Barbara Longbella

Barbara Ann Longbella,  83, died Dec. 6, 2020, of Alzheimer’s.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Barbara was the eighth of Daniel and Marian (Kisler) Spencer’s 10 children, born Sept. 13, 1937, in Brainerd. She grew up in nearby Staples and would spend weekends walking to the downtown movie theater to see the latest musical and sing and dance all the way home, usually in the company of her sister, Jeanie.

Music, especially playing the piano and singing, would be a huge part of her life - as would her family, especially the one she made with our dad, Wayne Longbella, who she married on Feb. 3, 1962. 

They made their home in Fargo and Moorhead while our dad went to college, but not long after he graduated, they moved to Glyndon, where they raised four kids and eventually welcomed seven grandchildren.

Our mom worked as a church secretary for a few years, but mostly was our mom, the one who was always there, often with a crossword puzzle at hand, listening to or watching the Twins play baseball. She loved to garden but hated to cook. And she was always singing.

Alzheimer’s disease robbed our mother of many things, but it never took away her goofy spirit. 

She maintained a passion for Doritos almost to the very end, adopted several baby dolls that she cared for, often tucking as many as four into her bed, leaving little room for herself, and even when she had no more words, the cadence of her speech had the rhythm of a funny story. 

Barbara is survived by her husband, Wayne; three daughters, Maren (Jason Abraham) Longbella, West St. Paul, Ayn (Mel) Locklear, Glyndon and Robin (Matt) Ahonen, Dilworth; one son, Dane (Teresa) Longbella, West Fargo, N.D.; seven grandchildren, Matthew, Mei, Lin, Ming, Finn, Cass and Tess; two sisters, Carol Hyndman of St. Cloud and Jeanie Huebner of Staples; one brother, Dan (LaVyrle) Spencer of North Oaks, as well as many nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers and four sisters.

Arrangements by Wright Funeral Home.

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Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:;

Deadline: Friday, noon


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