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Kathleen M. Barnes, 84, of Cresco, IA passed away peacefully at Evans Memorial Home in Cresco surrounded by loved ones at 11:16 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.
Kathleen “Kay” Smith was born on October 28, 1939, at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Cresco, IA to Francis and Irene (Rethamel) Smith. There were 13 children in her family; 6 boys and 7 girls. Kay was the 5th oldest. She was baptized, made First Communion and was Confirmed at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Lourdes, IA. Kay started Kindergarten at age 4 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Lourdes, IA and attended there through 10th grade when it closed. She then finished her junior and senior years of high school at Notre Dame Catholic School in Cresco. For her junior year, she stayed with her older sister Pat because there was no bus service to the Catholic school. She was able to drive herself to school during her senior year. She graduated in May of 1957.
Kay worked at the Cresco Café, Hank’s Café and Elm’s Café during high school, but her favorite job was spending summers detasseling corn out of Reinbeck.
As a young girl, Kay was a “tomboy” and loved working on the farm with her dad and brothers. She enjoyed baling hay and picking rock, anything that allowed her to be in the sun. However, she never liked cleaning the milk separator bowl. Following her high school graduation, Kay worked at Neal Martin’s IGA grocery store.
On November 27, 1957, she was united in marriage to Larry Barnes at Holy Cross Church in Schley, IA. They had a double wedding with Larry’s sister Marlene and Dick Cummings on Larry’s parents (Miles and Elvira Barnes) wedding anniversary. They started Larry’s Trailer Court in Cresco in 1959. Larry had a body shop in his home garage where he and Kay painted and restored cars. That same year Kay started working at the Cresco Union Savings Bank, where she continued to work for 21 years. Kay was very meticulous and always made sure she balanced her cage to the penny.
In her younger days, Kay loved music and dancing with her husband Larry. Kay held other jobs around Cresco including cleaning St. Joseph’s Catholic School, the Super 8 Motel and caring for Alan Wohlsdorf in his home. She was doing what she loved, because Kay really enjoyed cleaning and organizing.
From 1963-1966, they lived on the Pizinger Farm until they moved into the big house at the Trailer Court, where they lived from 1966-1974. In 2012, Kay and Larry made a move to the Howard County Residential Care Center until May of 2016. Larry moved to Evans at the end of 2015 because he needed additional care. Kay moved there to be with him in 2016. They were together there until Larry passed away on June 1, 2020. Due to the horrible circumstances during COVID-19, Kay lived with Mary Kay and her husband from July 23, 2020 to January 7, 2021 when she moved back to Evans.
In her prime Kay enjoyed walking, biking, doing yard work, visiting family and friends and anything to do with her grandchildren. They were her pride and joy. Kay and Larry attended sporting events for all of them and made lots of trips to watch fast pitch softball.
In later years, Kay loved outings and visits with her family, saying the Rosary, doing word searches and puzzles and playing cards with her sisters.
Kay was especially happy with becoming a great-grandmother and was so pleased with the arrival of her great-grandson John Joseph in October 2021, and was anticipating meeting her little great-granddaughter coming in February 2024.
The morning of Kay’s passing, Chris, Kay’s sisters Char Ryan and Pat Svestka, and her niece Julie Hosek Wilkes were gathered in Kay’s room. At 8:30 a.m., Julie had Mary Kay present on FaceTime. Mary Kay had just remembered Kay had a favorite song called “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn. Kay always said it reminded her of her dad, Fran Smith. Kay and her siblings always called him, “Daddy.” Mary Kay played the song on her iPad via FaceTime. Kay took her last breath right after the song ended. It was a peaceful end to a beautiful life.
Kay is survived by her daughter Mary Kay (Joe) Kelly of Chester, son Chris Barnes of Cresco, grandchildren John Patrick (Marie) Kelly and their son John Joseph of Davenport, IA, Caitlin (Jason) Humienny and their baby girl on the way of Pittsburgh, PA, Flynn (Annie) Kelly of Davenport, IA, brothers and sisters Bill (Pat) Smith of Elma, IA, Pat (Paul) Svestka of Cresco, Joe (Jeanne) Smith of Elma, Mary Nehl of Hazelton, IA, Jerry Smith of Elma, Charlene (Mike) Ryan of Hazelton, Betty Jean (Mike) Sullivan of Fairbank, IA, Paula Growden of Hazelton, Mel (Kathy) Smith of Harpers Ferry, IA, Steve (Dina) Smith of Blair, WI, sister-in-law Norma Smith of Schley; brother-in-law Gene (Diana) Hosek of Lime Springs; brother-in-law Bob (Carolyn) Barnes of Cedar Rapids, IA; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents Francis and Irene Smith, stillborn infant son Kelly in 1961, brother Jack Smith, sister Judy Hosek, sister-in-law Donna Smith, brothers-in-law Bill Nehl and Skip Growden, brother-in-law Rodney Barnes, sister-in-law Faye Barnes, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Marlene (Dick) Cummings.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 2, 2024 at Notre Dame Catholic Church with Fr. Jacob Rouse officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery Cresco. A Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 1 at Hindt-Hudek Funeral Home in Cresco with Recitation of the Rosary beginning at 5:00 p.m. The visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at Notre Dame Church on Friday.