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OBIT: Krista Jean Ward

Krista returned to her Heavenly Father unexpectedly on September 4, 2023 at the young age of 24. A celebration of life will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday September 16, 2023, at Grace Church.

Krista Jean Barnish was a beloved wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend. Krista returned to her Heavenly Father unexpectedly on September 4, 2023 at the young age of 24. Krista was born in Mason City, Iowa on June 7, 1999 to Charles Barnish Jr and Melissa Heimbuch. Her childhood can best be remembered running around with her best friends (her siblings and cousins) until she met her high school sweetheart. In 2015, Matthew and Krista became inseparable. They were joined in marriage July 31, 2021 in a simple ceremony at the family homestead, where Krista celebrated by playing volleyball in her wedding dress. Together, Krista and Matthew made their home in Waterloo and enjoyed board and card games, travel, sports, and their dogs: Gator and Penguin. Through the good times and the bad they lived, laughed, and loved.

Krista’s caring spirit and generous heart could be felt by anyone she came in contact with. She had a special gift of seeing the good in everyone. Krista graduated from Mason City High School where she enjoyed being part of the choir. Krista lived her love for music, and had the opportunity to sing with the concert choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Krista experienced many mission trips and camps with Youth for Christ and her church. Krista also loved warm summer days and nights on the ball field. She graduated in 2017 and went on to NIACC to graduate in 2019 with her degree in Human Services. Krista furthered her education at UNI and conquered her life’s mission by graduating in 2021 with her bachelors in Social Work. She loved to serve the at risk and troubled youth, always believing each child was good and everyone of them deserves a second chance at a good life.

Krista was an avid lover of the outdoors and spent much of her free time traveling and breathing in life and adventure. Her love for the outdoors brought out the happy free spirit that defined her. Krista was fun loving, outgoing and vivacious. She was also a fierce competitor with any game. Many board games could quickly turn into a full contact sport. Krista had a love of any genre of music and movies, which was an expression of her emotions and her individuality.

Her love for the outdoors, movies, games, and music were only surpassed by the love she had for her family.

Krista will continue to be loved by her husband Matthew Ward; father Charles Barnish Jr.; mother Melissa Heimbuch (Tommy Reich); mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law Michelle (Jake) Smith and family; Jason (Melissa) Ward and family; grandparents Ray and Pam Heimbuch, Pam and Gary Stemmerman, Chuck and Linda Barnish; siblings Alexis Barnish, Rachel Barnish, Jaremy (Emily) Barnish, Ashley (Cole Neel) Barnish (Autumn & Cain Neel), Kaytlan Billings, Jason Billings Jr.; cousin and best friend Hayley (Devin) Sheahan; aunts and uncles Christina Barnish, Travis (Lori) Heimbuch; Matthew’s 9 siblings and many more aunts, uncles, nieces,nephews, cousins and friends.

Krista was an example to so many and a shining light to all who knew her. When you think of Krista, celebrate the good memories you have of her. Remember that life is fragile and short and should be lived to the fullest. She will be missed more than any words could express but she will be forever in our hearts till we meet again.

A celebration of life will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday September 16, 2023, at Grace Church, 440 North Illinois, Mason City, with Pastor Nick Burgus officiating. Inurnment will take place at a later date in Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City. Visitation will be held one our prior to service at the church on Saturday.

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