Barbara M Densley departed this stage of existence on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020.
Born September 2, 1929, in Riverton, Utah, Barbara was the youngest daughter and twelfth child of Clara Rozilla Nell and James Henry Maynard. She came into the world at a moment of critical change, right at the beginning of the Great Depression. She was fortunate to grow up with a resourceful family on a farm where they could produce life necessities, so she had a happy, if modest, childhood despite her generation’s challenges.
She attended elementary school with Kenneth Gordon Densley, who tormented her in the third grade by dipping her pigtails in the inkwell (although Ken always denied this). A stunning young beauty, she drew the attention of many would-be suitors, which Ken literally fought off on one occasion. Childhood sweethearts Ken and Barbara shared a true love that would blossom into 69 years of marriage. They were sealed for all eternity on August 19, 1949, in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Their union produced three children, seventeen grandchildren, and twenty-six great-grandchildren. Two much-anticipated great-grandchildren and another two great-great-grandchildren are expected in early 2021. She and Ken were once the Queen and King of the Gold and Green Ball, and they will always be the Queen and King of our family.
Barbara loved music. As a girl, she longed to play the piano, but her family lacked the means to obtain one. One day, her father came home with a second-hand violin he picked up from a pawn shop instead. While that wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for, she soon learned to love the violin and eventually became the first chair in her high school orchestra. She was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to perform in Handel’s “Messiah” each year. Her dream of playing the piano was finally realized years later when she and Ken purchased one for their own home. She taught herself the basics in her scarce moments of spare time and eventually passed her musical knowledge on to some of her grandchildren.
Barbara was a woman of many talents and was remarkably industrious. She worked in various secretarial positions in Utah, where she learned shorthand and lightning-fast typing skills to help finance Ken’s college education. He graduated from Utah State University in 1951, and shortly after, they reported to Hill Air Force Base. They bought their first of many trailers and hit the road for military life. After a few years, they returned to Ken’s career in academics, and she became a full-time mother, entrepreneur, and author. She shared a retail business in the food storage industry, started her own home dehydrator business, and wrote two home food dehydration books as well as several manuals. Her books have been for sale continuously since publication, and she became a leading authority in the field of food dehydration. She was also an owner and operator of D&G Computers and President of All About Computers. She did all of this while also caring for her aged mother, mother-in-law, and family.
Service and Barbara were synonymous. She served in nearly every leadership capacity available in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the community. She was a leader in the Cub Scout and Camp Fire Girl programs. She taught classes in food preservation for the Extension Service as well as the many other groups who invited her. Her last class was for a community preparedness fair at the age of 89. She also learned Morse Code and was a licensed ham radio operator. She and Ken served in the Australia Brisbane Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from February 1990 to August 1991. Upon returning home, they served several more missions as temple workers in The Oakland Temple, a Welfare Services Mission as ham radio operators, as Family and Church Historical Services providers, as Home Food Storage instructors, and as facilities managers for the missionaries.
Barbara’s home was a place where everyone could feel welcome. She opened her home to countless gatherings and anyone who needed a place to stay, short or long term. She was an artist in the kitchen and will forever be remembered for her Pavlova (a dessert she learned to make as a missionary in Australia), homemade mixed dried fruit, and her many other delicious treats. She became a cake decorator to facilitate spectacular birthday and wedding celebrations. She always threw the best parties with every detail thoughtfully seen to, and she continued to host monthly family birthday dinners until her very late 80’s.
Barbara and Ken loved to travel, whether across the globe in a jet, on a ship, or across the country in a trailer. There are many fond memories of road trips in their various trailers. They lived in many places over the years but finally settled in Lincoln, California, in 2003, where they lived out the last of their days together.
Barbara entered this world at the outset of the greatest economic catastrophe in history and she exits this life in the midst of a terrible pandemic. But in the moments and decades between these two tragedies, she brought tremendous joy and support to everyone around her. We are so grateful to have been blessed by her presence for nearly a century. While we will miss our beloved matriarch terribly, we wish her Bon Voyage as she follows her dearest Ken into the next adventure, and we anticipate a grand reunion party.
Barbara is survived by her brother, Phil Maynard, her children and their spouses: Kelly Groth, Kenneth Lamar and Melody Densley, and Deidra and Doug Milligan; and 42 of those grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Private interment will be held at the VA Cemetery in Dixon, California, at 10:15 AM on Tuesday, December 22nd. December 21st there will be a viewing from 2:30-4:30 PM at PRICE FUNERAL CHAPEL (6335 Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights, California, 916-725-2109). (Masks are required, no more than 10 people are allowed at a time into the building, with no crowd gathering in front of the building).
To send flowers to Barbara's family, please visit our floral store.