Marcella (Gunnufson) Barber

February 28, 1926


November 6, 2020

Marcella (Gunnufson) Barber

February 28, 1926


November 6, 2020

Marcella Jane (Gunnufson) Barber passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. The feisty Norwegian and fun-loving Swede was born on Feb. 28, 1926, to Sam and Bessie (Quisberg) Gustafson in Belgrade, Minnesota, which is where she was raised. She graduated from Belgrade High School and was active as a cheerleader, editor of the school paper and sang in the choir. After high school, she was a dental assistant in Belgrade.

She married Monroe Gunnufson in 1948. From this union, they had two daughters, Marsha Ann and Mary Sue. They made their home in Sunburg, Minnesota. Her independence was born out of necessity when Monroe passed away unexpectedly in 1968. It was then that she instilled in her daughters to “always make sure you can take care of yourself because you never know what might happen.” She felt strongly about her daughters getting a college education and made sure that happened. Thank you, Mom!

In 1970, she met William “Bill” Barber. They married on Valentine’s Day 1988. They had 40 wonderful years together until his passing in 2009. They traveled in their fifth wheel trailer for several years until they gave that up for many trips around the world. She always said how fortunate she was to have had the opportunity to see so much of the world and had been to six continents. She had no desire to go to Antarctica!

She resided in Willmar, Minnesota, from 1974 to 2013, when she had an accidental fall. She then came to Billings to stay with her daughter Mary Sue “for the winter.” I may joke about the four-year winter, but now cherish that time together. She really enjoyed Montana, and she and Bill traveled there often to visit, but, being a diehard Minnesotan, she was sure to tell everyone that she was really from Minnesota!

Marcella was a classy lady, known for her dress, hair done every Friday and nails always polished. She kept herself and her home impeccable, was a gracious hostess and always ready to make you a cocktail. She credited her longevity of 94 years to a cocktail every day. She was light as a feather on her feet on the dancefloor, but also loved a day fishing Games Lake in the summer or a day in the fish house in the winter, spearing walleyes and northerns. Now that was a good day to her!

Marcella’s other mantra was “you have to speak up for yourself because no one else is going to!” Her caregivers knew this feisty side, but also said she was very kind and sweet. The family would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the caregivers at St. John’s United Moorberg Cottage and St. John’s Hospice for their loving, kind and compassionate care over the last two years and four months, and also the staff at West Park Village for the previous year that she spent there.

Marcella was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Warren Gustafson and his wife Caryl; baby sister Jane; her husbands, Monroe and Bill. Sadly, when you live to be 94, there are too many other relatives, in-laws and close friends to list them all.

She will be greatly missed by her daughters, Mary Sue Gunnufson, Marsha (Mark) Ellingson; as well as her beloved grandchildren, Ben Ellingson, Angie (Sheldon) Libby and Patrick (Ann Marie) Ellingson. She also has five cherished great-grandchildren, Brynn, Oliver and Harrison Libby, and Faye and Kodyak Ellingson; step-great-grandchildren, Addisyn Libby, and Ryder and Zoey Anderson; as well as cousins, nieces, nephew, Barber in-laws and special friends.

It was her wishes to have no service and to have a private family burial. Cremation has taken place and burial will be at a later date when we can safely gather.

Condolences may be made at

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6 thoughts on “Marcella (Gunnufson) Barber”

  1. She was a classy lady for sure. She knew how to have a good time and Lyle and I wereI fortunate to have spent birthdays with her and Marysue. I am happy that Marcella spent her years with Marysue. We will miss you . 💕

  2. Vernetta Stinson

    Hey Beautiful Mary Sue,
    There’s no one in this world can ever come close to giving you Love 💕 like your Mommy!
    For the exception of our Loving God.

    Mary Sue, I always used to teased you about you being a family member. I know for sure you are now. Your Mommy from Sweden. My last name is Stinson. That’s Swedish! 😊

    You will miss your conversations with her. Her, smiles! Having your cocktail parties with her! And to have two wonderful husbands! And daughters. Your Mommy lived her life! The life she lived others only dream about.

    But look at this wonderful beautiful long life, that she lived in the present 💝

    The icing on the cake was;
    She had you Mary Sue to see her to the end of the this Extraordinary Amazing Wonderful Life!
    She couldn’t been more proud of who you are and the Extraordinary Amazing Woman you have become.

    Love 💕 you dearly always!

    Kind regards,

  3. M Kehrer-Schneider

    My memories of my Aunt Marcella are fun and many….but the “goodbye” I am most fond of is short and ‘borrowed’: “May the longtime sun shine upon you(and it certainly has), all love surround you ,and the pure light within you guide you all the way Home.” Minnesota loves you and awaits your return! Mary K-S

  4. Mona Syverson Gregersen

    Marsha and Mary- I’m so sorry for your loss! I’ll always remember how gracious a hostess your mom was to have all the sixth grade girls over for a slumber party! She had the patience of a saint! I think of you every time I drive through Sunburg.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. She was indeed one of the classiest ladies I have ever known. I worked in a salon back in the late 70’s and early 80’s
    that Marcella went to. I never had the honor of fixing her hair but knew her well. She was always very pleasant and lots of fun! I remember her speaking of her daughters and how important they were to her.

  6. Mary Sue and Family,
    I did your Mom’s hair for many yrs. while she was in Willmar. I just made her “California Rice ”
    recipe last week. She was always so fun and easy to visit with.
    One year when my daughter was in a dinner theater at our church she offered a mink coat and fun purse she wore in her role. Always so generous.
    Actually had just talked about her this past week wondering how she was.
    I am sorry for your loss.

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