Barbara Leitgen

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Barbara Leitgen, 84, died Jan. 2, 2020, in Garnavillo.

A memorial service is planned at a later date.

Barbara was born in La Crosse, Wis., on Aug. 23, 1935, the second child of Carl and Juanita Kann of Guttenberg.  She finished grammar and high school at St Mary’s Catholic School in Guttenberg, graduating in 1953.  She received a scholarship to Viterbo College, La Crosse, attending for two years before transferring to the University of Iowa in Iowa City.  There, she majored in Art, with an emphasis in art history.  After graduation, she returned to Guttenberg, to work with her parents in their store, Kann Imports.  She developed their first mail advertising, hand drawing many designs.

She was vacationing in Hawaii in February 1959 when it was announced that Hawaii would become the 50th state.  The people of Hawaii were overjoyed and she danced in the streets of Waikiki all night with them.

She married Loyal W. Leitgen in 1960.  Their honeymoon to Acapulco, Mexico, was their first trip out of the country.

Their first son, Stephen, was born in the newly built Guttenberg Hospital in 1961.  In 1965, the family moved to Recife, Brazil for Loyal’s new job.   Loyal’s job would take them to India, where their second son, Thomas, was born in 1968.  The family later moved to Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before returning to the U.S. in 1973. The family finally settled in Minneapolis, Minn.

Barb began studies in the computer field, before personal computers and the internet.  She worked as a programmer for Toro, Proform Systems and, eventually, the U.S. Postal System Computer Center.  She and her husband retired to the family farm in Iowa in 1995.  Barb took over management of Kann Imports in Guttenberg, from her ailing parents.  Barb developed the first website,, as well as full color advertising booklets for herself and other local businesses.  Despite her failing health, she was actively involved in the running of the business until her death. 

She is survived by her husband, Loyal; her sons and their spouses, Steve and Christine Leitgen of Bloomington, Minn., Tom and Zu Leitgen of Garnavillo;  grandchildren, Claire, Alyssa, Matt and Adam; brothers, Lee and Yvonne Kann, Northridge, Calif., Steve and Carol Kann, Newport Beach, Calif., numerous extended family and friends.

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