OBITUARIO

Barbara L. Gittinger

8 agosto , 19417 abril , 2021

Barbara Jean (Lutz) Gittinger went to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday April 7, 2021, four months before her 80th birthday. She is preceded in death by her husband Theodore D. Gittinger, her grandson Aaron Moore, two brothers (Clayton Lutz and Milton J. Lutz), two sisters (Rita Mecke and Margorie Eckert), and brothers in law (Robert Mecke, Charles Eckert and Art Neugebauer). She is survived by her six children and fifteen grandchildren: Carol Gittinger (Debbie Harris), Mary Moore (Kevin), Trudy Richter (Ricky), Diana Gittinger, Ted Gittinger (Adriana), and Ben Gittinger (Britney), Lily Harris, Frankie Harris, Alyza Moore, Noah Moore, Sam Richter (Lauren), Elliott Richter, Luke Richter, Claire Smith, Wil Smith, Josephine Smith, Victoria Gittinger, Rose Gittinger, Abigail Jones-Gittinger, Miles Gittinger, and Evan Gittinger, her brother Thomas Lutz, and sisters Frances Neugebauer, Geraldine Gueldner, and Virginia Shannon.

Barbara was born the eighth child of Milton E. and Josephine Rihn Lutz on August 8, 1941 in San Antonio, Texas. She is a descendant of Laurentius Rihn and Catharina Kley, part of the original settlers of Castro's colony in Medina County, Texas. She loved her big extended family and always enjoyed our reunions and other get-togethers. We always started the departing process about an hour before we really needed to leave because of the talking that still needed to be done. We all have fond memories of family reunions and time spent with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Barbara was educated at St. Anne's School and Providence High School, where she played volleyball, participated in choir and Girl Scouts, and graduated as Salutatorian. She had aspirations to become a nurse, but her education was put on hold when she met and subsequently married Ted Gittinger on December 26, 1960. Upon Ted’s graduation from St. Mary’s University and receiving his Army commission, the young family moved to Fairbanks, AK where Ted served at Ft. Wainwright. As a military family, they moved frequently in the early years, adding six children as they went along. In 1973 the family moved to Austin where Ted pursued advanced education and Barbara worked to support the family. Those were lean years, but Mom always made sure that we celebrated birthdays and holidays and learned what it took to make a life. Mom found it much easier to keep us entertained and busy in Austin and we spent many hours at Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, and Stacy Pool. She always had us enrolled in summer swim lessons, reading programs and eventually in summer jobs. Mom believed in “free-range” children and we had a lot of leeway in our outside activities. She supported our activities by being a Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout pack mom, Little League volunteer, chaperone, booster clubs of all kinds. She bought our candy, cookie dough, poinsettias, popcorn, wrapping paper and scads of other fundraising items. She attended as many events as humanly possible. She taught us to drive, to balance our checkbooks, to file our taxes and to apply to college. She raised her children to be educated, independent-thinking adults.

Barbara worked at Austin Stamp and Stencil Company where she learned all aspects of managing a small business. She left for a job at the Texas Department of Transportation and rose through the ranks to a supervisory position. After marriage, putting her husband through school, and raising six children, she returned to her education 39 years later and graduated from St. Edward’s University in 1999 with a BA and minor in accounting. She retired in 2003 after twenty-four years of service. Mom was a member of Women’s Information Network (WIN). At one time in the early 1990s we were all on a softball team that won the TxDOT tournament. Mom played third base. Mom had an arm.

Inexplicably she was an Atlanta Braves fan. Ben believes that in the early days of cable you could only watch baseball on WGN and TBS. Since no one liked the Cubs, we were Brave fans by default. She loved the Braves so much that once took her then 4-month-old granddaughter to a game when Diana was working in Atlanta. Her grandson Luke was also the recipient of her Braves enthusiasm when at the age of 3 he accompanied Nana to a Braves playoff game against the Houston Astros. She also visited other ballparks, including Yankee Stadium where when told that she could not bring her purse into the stadium, told the security guard "phooey" before trotting off to find a locker. That was not the first nor the last "phooey." She so loved baseball that she wrote a paper on labor relations as part of her studies at St. Ed’s. It is thirty-three pages long. “Swing level” was often included in her words of advice to the batter.

Barbara was a devout Catholic her entire life. She was a member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church for forty-eight years, and although money was tight, she was determined to send all six of her children to Catholic school. She lived a life of service to others. She served as a lay minister and a member of the Catholic Daughters organization. She cooked and baked for those learning job skills at SafePlace, for the parish priests, and fundraising bake sales. In 2009, she was a Lumen Gentium (Light of the World) honoree in recognition of service and faithfulness. Barbara was also active in Drive A Senior and served on the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors. She especially enjoyed her Small Christian Community group.

In her younger years, Barbara liked to bowl and play bridge and more recently to do puzzles. She was always crafty and enjoyed sewing, ceramics, and after her husband Ted died, took up his jewelry and beading craft. Mom sewed many of our clothes and made outfits for Barbie and other dolls but, alas, not for G.I. Joe. Like her mother before her, she made matching sets of pajamas for the grandchildren. We have many, many pictures to prove it.

Barbara beat cancer but suffered from Parkinson's disease and hypertension. She participated in Power for Parkinson's exercise classes and performed in their annual gala. She spent the last few years at the Village at the Triangle retirement center, where she enjoyed participating in the social and cultural offerings as well as being pampered with regular cleaning of her apartment, prepared meals, and dessert after every meal if she so desired. She especially enjoyed the water aerobics and the conversations at mealtime.

Mom was computer savvy and knew how to use her iPhone for email and text messaging, photography and internet surfing - kind of. More recently she acquired her newest skill, Zoom calls!

The family was able to have a small gathering on Easter Sunday and for that we are very thankful. She is no longer in pain and is reunited with her husband Ted and other relatives. We are proud of our mom and all that she accomplished in her life. Mostly we are grateful for her unwavering love for us and care and devotion for our father. She was the center of our family. She will be greatly missed,

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Drive A Senior, St. Ignatius Catholic Church and Power for Parkinson’s organizations.

Visitation will be at 9:00 am on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church with Rosary to begin at 9:30 am and Funeral Mass at 10:00 am. Services will be livestreamed and can be accessed at https://st-ignatius.org/live. Burial services will be held on May 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in San Antonio, TX.

Current COVID protocols for Travis County, guests must wear protective masks at all times while inside the church and practice the recommended six-foot social distancing.

EULOGY FOR BARBARA LUTZ GITTINGER

Mom liked people and people liked Mom. She wanted to know YOU and all about you. Mom’s friendships were long and deep and lasting. She taught us that relationships are important. She also had a great memory. At their 50th wedding anniversary reception she was intent on naming all the guests and explaining how they were connected to her and dad (we had to take the microphone away). However, she did forget mentioning one person that day, her fourth daughter Diana, but one could say that was history repeating itself because she also forgot Diana at the grocery store once back in the early 70’s. And that is when Diana got ice cream and Mom learned to count. Mom was always involved…whether it was military, faculty, school, extracurricular, or church. But once she retired, she really doubled down on her volunteering activities. Frankly, I’m awed and little bit exhausted just thinking about it. We really tried to acknowledge all of her service activities in the obituary, but there were just too many. You see, she understood that no matter how hard or difficult her life was there were always others who had it worse. She taught us to share what we had with others. Mom was a giver not a taker. She did things out of love without expectation of payback or acknowledgement. She was never a selfish person, quite the opposite. In fact, we really had a time making her understand that it is okay to step back, step off, step down… to receive for a change, to let others take care of her. She taught us about self-sacrifice. Mom was more and progressive than you might know. She accepted people as they were. And that was certainly true for me. When I was little other mothers in the neighborhood would call her to report my “roughhousing” and playing football with the boys. Mom did NOT to reign me in but suggest that those moms mind their own business. She accepted my partner and children unconditionally. She danced at my wedding. Claire remembers that Nana was over served at that event or maybe she was just really happy. She taught us to love all God’s children. Mom was a girl scout and valued the experiences and lessons of scouting. But Girl Scouts weren’t cool when we moved to Austin and we weren’t interested. However, Mary wanted to go to camp and the only way that was going to happen was through selling Girl Scout cookies. Lots and lots of Girl Scout cookies. Mary spent two memorable summers at Camp Texlake, learning how to canoe, camp, make s’mores, sing campfire songs, and most importantly, spend time away from the rest of us. Mom taught us to work for what we wanted. You know some of Mom’s health problems. We tried to rotate helping her with appointments and such. One time Trudy was staying overnight in the hospital with her after a heart procedure. It just so happened to be Trudy’s birthday. Late in the evening Trudy looked at Mom and reminded her that fifty years ago they were also in the hospital together, just the two of them. Recently Trudy started a little side hustle baking cookies. Mom told her that she was proud of her. Amazing how those words can make you feel even at Trudy’s advanced age. If you read the obituary or knew Barbara well, you knew that she was a baseball fan. She and dad especially loved following Ben in his college baseball playing days. She also loved the Dallas Cowboys, especially when Roger Staubach was playing. Roger was a good Catholic boy. Ted recalls that she cared less for his replacement, often referring to him as “that turkey.” I think that she was still a Cowboy fan but not as committed. She liked to win. Mom loved music of all kinds, not just sacred music. We all remember cleaning house to Dionne Warwick, Johnny Cash, Broadway musicals, and Fight Songs of the Southwest Conference. She was able to attend Broadway shows here in Austin and fortunately was able to see some in New York City. She always enjoyed Lily’s choir concerts, dance recitals, and shows. She taught us the joy of art. She was adventurous and not intimidated by taking a bunch of young and loud children to public places. We went to libraries, museums, shows at UT and Zilker Park, swimming pools and swimming holes, picnics parks, zoos and nature centers, basically wherever we could be entertained and out of the house for a while. We took advantage of whatever was free/low cost and on offer. She taught us to be active and to appreciate the world around us. She loved the water and at our last trip to the beach several years ago Mary was concerned about Mom floating out to sea and I was worried about her body surfing back to the shore. Neither of those things happened. She floated contentedly, weightless, and one with nature. The grandchildren all contributed to this, but I can’t go into all the details because we just don’t have the time today. Nana would give up her own day to spend time with her grandkids. They had sleepovers and all the kids remember pancakes. They also called out specific movies that they watched with her like Lonesome Dove, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and Seven Brides for Seven Bothers. She came to as many of their events as possible. Knowing that she was the in the audience or stands made them perform better and play harder. They love our family’s Christmas traditions and helping decorate the tree and being together on Christmas Eve. They remarked on the hugs and kisses when coming and going. Mom was crafty and some of the kids helped with sewing scrapbooking and other projects.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this. Tuesday my brother in law, Kevin, sent out a group text with all his memories of Mom. He sent multiple, long texts. Turns out that one person on the thread was not in our family. They offered condolences and asked to be removed from the thread. But in a moment of “sorry, not sorry” Kevin said, “Now there is another person out there that knows how great your mom was.” Thanks for being great, Mom. Thanks for coming, people. We hope to have a celebration gathering at some point in the future.

Servicios

  • Recitation of the Holy Rosary

    jueves, 15 abril , 2021

  • Funeral Mass

    jueves, 15 abril , 2021

  • Graveside Service

    martes, 11 mayo , 2021

Recuerdos

Barbara L. Gittinger

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Celina Galvan

15 abril , 2021

My condolences to the Gittinger family. May our God receive Barbara joyfully.+

Carol Bellomy

15 abril , 2021

I did not know Barbara Gittinger well, but her children are a testament of her character, work ethic, spirituality and commitment to family. God bless all of you and I pray for your peace in her passing. Much love, Carol

Nancy Eckert Menger

14 abril , 2021

So many wonderful memories spent with my Aunt Barbara, Uncle Ted and Gittinger cousins. I guess a couple of extra kids for a week was no big deal! We were so blessed by your selflessness and dedication. Rest In Peace sweet Aunt Barbara.

Michele Jeanmarie

14 abril , 2021

As a newly married woman with a newborn baby and new family, I was an implant from California. Everything was so new, but I still took on the Catholic Daughter as regent. Overwhelmed, Barbara’s warmth was encouraging. Computer savvy she was because we exchanged emails, laughter and recipes. As the regent of the CDA, I, along with my vice-regent, had introduced “Ladies Coffee.” That was 16 years ago! In the interim, Barbara had me at her wedding anniversary and a bluegrass concert, an invitation she extended to me. I don’t even like bluegrass music, but it was Barbara who invited me, and so I joined her. Pleasant was her company that when she asked me to decorate a table for her at our “Ladies Coffee,” I was more than keen to oblige. Barbara, thank you!

Wilma Villegas

14 abril , 2021

My sincere condolences to the family. I live down the street from Barbara and my now adult children went to school with one or two of her children. I enjoyed talking with her while she trim her bushes. I also belong to the cook and bake , She will be missed by all of us but may she Rest In Peace. Wilma Villegas 🙏🏽❤️

Theresa Ann Alba

14 abril , 2021

You were such a blessing to our St. Ignatius Community, Church and School and we miss you already! I'm glad God put you into my life Barbara, may you rest in peace and perpetual light shine upon you +++

With much love and gratitude, your Friend and Sister in Christ,
Theresa Ann Alba

Herbert Bludeau

14 abril , 2021

My deepest condolences to the Lutz and Gittinger families on the passing of Barbara. I remember her very well from our days at St. Ann Catholic School. Barbara was two grades behind me in the same class as my brother, Adrian Bludeau. I was in the same class as her sister, Geraldine and graduated from Central Catholic with her husband, Ted. My prayers are with the family. May our Lord grant her heavenly rest.

Hanna Senko

14 abril , 2021

Barbara will be greatly missed by the Drive a Senior Central Texas (previously known as Drive a Senior South Austin) community. She was such a special person and gave so much to our board and our clients over the years.

You will be so missed, Barbara. May you rest in peace.

Lots of love,
Hanna Senko
Drive a Senior Central Texas Board Chair

Jodi Allen

14 abril , 2021

Barbara's service to our organization has been priceless and her commitment has been inspiring to all of us. I'm grateful that her mark remains on our services, she even helped interview a new staff person coming on next month. We will miss her.
Jodi Allen
DASCTX

Elizabeth Hunt

14 abril , 2021

I am so grateful for the time I spent with Barbara over the last two years. I served with her on the Finance Committee at Drive a Senior Central Texas. She never missed a meeting, and her wisdom and experience was invaluable. She had a heart for serving others and loved sharing stories about her family with me. I will truly miss her.
May God's Love and Peace wrap you up at this time.