Barbara Lou (Leesch) Schaffer

Barbara Lou (Leesch) Schaffer, 88, of Ashton, SD, passed away on Tuesday, November 29th, 2022, at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen, SD. 

There will be a visitation from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 4th with a prayer service and rosary to follow at 4:00 pm at Hyke Funeral Home in Redfield, SD. 

Her Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. on Monday, December 5th, at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Redfield with Reverend John Short officiating.  The burial will follow at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery in Redfield.  After the burial, lunch and fellowship will take place at St. Bernard’s parish hall.

Both the prayer service and Mass will be live-streamed to the funeral home’s website, below Barbara’s obituary (

Barbara was born to Ernest and Eulalia (Robinson) Leesch on October 9th, 1934.  Her early years were spent growing up on their family farm near Ashton, SD.  She attended the one-room Leesch Country School just a mile from their farm through the eighth grade.  She then finished her high school years in Redfield, graduating in 1952.  Shortly after, she met the love of her life, Arthur Schaffer.  They were married in Redfield on October 23rd, 1956, and they began their life together on a farm near Zell, SD.  It was there that they started their family with the birth of 4 girls.  When the opportunity arose, they moved to Barbara’s family farm near Ashton, SD where they added to their family with the birth of 2 boys. 

Barbara worked side by side with Arthur on the farm and helped him greatly in many areas of farm life, from helping run the machinery to helping with the livestock.  She was never one to back down from hard work and together with Arthur, they built a successful farm and raised their family.  She was a wonderful, loving mom to all of her children and later, a loving grandmother and great-grandmother.

When all of her children were of school age, Barbara took a job as a para-professional at Redfield Public School.  There, she helped many students succeed and left a lasting impression on their lives during her 12 ½ years of employment.

Barbara’s Catholic faith was a very important part of her life.  She was an active member at St. Bernard parish where she attended mass regularly.  She, along with Arthur, brought their children to Sunday Mass as it was a central part of her belief to raise her children in the Catholic Faith to love and worship our Lord.

Grateful for sharing in her life are her children: Cathy Schaffer, Ashton, SD; Janet (Tom) Wanttie, Aberdeen, SD; Christine (James) Lindberg, Sioux Falls, SD; Dorothy (Jim) Henderson, Ellensburg, WA; Mark Schaffer, Redfield, SD; and Douglas Schaffer, Ashton, SD.  Her grandchildren: Jessica (Bradley) Cihak, Brad (Sarah) Wanttie, Tyler Wanttie, Nicole Wanttie, Kayla (Derek) Beck, Ryan (Mariah) Lindberg, Sam Lindberg, Brenna (Keith) Erickson, Elizabeth Vick, Ben Vick, Rustin Schone, Emily (Keeley) McConkey, Andria Ruvalcaba; and her 15 great-grandchildren.  Barbara is also survived by her siblings:  Angela Hansen of Redfield, Ernest Leesch of Sioux Falls, SD, and Deborah Leesch of Redfield; brother-in-law James Gruenwald of Redfield; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Barbara was preceded in death by:  her husband Arthur Schaffer, her son infant Nicholas Schaffer, her sister Margaret Gruenwald, 6 sisters–in–law, and 7 brothers-in-law.