Illa Barness

RAPID CITY | Illa Jean Barness, 77, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, at Rapid City Regional Hospital following a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on Jan. 28, 1941, in rural Tulare to Gust and Lola (Peterson) Buckendahl and she grew up on the family farm west of Tulare.

Illa graduated from Tulare High School in 1959, and after high school, she worked in the Redfield community. On June 19, 1960, Illa married Robert Barness. They lived on the family farm in Spink County and spent time in Lawndale, CA, and Pierre, before settling their family in Rapid City in 1970.

Illa worked for United Blood Services in Rapid City for 21 years. It was here that she met hundreds of lifetime community friends. Every day was a joy for her to go to work. After retiring, she volunteered at many community events in the Rapid City area. She was a member of Canyon Lake United Methodist Church in Rapid City.

Illa and Bob enjoyed traveling. Together they visited Canada, Mexico, many different countries in Europe, and much of the United States. After Bob’s death in 2008, Illa continued to travel with friends and realized her dream of sailing through the Panama Canal in early 2017.

In addition to traveling, Illa’s passions were spending time with her family and grandchildren, planning her next adventure, and taking every opportunity to talk with anyone and everyone. She will be remembered for her kind heart, warm smile, and her ability to make all of us feel “special.”

Illa was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Barness, and her son, Steave Barness. Illa is survived by her son, Bryan (Leslee) of Sioux Falls; daughter-in-law, Karen of Colorado Springs, CO; grandchildren, Miranda, McKenna, Maddisen, and Caden; and brother-in-law, Ron Barness of Salt Lake City, UT.

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Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church, 3500 Canyon Lake Drive. A reception and luncheon will follow at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance ( or Canyon Lake United Methodist Church.

Friends may sign Illa’s online guestbook at

the life of: Barness, Illa J.
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