Barry Lynn Graber

1959 - 2024


Barry Lynn Graber, 64, of Kalona, Iowa, entered his heavenly home on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. He went to be with Jesus after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with on Oct. 21, 2023.  He died at home, surrounded by family who loved him. 
He was born on his father’s birthday, Sept. 11, 1959, in Iowa City, to parents Lynn and Ruth (Bontrager) Graber.  He was the first of five children and his childhood was filled with wild stories of their many outdoor exploits and adventures together.  He attended the local public school, graduating from Mid-Prairie High School in 1978.  He held the record for many years in the pole vault, ran track and played basketball, and enjoyed participating in theater. 
One of his greatest passions and hobbies was cars, and he spent countless hours working on them. He owned a ‘68 Coronet, ‘69 Charger, ‘70 Roadrunner, and ‘04 Corvette to name a few of his favorites.  Many of us have memories of him working on the latest car project: hearing the music coming from the shop where he was on his back underneath a car, tinkering away and as happy as can be.  
He first met Debby while attending Bible school at Rosedale in 1979. After many weeks of friendship, they began dating, mostly long distance. One time he even hitchhiked the whole way from Iowa to Michigan. Barry married Debby Maust on May 10, 1980, in Pigeon, Michigan.  They enjoyed 43 years of marriage and had seven children; three daughters and four sons. They raised their children in the same home where his grandparents Dan and Mildred had lived. 
Barry worked for Professional Muffler after high school, before becoming an apprentice with his father Lynn for many years. In 2005, Barry became the third-generation owner of Graber Heating and Air, with the first owner being Dan Graber and the second being Lynn Graber. Barry learned the tricks of the trade from his father Lynn and enjoyed the continual challenge of problem solving. He then passed down the wealth of knowledge to his sons, the fourth-generation owners today. He loved serving people–finding the solution to problems and accomplishing tasks with speed and efficiency. He found great satisfaction in a job well done.
Barry served faithfully for many years on the boards of Crowded Closet, Pathway Christian School, and Crooked Creek Christian Camp. He also taught Sunday School and worked with the youth at Sunnyside Mennonite Church over the past 44 years.
Barry loved spending time with his family–swimming, camping, hunting, roller coasters, hiking, bird watching, and water and snow skiing.  He loved driving cars: fixing them, finding deals, and buying even more cars.  Barry was an avid reader and loved to travel, making many long road trips to Oregon where two of his daughters live. Other favorites were the many family trips to Florida, Michigan, the coast, and the diamond mines in Arkansas. 
He had a gift of making every child feel like they were his favorite. Everyone he met was a friend, and no one was a stranger. He loved making everyone feel respected and listened to. He would often say, “No one will remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.” Barry is a one-of-a-kind person and is irreplaceable in all our lives. As much as we miss him, we are blessed and grateful to have known and loved such an incredible husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend, and we cherish the years we were given with him.  The world was a better place because he was in it. 
Barry is survived by his wife: Debby; his seven children and 21 grandchildren: Shannon and Konrad Krabill of Shedd, Oregon, and their children: Annika, Benson, Elissa, Carson, Carita, Kason, and Darison; Shelley and Randy Smucker of Harrisburg, Oregon, and their children: Jocelyn, Charlotte, William, Archer, and Hayes;  Shawn and Heidi (Zook) Graber of Joetown, and children: Owen, Canon, Gloria, and Stellan; Shelby and Keilah (Brokaw) Graber of Wellman, and their children: Valor and Judah;  Shane and Fern (Kohl) Graber of Wellman, and children: Emma, Caspian and Felix; Sheryl Graber of Kalona;  and Shaylon and Shaylee (Shryock) Graber of Wellman. He is also survived by his parents: Lynn and Ruth (Bontrager) Graber; and his siblings: Brent (Karla) Graber, Corby (Kris) Graber, Gene (Sue) Graber, and Jana (BJ) Miller; 49 nieces and nephews; and 61 great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his niece: Jaicey Miller.
Funeral service will be held 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, at Fairview Mennonite Church in rural Kalona. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 2-7 p.m. on Thursday at Fairview Mennonite Church where the family will greet friends from 2-4:30 and 6-7 p.m.
The Yoder-Powell Funeral Home is caring for Barry and his family.