Robert “Butch” Barber was born on Aug. 31, 1943, in Fairview, Alberta, to Bob and Caroline Barber. He passed away on Dec. 12, 2019, at the age of 76.
As a boy growing up in Canada, he loved sports, playing baseball and hockey. He went on to become a professional hockey player in the winter, and rodeoed in the summer during his time away from the game. He came to Montana at an early age and fell in love with the Flathead Valley, working at Bob and Amanda Nordtome’s ranch south of Kalispell. After his hockey career, for which he was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame, he settled in the valley and raised his family. Summers were spent on Flathead Lake, driving his beloved 1973 Sidewinder jet boat and dragging his friends and family behind it.
He was a jack of all trades, first building homes and later starting his own trucking company. He was good with his hands, and could fix nearly anything that was broken. He enjoyed spending time at his shop, where he seemed to always have company and where happy hour started early. He was a great storyteller and had a one-liner for just about any occasion.
He is survived by his wife Judy of 50 years; his sister, Carole (Doug) Silverberg; his daughters, Debbie (Wayne) Fletcher, Kim (Chad) Thomas; and his son, Rob (Patti Jo) Barber.
He loved spending time with his grandchildren, Sydney, Payton, Katie, Greyson, Taylor, Alec and Ava, who all lovingly called him “Butchie.” He also loved his nephews, Doug, Kyle and Scott Silverberg.
He will be missed, but would want everyone to celebrate his life, not mourn his passing. A memorial service will be held at 1pm on Saturday, Dec. 21 at Snowline Acres, 150 Snowline Lane, Kalispell, Montana. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Lakeside QRU or the American Diabetes Association.