Barbara J. Kotas

June 8, 1947 –Aug. 20, 2021


Barbara Jean (Stewart) Kotas was born to Lloyd and Roma (Jarchow) Stewart in Fairbury on June 8, 1947, and passed away Aug. 20, 2021, surrounded by family at her home at the age of 74.

She attended one year of country school near Daykin. Barb then moved with her family to rural Western and graduated Western High School in 1965. Prior to marriage, Barb worked at Campbells Soup Company in Tecumseh.Then on April 22, 1967, Barb married Melvin Kotas at the Methodist Church in Western.Together, they made their home in rural Western.To this union. two daughters were born. Barb worked many jobs over the course of her life. After marriage she worked at FormFit in Fairbury/Crete. She then was a news correspondent for the Western News. Next she worked at the Milligan Meat Locker. She went from there to the Wilber Republican newspaper for several years. Lastly, she was a guard at Farmland Food Processing. In 2009 Barb retired. After retiring, Barb enjoyed doing yardwork and working in her flower beds.Together, Melvin and Barb enjoyed attending their grandkids' school events, going to garage sales and auctions and taking small trips together. Barb especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends where she was usually the life of the party.

Barb was preceded in death by her father, Lloyd Stewart; parents-in-law, Frank and Sylvia Kotas; brothers-in-law, Gerald Kotas, Roger Kotas and Myron Hayek. She is survived by her husband, Melvin of 54 years; daughters, Michelle (Gary) Baxa of Tobias and Amy (Randy) Rezny of Wilber; grandchildren, Miranda (Brent) Jansky, Melanie (Alex) Clark, Clayton Krauter, Cortney Krauter and Abby Rezny; great-grandchildren, Brixton Jansky and Charlotte Krauter; mother, Roma Steward Heizenrader; sisters, Loydeen (Gerry) Stengel and Deb Gennette; brother, James (Judy) Stewart; sisters-in-law, Lois Kotas, Carol Kotas and Karen Hayek and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be Sunday, Aug. 29, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Western Fire Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested in care of the family for future designation. Condolences may be left for the family at


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