Barbara Carol Gilbaugh was born Barbara Ohmes on August 8, 1945 in Wichita, Kansas, where she grew up. Her parents were raised on farms and had moved to the city for better opportunities. Her father Greg trained for the army but WWII ended prior to his deployment, and he became a career worker at Beechcraft. His wife Bertha (nee Bales) was a homemaker who raised Barb, along with her older brother Jim and younger brothers John and Joe. Joe was born severely disabled, and Barb learned compassion for the vulnerable from a young age as she helped to care for her brother. All three of her siblings are alive: Jim in El Dorado, KS, John in Kansas City, MO, and Joe in Topeka, KS.
The family lived in a small house next to which Barb's dad grew much of the food they ate in a large garden. Family life revolved around their Catholic faith and involvement in church and school, as well as occasional visits to the large extended family of relatives and many cousins who were spread throughout the state. Barb was the first member of her family to attend and graduate from college, where she majored in social work. She eventually earned a master’s degree in the same field.
It was shortly after college that she met Dave Gilbaugh, a young Air Force officer stationed in Wichita. They married in 1968 and lived in various military assignments prior to moving back to Dave's hometown of Portland, Oregon, in 1977. There they raised their son Eric and daughter Lisa, and Barb re-entered the work force in the mid-1980's as a social worker for the State of Oregon. Beginning in child protective services, she often worked long hours serving children in dangerous and desperate situations, intervening to rescue them from homes marked by drugs and violence. Eventually she was able to advance into foster care and then adoptions, from which she retired in 2010.
Barb and Dave divorced in 1994 but remained on civil terms, living only blocks apart and seeing each other with greater frequency as the years wore on (Dave still lives in Portland). Their son Eric moved to Montana for college and is now a Catholic priest there, and their daughter Lisa Boone lives in Vancouver, WA with her husband Jeff and son Benjamin, Barb's only grandchild.
Barb's interests included gardening, walking, volunteering in Pro-Life causes, serving her church, and serving children. She had a servant's heart and was always focused on the needs of others, especially the suffering and vulnerable, and found purpose and fulfillment in showing them compassion. She loved God, her family, and was deeply committed to her Catholic faith. She was always very soft-spoken and gentle, good-humored, and humble.
About twelve years before her death, Barb began showing the first signs of what would prove to be Alzheimer’s disease. Because she had loving neighbors, family, and friends to help, Barb was able to remain in her home in Portland until 2017, at which point she moved to Belgrade, MT to live with her son. There, she benefitted from the kindness and generosity of many parishioners of St. John Vianney and Holy Family Parishes, who showed her Christian love in its truest form. Especially dear to her were the children of the parishes and Divine Mercy Academy, and her face would immediately light up whenever a child was near, even as her dementia grew increasingly severe. This decline eventually led to her commitment to a memory care residence at Touchmark in Helena, MT, where she passed away on November 6, 2020 at age 75.
Her family would like to extend their gratitude to everyone who showed Barb love, compassion, and assistance especially as regards her progression through Alzheimer’s, and ask that prayers and sacrifices be offered for the repose of her soul. Donations in her honor may be made to Divine Mercy Academy in Belgrade, MT, 601 W. Cameron Ave., Belgrade, MT, 59714, a fitting tribute to a woman who dedicated her life to the welfare of children.
Visitation Tuesday, November 10, starting at 6:00 PM at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, followed by the Rosary at 7:30 PM.
The Funeral Mass will be held at noon on Wednesday, November 11 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Burial will be held on Friday at Mt. Calvary Catholic Church in Portland, OR.