Barb Hengelfelt, born February 4, 1958, passed away May 15, 2010, at the age of 52, with her family by her side in the Billings Clinic Hospital in Billings, Montana.
Barb was on a Mexican vacation when she suffered an unexpected stroke.
Barb was the daughter of Paul and Jean Williams of Billings, Montana. Barb graduated from Billings West High School in 1976. She graduated from MSU with a degree in business/finance in 1980. She worked at the First Interstate Bank in the trust department for years. She married Jim Hengelfelt in 1986, and they were blessed with a son, Justin, on October 9, 1989. Barb stayed at home, raising Justin and tending to the needs of her family. Later, in 2004, Barb and Jim divorced but remained close friends. Barb then became an employee of MSUB, as an Administrative Assistant in the Psychology Department, where she was currently employed.
Barb is probably best remembered for her love of her dogs and her ability to train them to excel in the obedience ring. Barb had 5 dogs, which she dearly loved, during her lifetime. They were named Micol, Shelby, Tucker, Striker and Pauley. Many of Barb’s closest and dearest friends are active dog trainers. Barb was active in a sewing circle with some of her close friends, making many beautiful quilts for friends and family that are truly cherished. Barb was a very generous person, helping many of her friends and family. She was so very thoughtful, never boasting of her deeds, but doing so much good that is hard to capture all of her contributions in this short narrative.
Barb lived her life with zest and appreciation. Besides her dog training, she enjoyed traveling, visiting friends and family, bowling, boating, amongst many other activities.
Barb is survived by her parents Paul and Jean Williams, son Justin Hengelfelt and his fiancé Autum, granddaughter Elli, sister Kathy Garretson (Jim), niece Tyona Albrecht.(Matt), great nieces Katie, Abby, Sam and great nephew Tom, nephew Eric Stauffer (Robin), great nieces Danelle and Madison.
We have lost a wonderful daughter, a good mother, a true thoughtful friend and comforter to many. We miss her so very deeply.
A celebration of Barb’s life is planned for Thursday, May 20, 2010, at 11 am, at Michelotti- Sawyers Mortuary, located in Billings, Montana.
Memorials may be made to Billings Animal Shelter or charity of one’s choice.
I’m so incredibly touched that Barb’s dogs are mentioned by name. I think she would really appreciate that. Her passing will leave a hole in our dog agility community.
I knew Barb from working with her at MSUB. She is a very special person and will be missed by many people.
We are so going to miss Barb, Stryker and Pauley stopping by our house on their daily walks. She was a great friend and we are blessed that she was a part of our lives. She will always be remembered.
Bill, Jolene, Colt & Wesson Burdge
Barb’s face and voice are still here in my mind. When I first met her in the Cashier’s office at MSUB, she was cheerful and calm, and never too busy to share a laugh. In the Psychology department she was tender toward “my majors,” the students she saw most often. I will never forget her happy chirp when recalling how her Labs performed over a weekend at an obedience trial, or her conspiratorial giggle when we gathered to plan Hallowe’en costumes. All of her mirth and lightheartedness coexisted with a highly organized mind and a strong work ethic. I miss her.
Barb was a special friend and personally she did some very touching and wonderful things for me. We trained obedience and agility together and she was always there to root for me and my dogs at ringside. When I was too overcome with grief for my China she picked up her ashes at the vets and took them to rest beside her Striker and Shelby’s ashes where she had a home until I could face bringing those ashes home. She always was there for a helping hand whenever she was asked and even if she wasn’t asked. Where she saw help was needed she gave it willingly. We trained together at parks, school grounds and together we enjoyed our dogs. I loved her dogs and she loved mine. I will miss her so. She had such a zest for life, plans for herself and her dogs. She is gone too soon. She will be remembered always and at every dog event I will know I will feel her presence and know she is still rooting us on and she will know that we are thinking of her.
Although I did not know Barb very well, I will always remember her with her portable fan at agility trials during a “hot flash” :) She was a very nice lady and I will miss seeing her at agility trials.
I have traveled back in my mind to many fond memories of Barb… from the shenanigans on high school band trips to many happy times as college roommates at MSU.. and as friends beyond. Every time I travel over Bozeman Pass I remember the time we had the bright idea that we could ride our bikes (as we had no car) from Bozeman to Billings in one day! … and were crazy enough to try (thankfully we got rained out – and rescued by Barb’s Mom). More recently, never did we have a conversation that didn’t include talk of “the dogs”. She indeed was a special person. I hold these memories very dear. My thoughts are with you.
Lauri (Lyons) Jackson
Il m’est encore difficile d’accepter l’idée que tu n’es plus parmi nous, que nous ne discuterons plus de tes chiens ou de ton dernier patchwork, que je ne recevrai plus tes courriels marrants et surtout que je ne verrai plus jamais ton sourire. Ne laisser dans l’esprit de ceux qui restent que de bons souvenirs et dans leurs coeurs une place vide est la marque d’une vie bien vécue : je n’oublierai jamais ta gentillesse et ton devouement et tu manqueras a tous. Adieu amie.
Catherine Buelinckx (Elève, MSUB)
Barb’s grandmother was my grandmother’s half sister. My grandmother was Elizabeth Fox. I didn’t know Barb but she sounds like a person that I would have enjoyed. I’m sure she will be missed. Colleen (Ronan) Schroeder – Savanna, IL
I taught Barb’s son, Justin, in the sixth grade. She was a wonderful, supportive mother, and always willing to help both Justin, and his classmates with school activities. I am sorry for your loss, Justin. She was a great woman, that I will always remember. Celebrate the wonderful times that you had with her. I bet she was ecstatic to be a Grandma. Take care.
Kathy Munson, Red Lodge, Montana
Barb and I first met when we both worked as oil secretaries for Mapco here in Billings, back in the late ’70’s. We shared many great times working and bowling together on Jean’s team. I’ll never forget the fun we had when we got to take a 2-week long trip to Mapco’s corporate headquarters in Tulsa. Unfortunately, as the years passed we lost contact. I did occasionally run into Kathy and others who filled me in on what Barb was up to. I was so saddened to hear the news and, because I myself was on a trip out of the country at the time, could not attend the services. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I understand all too well what a horrible tragedy this is to deal with, having lost my beloved fiancé Jim during a trip to the Dutch Caribbean seven years ago – he, too, at the much too young age of 52. God bless and keep you.
I will miss seeing Barb’s smiling face at the dog events. She was always so friendly and out going, and willing to help or give advice if asked. She was always so happy working her dogs, whether they did good or not.