Rita Colleen (Barber) Dernbach joined the Lord on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Colleen was born in Powell, Wyo., on Jan. 21, 1944 to Robert and Ruth Barber. She graduated form Powell High School and Eastern Montana College in Billings, where she met the love of her life, Stephen Dernbach, in chemistry class.
She and Steve Were married on Aug. 2, 1969 in Lewiston, Mont., and moved to Whidbey Island, Wash., where they had four children together.
After raising her children, Colleen taught second grade at Olympic View Elementary in Oak Harbor, Wash., for 17 years.
After many travels, she and Steve moved back to Billings in 2004, where she was an active parishioner of St. Pius Catholic Church and an avid volunteer in the community.
Colleen was always busy tending to the needs of others. Countless family, friends, and strangers knew her good works and generosity.
She would send six to 10 cards full of words of encouragement every week to friends and family. It was said that she must have owned shares in Hallmark because she sent out so many.
Just a few of the organizations that intimately knew of Colleen’s gift of service include Canyon Creek Memory Care, where she was a faithful eucharistic minister, Billings Catholic Schools, where she was a classroom volunteer, and hospice care, where she was a grief counselor for the recently widowed.
Colleen is preceded in death by her mother, Ruth (Wilder) Barber, and her father, Robert Barber.
She is survived by her husband, Steve Dernbach; her four children, Gary (Annabelle), Brian (Joanna), Heidi, and David; her four grandchildren, Ashley, Chase, Taylor and Broady; her sister, Karla Gorrell (Don), and brother, Tom Barber (Barbara).
In addition, she leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews and countless friends and family.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Billings Catholic Schools-St. Francis.