Cover photo for Barbara Ann Pottorff's Obituary
Barbara Ann Pottorff Profile Photo
1946 Barbara 2020

Barbara Ann Pottorff

November 25, 1946 — November 28, 2020

Kalona- Barbara Ann Pottorff (Gingerich) was born November 25th, 1946, the 10th of 11 children born to Viola and Paul Gingerich. She was proud of attending the one room schoolhouse Middleburg through 8th grade where she dominated the boys on the softball field. She persevered and completed her GED through correspondence and later took accounting and algebra courses at Kirkwood Community College. Barbara had a natural inner brilliance that went beyond her formal education. Her humility, candor, and integrity earned her goodwill and respect throughout her life.

Growing up in Kalona, Iowa, Barbara moved to California in the spring of 1969 where she met her first husband, (Fred) John Meinel. They married on December 19th, 1969 and had four children. During their 28 years together they renovated homes, raised livestock, launched a bakery and health food store called The Stone Mill, served as teacher and principal for several years for Centers of Learning at Shiloh, and eventually built their homestead together in Kalona.

During her professional career, Barbara worked as an elementary school teacher, an accountant, and for more than 20 years she worked for United Technologies Automotive (UTA) as a human resources specialist. It was through her work at UTA that Barbara met the love of her life, J Frank Pottorff. They married on May 29th, 1999, adding two daughters and two grandchildren to the family. They were married for nearly 20 years before Frank's passing in 2018.

A deeply spiritual woman, Barbara was a beloved member of the Shiloh church for several decades, providing countless hours of volunteer work in service to those she dearly loved. She was actively involved in Shiloh University and the accounting department.

More than anything, Barbara cherished time with her family and friends. She loved being a grandma, reading stories, baking goodies and taking her grandkids to see the neighbors' new litter of puppies or down to the lily pond on a gator ride. Cooking by feel more than recipe, she had a remarkably well stocked freezer and pantry, always ready to feed a crowd. Her homemade cinnamon rolls, butternut squash pie, apple sauce, banana graham cracker vanilla pudding and signature potato salad will forever be the benchmarks by which all comfort food should be measured.

Barbara passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on Saturday, November 28th, 2020, at the age of 74.

Barbara is survived by three daughters, Monya Colleen Meinel of Chicago, IL, Leah Ann Meinel of Iowa City, IA and Havilah Joy (Troy) Peters of Iowa City, IA, and a son John Arbash (Lina) Meinel of Gainesville, FL; two stepdaughters, Desiree Marie (Brian) Christianson of Johnstown, CO and Deena Renee (Rhodes) Carter of Milliken, CO; eight grandchildren, Wylie Jax Meinel, Magnus Meinel Wilson, Leif Andreas Meinel Pitka, Carmen Peters, Faith Anne Peters, Kareem Arbash Meinel, Tehya Marie King, and Dakota Ward Smith. Also surviving are two brothers, Marlin (Nancy) Gingerich of Riverside, Emery Gingerich of Kalona; two sisters, Mary Gingerich of Charlotte, NC, Erma Peachey of Trout Run, PA; and two sister-in-laws, Judy Gingerich of Kalona and Lynne Louise (Jody) Murray of Casper, WY; and her devoted K9 companion, Buddy.

She was preceded in death by her husband J. Frank Pottorff, her parents, mother-in-law Mary Elma Pottorff of Casper, WY and father-in-law Jay Frank Pottorff, brothers Clarence, Paul Jr, Marvin, Eldon and an infant brother, sister Laura Keener, brother-in-law, Chester Peachey and sister-in-laws Jane Gingerich and Kathy Gingerich.

Due to Covid-19 safety concerns, burial and related services have been postponed. Per her wishes, Barbara's ashes will be mixed with those of her late husband Frank. We welcome family and friends to attend a graveside service at Sharon Hill in Kalona, when they will be interred together tentatively on their wedding anniversary, May 29th, 2021. Details about the service to be provided at a later date through Yoder Powell funeral home.

Funeral arrangements for Barbara Ann (Gingerich) Pottorff will be held on Saturday, May 29, 2021. There will be a short graveside memorial at 10 AM at Sharon Hill cemetery in Kalona (limited seating is available, you may bring a chair). At 11 AM there will be a celebration of life, fellowship, and a meal for family and friends at the Regan & Lynn Gingerich family farm (2461 Hwy 22 Kalona, IA). Family and friends are welcome at either event (or both). Please RSVP to Havilah Peters (319-631-0907) if you will attend the meal. Memorials may be sent to Iowa City Compassion (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Ann Pottorff, please visit our flower store.

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