MISSOULA – Barbara Lynn (Stevens) Marxer, 67, of Missoula, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 25, 2015, at home surrounded by her family after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
She was born on March 18, 1948, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Frederick J. and Dorothy A. Stevens. As a young girl, Barbara accompanied her Air Force family to seven different stations over 21 years, ending in Great Falls. She graduated in 1966 from Custer County High School in Miles City. She then went on to graduate with a bachelor’s of science in nursing from Montana State University in 1970. She was blessed to meet the love of her life, Neal Marxer, while attending MSU.
On June 13, 1970, she married Neal Marxer, of Missoula in Great Falls. The couple immediately moved to Missoula, where Neal was employed at the Frenchtown paper mill. Barbara worked in Missoula as a nurse until starting her family in 1973 with the birth of her first daughter, Noel. A second daughter, Joanna, soon followed in 1977. She remained devoted to her family as a stay at home mother, and was very active in Holy Family Catholic Church, Christian Women’s Club of Missoula, and the Cursillo Movement. Barbara earned her second bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in 1992, with a double major in social work and psychology.
After graduation, she joined the Missoula City-County Health Department and began her public health nursing career. At the health department, she advocated for underserved populations and retired in 2011. During this time, she also served as the parish nurse for Holy Family.
Barbara was blessed with her first granddaughter, Ryann Osterman, in 2005. Ryann’s brother Parker followed in 2007, and the family welcomed a second granddaughter, Lily Goodman, in 2010. She adored all her grandchildren with her entire heart, and spent her retirement caring for them and planning fun new activities each time they visited her. She also enjoyed creating a beautiful flower garden at her home, and scrapbooking.
Barbara and Neal joined St. Anthony Parish, and Barbara was instrumental in starting Family Promise of Missoula there, providing service to homeless families in Missoula. She had a generous heart, and a real spirit for helping those in need. During her career and volunteer work, she helped unwed and low-income mothers, HIV positive individuals, the poor and the homeless. She was an influential mentor, and inspired several women in their nursing careers including her sister Kim, her daughter Joanna, and several young mothers she met while working in public health.
Survivors include her husband, Neal of Missoula; daughter Noel (Darin) Osterman of Belt; daughter Joanna (Chuck) Goodman of Missoula; four sisters and their families, Kathy (John) Zeeck of Helena, Colleen Ryan of Phoenix, Lisa (Dean) Blomquist of Ryegate and Kim (Tom) Drynan of Vancouver, Washington, as well as her mother Dorothy A. Stevens of Vancouver; many nieces, nephews, cousins and three grandchildren.
A rosary vigil is scheduled at St. Anthony Catholic Church on Sunday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. in Missoula. A funeral Mass will follow on Monday, Aug. 3, at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony. Burial will follow Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 11 a.m. in Great Falls at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Garden City Funeral Home is assisting the family.
The family sincerely thanks Hospice of Missoula for the loving care they provided during the months prior to her death.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Barbara’s name to: Hospice of Missoula, 800 Kensington Ave. No. 204, Missoula, MT 59801; Missoula Family Promise, PO Box 5882, Missoula, MT 59806.