Barbara Louise Ririe was born on July 24, 1930
in Magrath, Alberta, Canada. She was the
daughter of Lloyd and Cleo Ririe (the former
Cleo Barbara Jensen), and the granddaughter of
James Boyack Ririe and Elizabeth Ririe (the
former Elizabeth Ann Morgan), and Christian
Jensen Jr. and Allie Jensen (the former Allie
Zittella Rogers), early settlers and homesteaders
in southern Alberta.
Barbara grew up largely in Calgary, Alberta and
had fond memories of riding streetcars, her
father giving her a ride home on his bicycle, and
helping him sell the prize-winning iris bulbs he
raised. She spent large amounts of most of her
summers in Magrath and was especially excited
that the town celebrated her birthday each 24th
of July, which also turned out to be the celebration of the founding of
Magrath as well as Pioneer Day, for the community made up largely of
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When she was fifteen, the family moved back to Magrath where Barbara
completed high school. Upon completion of high school Barbara attended
Brigham Young University. She helped support herself by working as a
secretary in the Department of Chemistry and by working at a local radio
station. She loved all things about school. She graduated with a BA in
English, although she had a host of credits in science and math as well.
After graduation Barbara married her high school sweetheart, Alan Robert
Anderson, in the Salt Lake Temple. They were married on June 4, 1952. The
couple relocated to Edmonton while Alan finished a fifth year at the
University of Alberta with degrees in both Education and Agricultural
Science. Their oldest child, Ruth Louise Anderson, was born while they were
Barbara and Alan moved back to Magrath where Alan planned to teach high
school and farm. While there, Leslie Ann Anderson, David Laron Anderson
and Alan Richard Anderson were born. Not long after beginning his teaching
career in the Magrath High School, Alan was recruited to become the
Principal and teach for the LDS Seminary in Magrath.
The LDS Seminary and Institute Program afforded Barbara and Alan the
opportunity to pursue advanced degrees at BYU, initially attending over the
summer and then moving to Provo full-time. Barbara and Alan both received
Masters degrees from BYU in 1960, Barbara in English Literature and Alan in
Counseling Psychology. Alan subsequently received his PhD in Counseling
Psychology from BYU. Both taught at BYU for a time. While in Provo studying
and teaching, their fifth child, Michael Paul Anderson was born on a quick
trip back to Magrath.
Barbara and Alan took a sabbatical leave from BYU in 1963-1964 at the
University of Colorado in Boulder, where Alan did post-doctoral work. While
there, Steven Blaine Anderson was born.
Back in Provo at BYU the following year, Barbara, Alan and their 6 children
became naturalized citizens of the US. Douglas Ririe Anderson was born just
Alan had accepted a position in the graduate school of the University of
Minnesota, so in the fall of 1965, Barbara, Alan and their 7 children moved
across the country. They settled initially in St. Anthony Village, Minnesota
and a year later moved to a home they built in Golden Valley, Minnesota,
both suburbs of Minneapolis. The family’s home base would be Minnesota for
the next 35 years.
While in Minnesota the family were active members of the Minneapolis Stake
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Barbara served in most
positions imaginable both in their ward (for most of the time, the
Minneapolis 4th Ward) and in the stake. She was the early morning seminary
teacher for 8 years. Her dedication and preparation were legendary. She was
also a devoted genealogist, working in and sometimes leading the staff of
the Genealogy Library many days a week, helping patrons find details of
their ancestors. She became an expert in deciphering Old Swedish and
Middle English scripts and got correspondence degrees in Swedish, English,
Scottish and Danish genealogy. She and her husband also became ordinance
workers in the Chicago Temple after it opened in 1985.
In 1970 Barbara gave birth to her youngest and eighth child, Robert James
In September of 1992, after months of battling an unidentified illness,
Barbara’s husband of 40 years was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic
cancer. He passed away in December of 1992. She continued to live in the
family home in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
In 1997 Barbara said good-bye to Minnesota and moved to Orem, Utah for a
more temperate climate and to be closer to some of her children. It was
wrenching for her to move away from friends of 35 years. But she quickly
involved herself in teaching classes in genealogy in the Division of
Continuing Education at Brigham Young University. She taught classes in
Swedish and English genealogy and on how to use the computer to do
genealogical research. She welcomed her son, Robert, into her home, and
subsequently, Robert and his wife Elizabeth. She also invited Steven and
Colleen and their kids to live there with her for a time. The home in Orem
became the principal gathering place for the family at times in the summer
and over Christmas holidays.
In 2012 Barbara’s daughter Leslie decided to pull herself from sunny
Southern California to live with Barbara in Orem. Tragically, shortly after
moving, Leslie passed away.
In 2015 Barbara’s son Steve and his wife Colleen and their family built a new
home in Lehi and invited Barbara to live with them. Barbara’s mobility and
ability to drive were declining and she was pleased to have an active,
bustling family around her.
And in 2018 her son Robert and his wife Elizabeth invited Barbara to live
with them and their four kids in Saratoga Springs. Barbara lived with them
until May of 2020, when she moved into an apartment in the newly opened
Bellaview Assisted Living community in Lehi. She was one of the first 5
residents to move in and despite Covid restrictions, made great friends and
felt accepted and loved. She was able to be with peers and be a part of
activities in ways that had not been possible for many years. While there she
became famous for having raised sons that arranged for at least one of them
to visit her every day. For the first 6 or 7 months that meant talking on the
phone through a large picture window in the library, Barbara inside next to
the fire and one of her sons outside, sometimes in the sun and sometimes in
On February 11, 2022, Barbara passed away peacefully in her sleep. She
had suffered a fall onto a shoulder the day before and her body quickly
began to shut down. At 5:28 pm she moved on.
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Alan Robert
Anderson, by her oldest child, Ruth Louise Anderson, and by her second
child, Leslie Ann Anderson. She is survived by her six sons, David Laron
Anderson (and his wife, Elizabeth), Alan Richard Anderson (and his wife,
Gail), Michael Paul Anderson, Steven Blaine Anderson (and his wife,
Colleen), Douglas Ririe Anderson (and his wife, Kim), and Robert James
Anderson (and his wife, Elizabeth). She is also survived by 20 grandchildren
and 13 great-grandchildren.
There will be no public gathering or services. Subsequently
Barbara will be interred next to her husband in the Magrath, Alberta town
She was a scholar, a teacher, a leader, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a mother
and a friend. She’s been a widow for almost 30 years, and separated from
her parents for longer. Not any more.