Barbara Eaton Gatzweiler passed away on Sunday, September 27, 2020 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, at the age of 96. She was born in Manchester, NH, on August 23, 1924 to William R. and Celia B. Eaton and grew up working on her family's dairy farm and apple orchard. After graduating from the local high school Barbara spent the next 17 years assisting Dr. Richard Backus in providing medical care to Goffstown and the surrounding communities.
In 1960 Barbara married Joseph Gatzweiler, and they settled down to live on the farm next to her parents. Barbara, who had been riding horses since the age of six, enjoyed helping Joe manage their harness race horse, Janey Key, and was thrilled when Janey's sulky led the race to the finish line. Joe's death left her with time on her hands, and in the early 1980's she moved to California to help a friend raise her two girls. They became her honorary grandchildren.
In the 1990's Barbara moved to New Mexico where she was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of continuing her education. She graduated from the Clinical Pastoral Education Program of the Presbyterian Church and subsequently joined Heart Hospital of New Mexico as a Chaplain. She was loved and treasured by the staff and by all whom she ministered to. Barbara continued on with her education, becoming ordained and licensed into the Christian ministry where she obtained the title of Pastoral Counselor. Some of Barbara's greatest joys were officiating weddings for friends and family. It was also a great joy to share the wonderful view of the mountains from her home where, each year, she hosted a breakfast to watch the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta spread out in the valley below with the hot-air balloons sometimes drifting high overhead. Barbara spent hours volunteering in the community where she worked with youth groups through the church, helped out in the New Mexico Long-Term Care Ombudsmen program, and was active in the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf. She took special pride in being a founding member of High Desert Methodist Church in Rio Rancho.
In addition to her husband, Barbara was preceded in death by her sister, Marian E. Brown.
She is survived by her honorary granddaughters, great granddaughters, nieces, and nephews. Barbara leaves us with memories of her vivacious energy, love of life, devotion to God and her enduring love of animals. While she was still able to live at home, she could be found each day feeding “her” roadrunners who became quite tame as they learned to trust the loving woman offering food in front of them.
There will be a memorial service at 2:00pm on Friday, November 6, 2020 at Daniels Family Funerals and Cremation 4310 Sara Road Rio Rancho, NM 87124.
If you would like to donate in memory of Barbara please send donations to Watermelon Ranch Animal Rescue at Rio Rancho Blvd. S.E., Suite 347, Rio Rancho, NM 87124 or donate through their website: www.wmranch.org.
Barbara's Memorial Service will be Live Streamed at:
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barbara Gatzweiler, please visit our floral store.