own terms. In one instance, after a fall, she directed Des Moines Fire Rescue to wait while she found a well pressed blouse. In another, she took her driving test multiple times, and on passing, immediately gave away her car and ceased driving. There was a full moon evening in the emergency room where she brought tears of laughter to the medical staff with her dry sense of humor at 2 a.m.

The Birthday Club now has one more member in Heaven, and one less at the Des Moines Embassy Club.

Barbara is survived by her children, Dr. Nancy Kuemmerle of Grantham, New Hampshire, Jean Davis (Dr. Wilson) of Keokuk, Iowa, Mary Barnes (Dr. Charles) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Richard Stevens (Christina) of West Des Moines, Iowa, as well as six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Barbara also leaves behind a legacy of unconditional love and support.

Barbara's family would like to thank the tireless caregivers of Wesley Acres as well as well as her friends and champions, including Dr. John C. Heffernan, who together enabled Barbara to live a comfortable life through her final years. Memorials may be directed to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.