Mary Barden, 79, passed away peacefully Monday, June 26, 2023, at Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire.

Mary was born on January 28, 1944, to Albert and Florence (Shoemaker) Johnson in Eau Claire, WI. She married the love of her life, Gary Barden, on December 2,1961. Together they raised their family in the Eau Claire area.

Mary was a kind and happy person with a contagious laugh. Her positivity and compassion for others was an inspiration to family and friends. Mary had a strong faith that prepared her for this final journey. She was a homemaker most of her married life taking care of her two boys and running the family household. She had a love for animals and enjoyed feeding all of God’s creatures that wandered into the back yard, including deer, squirrels, birds and a stray cat, Tommy, who is now part of the family, along with their Shih Tzu, Cash.

Mary is survived by her husband of 61 years; Gary Lester Barden, of Eau Claire, her two children; Gary Bryan (Jen) Barden of Wausau and Mark Barden of Rhinelander; her two sisters Ann McKay, Diana Harris and brother Steve Otto.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Patricia Burns and Sandra Nyseth and brother Larry Otto.

A memorial service will be Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at 12:00 pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church with Father James Kurzynski officiating. A visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at 3:00 pm at Rest Haven Cemetery. Friends and family may leave online condolences below.

We are encouraging attendees, to help celebrate Mary’s life and positive view of the world, by wearing brightly colored clothing.


  1. I am so sorry for the loss of Mary. She sounded like such a fun person. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. First, I am very sorry for your loss.
    I remember meeting Mary for the first time at Mark’s home. She began talking me like she had known me for a long time.
    I know without a doubt she will be missed dearly. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love, Dawn and Dwayne

  3. We are sincere in our love for your family. We pray for you and send our love from TN.
    The Williams, Jeff, Stephanie, Aliana, Zayne and Easton
    Neighbors of Mr. Otto

  4. Prayers go out to the Barden family I am so sorry for the loss of Mary Heaven has gained a wonderful angel

  5. Gary,
    So very sorry to learn of Mary’s passing. May fond memories bring you, Gary and Mark comfort during difficult time. Our deepest condolences, Laurie and Steve

  6. Mary was the life of the neighborhood. She will be missed profoundly. Gary, we are here if you need ANYTHING. We are so happy that we got to know you both. ❤️

  7. Dear Gary & family, I am sorry about Mary’s passing. I always enjoyed seeing Mary in my Chiro office. Blessings on you all.
    Jim Abens

  8. We are sorry about Mary’s passing. Jim has always thought, Gary as a lifelong friend. We send our condolences.

  9. Blessings to your family , Mary was always a up beat woman with a smile for everyone . She spent many days cheering up my Grandmother after my grandpas passing My family was very grateful she took the time lift a neighbors spirts . May the good Lord bring your family peace and comfort .

  10. My sincere condolences to you Gary and the boys. Hard to believe it’s been this long since I baby sat for you and then having Mary join my Bible study years later. May God bless you with peace during this time and moving forward. 🙏

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