We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our mother and grandmother, Debra Barlow, on August 23, 2023. The morning of her passing, she was helping her girls and getting ready for their weekly “Grandma Tuesday” lunch. Twelve hours later, she was unexpectedly gone as a result of a fall that injured an artery in her knee. During reparative surgery, complications arose, and despite best medical efforts, she was unable to regain consciousness. She was placed on life support for 3 hours, long enough for her girls and grandchildren to surround her to say goodbye.
Her ability to care for her loved ones developed by watching her beloved parents Ardis and Elton Kettle. She grew up in Taylorsville, Utah, and was the youngest of six children. Three of her siblings were diagnosed with Syringomyelia, a rare debilitating nerve disease. Despite having very active minds, they needed braces to support their arms and legs, and were confined to scooting around the floor or being in wheelchairs, as well as losing their sight. Debbie participated in bandaging, carrying, and feeding her siblings. These experiences of caregiving prepared her for a life of taking care of those she loved. Her daughters were the direct beneficiaries of these traits, and even as adults, whenever her daughters were sick, injured or in the trenches with new babies, what they wanted most was to have their mom near, taking care of them. After Debbie’s father passed away, she took her girls on weekly Sunday visits for 20 years to bring her mother dinner, clean her house and spend the evening together. When her mom was 93 and unable to live alone, Debbie brought her to live in the Barlow home and gave her constant care for the last 6 months of her life.
When Debbie met and started dating Duncan at Utah State, she knew he was the one for her. After growing impatient with their two-year courtship, Debbie was ready to move their relationship along. She gave Duncan an ultimatum: propose by New Years, or she was done. On New Year’s Eve, when he showed her the ring, she abruptly stole it before he could get a word out, put it on her finger, and ran. Somehow, they were married and stayed together for 42 years without an official proposal.
Between her love of antiques and his love of shopping, they created a beautiful home full of too much furniture and antiques. Their pranks began on their first date when she told him she was a professional lip reader. They looked forward to pulling elaborate April Fools Day pranks on each other, every year. They loved traveling the world together. Debbie loved the history and trying new cuisine, while Duncan searched for a McDonalds.
During Duncan’s battle with breast cancer, she went to all his doctor appointments to discuss his symptoms and treatment plans. She organized all his pills, reminded him to take his pills and then put the pills in his mouth and made him swallow. He passed away in 2020, and she has missed him greatly. We are comforted by the thought they are together again.
She wore the pride she had for her six girls like a badge of honor. She raised them to be strong women and feminists and supported them even when she could no longer rein in those same instincts. She made her home a gathering spot for them to swim and have BBQs and family parties. She was forced into countless long shopping trips when she would rather be reading or preparing her church lessons. The girls strategically planned which sister could talk her out of stubborn streaks, such as her determination to never get her hair wet in the pool, or her refusal to play board games.
Debbie adored her 14 grandkids. They would walk in the room and she’d shout, “I know you!” and bury them in her arms. She loved planning fun parties, like the yearly Scottish Highland games, Harry Potter Day, and Pirate Day. She looked forward to the annual Barlow family Easter egg hunt where she filled plastic eggs with dollar bills, hid them around the yard, and then sat back to watch her kids wrestle and sabotage each other to find the most money.
She had two primary loves in life: her family and her faith. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was a gospel scholar, and her nightly prayers were endurance events as she prayed for all her children, grandchildren, and neighbors who needed help, one by one. She dragged her girls to church and would tickle their backs if, and only if, their eyes were trained on the person speaking. She induced them to watch General Conference by providing an overflowing candy bowl. She dragged them into her bed for morning scripture study and bribed them to listen with spontaneous five-dollar questions. She sewed modesty sleeves on dresses, banned swimming on Sundays, threatened to rip out belly rings, and sewed tankinis into one-pieces. However, for all her spirituality, nothing could stop her from swearing like a sailor when sewing.
She was addicted to chocolate and Diet Coke. She snored like a freight train. Her handwriting was beautiful. She spent her days watching grandkids, and nights watching Dateline, which left her in constant fear of being murdered. She set up 42 bins of Christmas decorations every year, and practically became a professional wedding planner and advisor. She was known for her incredible gardening abilities and had a full-time job pulling weeds.
She leaves behind her six daughters Katie Kindred (Steve), Jenn Barlow (Brady Bodily), Bonnie Riley (Brock), Reagan Price (Hazen), Julia Gardner (Braden), Torie Denning (Dewey), and her 14 grandchildren: Miles, Ava, Caleb, Carter, Duncan, Nash, Grayson, Oliver, Hudson, Abe, Elton, Athena, Ardis, and Ellis; her brother Doug Kettle (Charlene), sisters-in-law Jesselie Anderson (Scott), Heidi Harris (Ted), and Rachel Richardson (Curtis); her brothers-in-law Haven Barlow, Jr. (Amy), and Stewart Barlow (Marie). She was preceded in death by her husband Duncan Barlow, her parents Ardis and Elton Kettle, her siblings LaRane Anderson, Dennis Kettle, Stephen Kettle, and Rose Kettle, her in-laws Bonnie Rea and Haven J. Barlow, and her sister-in-law Christine Barlow.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Barlow home, 529 West Gentile St. Layton, Utah. Friends may visit with family Tuesday, August 29 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 No. Fairfield Rd., Layton, Utah and Wednesday from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Barlow home prior to the service. Parking will be available in the east field or on Flint Street. Interment, Kaysville City Cemetery.
We are extremely grateful to all who have supported us with our sudden heartbreak. Life is so fragile; never miss a chance to give your loved ones a big hug and say, “I love you. “
Services will be live-streamed and may be viewed by scrolling to the bottom of Debra’s obituary page at www.lindquistmortuary.com