Barbara Lee Salazar

June 24, 1938 ~ March 8, 2018 (age 79)

Barbara Lee was born the first of three daughters on June 24, 1938 in Concordia, Kansas to loving parents Bessie Barbara Tauber and Harold Benjamin (Ben) Groothuis. She grew up with her two sisters, Linda Ann and Lillian Marie. During her childhood, Barbara also was surrounded by other family including grandparents Frantisek (Frank) Tauber, Paulina (Pauline) Kozel Tauber, John Benjamin Groothuis, and Louise (Lizzie) Marie Baatz Groothuis. She recounted many funny stories of her happy childhood growing up as a mortician’s daughter in a small town named Greenleaf, Kansas. There is no doubt that she loved her family and childhood very much.

As a young woman, Barbara followed in both her parents’ footsteps to also pursue a college education. She attended Kansas State University and Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia where she received two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Business and Education in May 1960. She was a member and held the office of treasurer of Sigma Kappa sorority and Newman Club. During the summer of 1960, she studied at the University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain and traveled abroad. After graduating from college, she taught the third grade at Roosevelt Elementary School, Manhattan, KS. Next, she fell in love with John Hay Salazar, whom she met on a blind date in Manhattan, KS. The next year, she moved to Colorado with her fiancé, John, where she taught first grade at Reed Street Elementary School in Denver, CO. She loved working with children and seeing them learn and grow.

On July 5, 1963, Barbara married John at the Sacred Heart Church in Greenleaf, Kansas, and so began a 55 year love story. Together, John and Barbara then moved to Canon City, CO where Barbara again taught for a short while. On January 31, 1966 she had her first daughter Julie Ann in Canyon City, CO. Then, Barbara and John moved to Fort Collins, CO, where John pursued his doctorate degree at CSU. There, she had her second daughter, Christi Lynne on December 30, 1967. Later, she had her son, Todd William on March 20, 1972 in Lubbock, TX, where John was a Professor at Texas Tech University. Mom’s dream was always to have children of her own, and she dedicated the rest of her life to raising her family. She made sure they did their school work and shuttled them to countless sports events. She wanted to make sure that they all got their college degrees and would all have secure and happy
lives. She was so proud of all of them when she attended each of their graduation ceremonies, and then knew that they would now be okay. Like a song, if the first part of her life was her rhythm, then the second part of her life was her harmony. She was happy to see her daughter Christi marry Tony Istvan (m June 12, 1993) and her son Todd marry Lisa Dale (m July 14, 2001). She was so proud to become a “Nana” to Samuel Haydn Istvan (b August 3, 2003), Ashley Grace Istvan (b October 16, 2008), Chloe Haylee Salazar (b October 3, 2005), and Tyler William Hay Salazar (b December 11, 2008). She enjoyed traveling to Europe with her husband John and her eldest daughter, Julie. She also loved spending many hours working on genealogy to understand her family’s history and the stories that she would discover along the way about them. She had many beloved pets, including Nina, Snuggles, Mickey Love, and
Petey. She also loved and was very close to her sisters, and their children, and her extended family. She was surrounded by her close-knit family for the remainder of her life in Castle Rock, CO. How she loved to watch Sam play soccer, tennis and swim, Tyler play soccer, basketball, and Boy Scouts, Chloe cheer and dance and Ashley play soccer, swim, irish
dance, and even play “pretend school” with her Nana.

Nana passed away on March 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm at the age of 79. She was surrounded by love with her husband and children by her side at her passing. She left us much too early, and more than anything, she would have loved to watch each of her grandchildren graduate from high school and college and become wonderful, caring, and successful adults. She will be our angel in heaven and will watch down on all of us to make sure we are okay.

Her funeral mass will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at Saint Frances of Assisi Catholic Church in Castle Rock, CO (Visitation and Rosary at 9:30 and 10:30, respectively). She will be buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Castle Rock, CO, where her body will rest in wait for the Last Judgement when Christ returns in glory. Nana did not want us to be sad that she is gone. She was very sick but also very brave. She always believed that when the physical human body dies, the human soul never dies. Every spiritual soul is immortal. It does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection. Rest peacefully dear Nana, Mama, Loving Wife, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, and friend. Those of us still here on earth will truly miss your beautiful smile, kindness, and love, but we know you will watch over us and we will reunite with you someday.

Written lovingly by her children and husband, March 11, 2018

In lieu of flowers, Mom wished that you donate to the JDRF Diabetes Foundation (


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