The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Obituary: Barbara French

Barbara J. Wingender French, passed suddenly Nov. 13, 2020, at her home in Lincoln, Montana.

Barbara was born Jan. 13, 1955, in Winnemucca, Nev. to Randall and Mary Christine Wingender. She is a proud member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead reservation.

Barbara spent her early years in Walkerville, Mont. After the passing of her mother, she lived at the Helena Deaconess home for children, until she was taken in by her loving foster parents, Jim and Paula Murphy. She went on to graduate from Helena High School in 1973.

In 1975, Barbara married Patrick Tubbs and together they had two daughters, Grace Murray and Lotus Mary. She created "Tubby Wubby Daycare" in the early eighties after determining that she wanted to be a stay at home mother. She cared for many children through these years and loved each of them like they were her own. As the last of the children went off to school Barbara worked at Safeway and County Market, doing what she loves best, happily engaging with others and taking care of as many people as possible. Although they divorced in 1988, Patrick and Barbara remained friends and proud parents of Grace and Lotus, and grandparents to their grandchildren for the rest of their lives.

In 1992 Barbara married Terry French and stayed by his side until his passing in 2018. They were great team, running a house moving business and entertaining their many friends all around the state. They loved to travel and together covered countless miles back and forth across the country.

Barbara is remembered for her giving spirit; she would quite literally give you the jacket off her back if you were cold. She went out of her way to feed every mouth, comfort every sorrow and make everyone she touched feel loved. She sat on the board for the Senior Center in Lincoln and loved being able to give back to the community she loved so much. She spent hours and days canning vegetables and making her famous salsa surrounded by her dearest friends. She made sure to keep in contact with all of her friends; her dearest high school friends, her Wildflower family, and all of her Lincoln friends who could be found any day of the week having fun on her "veranda". She taught her girls the importance on doing a good deed every day and to always be kind to strangers.

Barbara is survived by her daughters, Grace (Lance) De Silva, and Lotus (Ron) Irizarry; her beloved grandchildren, Haven De Silva, Ryder De Silva, and Ron "Rizzy" Irizarry; foster mother, Paula (Thom Watkins) Murphy; her siblings, Carol Finley, James Wunder, Janice Irvine, Patricia (Tiny) Martin, Linda (Loy) Vandiver, Karen Little, Christine Wingender, Willow Diaz, Randy (Beth) Johnson, Shawna Murphy and Shane Murphy; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Terry French; parents, Randall and Mary Christine Wingender; foster father, James Murphy; her stepson, Chester French; siblings, Juanita Matt, Jeanne Irvine, and Peter Johnson.

Due to Covid-19, a celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Please visit to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Barbara.


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