Obituary for Barbara "Barb" Fashant (Decker)
Barbara Joan Fashant
Our beloved mom, grandma, sister and aunt passed away suddenly Nov. 15, 2017. She was 67 and lived in Shakopee.
Barb was famous among her family and friends for her thoughtfulness and generosity, her talent for crocheting, knitting and needlework, and her love of animals. She kept many a relative warm and rescued a number of dogs and cats. She encouraged and supported her siblings, grandchildren and nieces in all their activities as they were growing up and as adults, too.
Born in Minneapolis in 1949, she grew up in Richfield and graduated from Richfield High School in 1967. She worked in customer service and bookkeeping for a series of companies including Lieberman Enterprises, Regis Corp., American Express and Wells Fargo Bank. Customer service was the most rewarding part of her jobs – she was a people person and always looked out for their interests. Along the way, she married Mike Dowell in the 1970s and had two sons, Mick and Christopher (Tuffer). They have grown into productive, talented adults raising sons and daughters of their own.
Brother Dave says: “Barb had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever, ever known in my life. Growing up, with me being the baby of the family, the only boy, and (rumor has it) kind of a PITA, and she the oldest of my siblings, Barb always seemed to have time for her little brother. She’d take me (and often many of my friends) along to Aquatennial parades and other events every year, trips to Como Zoo, to the U campus, and so many places I can’t possibly remember or list them all. She also took me to my first trips to beloved (as a little kid, anyway!) fast food places back in the day, introducing me to such delicacies as Clark’s Submarine Sandwiches, Arby’s, and White Castle burgers, and as a kid, those were very special memories indeed! She also was responsible for taking me to my first “real” rock concert as a very young teen (we got tear gassed at the Alice Cooper show at the old St Paul Civic Center back in 1976!), which began my obsession with music. These and more were the most formative and fondest memories of my youth. But most importantly, she was responsible for the one thing that led to the two most influential parts of my life. She helped me get my first “real” job working for Lieberman Enterprises the winter of ’83 after my dad passed away. Lieberman’s is where I met my wife, Pat, and has resulted in 30 years together as well as our incredible and beautiful daughter, Kristin. Barb had an all-encompassing love for her children and grandchildren. Heaven’s heart grew infinitely larger last night.”
Sister Martha says: “You touched the lives of a lot of people with your heart of gold, Barb. You spread a lot of love around and didn't get near enough of it back in ways that you could see it. The earthly world was a much better place because you were in it. Now the world beyond will be blessed with your presence. I am sure that all of your feline and canine babies were right there at the end of the Rainbow Bridge to greet you with loud purrs and wagging tails. Thank you for the adventures that we had over the years. They, especially the ones in this last year, will be forever treasured. Listen to Dad, now, OK? He loved you, Barb. I do, too.”
Granddaughter Courtney, Education Director at Long Lake Conservation Center, says: Grandma B loved us grandchildren. To say she was the doting grandmother doesn’t cut it; she was devoted. She saw every dance recital, attended as many games as she could, chaperoned school field trips, made Halloween costumes by hand, took us on adventures, and wouldn’t even send us back to start in a cutthroat game of Aggravation. Her devotion to her grandchildren was an extension of her generous nature. For us, any member of her family, or her dear friends, she gave her time and love above all, plus some trinket/treasure she found while perusing estate sales. Grandma had the knack of telling a story with acute detail, and a crazy way of talking with her hands so all her jewelry jangled. I loved listening to her sing along with her brother and sisters and hearing her stories of our family history and heritage. She bobbed her head and moved to the rhythm of any good song. She never missed a trip to the State Fair with her family. She could have spent years on one road trip because there were so many rocks to see and collect. She said “poo” instead of swearing. She was just the coolest grandma. All of these memories I’ll hold dear, but what I will miss the most is her never-ending generosity, her constant love, and true devotion.
Granddaughter Carley, U of M student, says: “For a time in my life, Grandma B was my neighborhood best friend. When I was younger, she lived a few blocks away, a more-than-easy bike ride, and for a time, Grandpa was there too. I could bike there; her door was never locked, and eat whatever I wanted. We would watch movies and have odd-flavored popcorn, which seemed to be a favorite of hers. She’d have all of her grandchildren there whenever she could, but I would rush over before any family event to make pickle things. And before Christmas we would stay up way later than my mom ever needed to know, making spritz and snickerdoodle cookies. We would walk the tracks and pick up rocks to put in water later. I knew the story behind every one of her rings, and didn’t mind hearing them over and over. She gave everything to be able to take us out, even if it was something little that we all probably took for granted. A room full of family will never sound the same again.”
Barb was preceded in death by parents, David G. and Louise Decker, and first husband, Michael Dowell. She is survived by children, Michael (Michelle) and Christopher Dowell; siblings, Debra Parker (Richard), Martha, David (Pat); best friend, Shawn Erwin; grandchildren, Courtney and Carley Dowell, Travis Lee and Jason Dowell; nieces, Laurie and Sarah Parker, Amy Parker Shanafelt and Kristin Decker.
Visitation SUNDAY, Nov. 19, 3-6 p.m., at Gill Brothers Funeral Home, 5801 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, with a celebration of her kindness, generosity and humor starting at 5 p.m. Private interment. Memorials preferred to the family.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 612 861 6088