Barbara Rilling

Surrounded by her family, Barb Rilling was lifted up in prayer on March 29, 2020. Waiting for her at Heaven’s gates were her husband Maynard; her parents, John and Florence Zebroski; brothers: Ray, Jim, Dick, Phil, John and Jerry; grandson Brandon and many extended family members and close friends.

Barbara Jane Zebroski was born January 3, 1939 to John and Florence. She was a bubbly little chunk with a big smile. She grew up on the famed Hillside Ranch in west Sully County. Her first memory was riding with her dad in the back of his little red truck. They were going to get some oats. Not long after, she lost her dad, so it was up to her, her seven brothers, her sister, and their mother to run the ranch and make it a successful way of life. Barb had to help with the house chores but would rather be outside working with the boys and riding her horse Bucky.

Barb attended grade school at West Fairbanks Country school before eventually coming to town and graduating from Onida High in 1957. It’s a funny known fact, coming in from the country, some of the boys were a little intimidated at first, because she had bigger muscles than most of them.

Barb met the love of her life while waiting to get on the swing ride at the Sully Co. Fair. She and Maynard were married October 6, 1958 in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Agar, SD. They had 8 children all born and raised in Onida.

Barb grew up with a strong will, some call it stubbornness, we will stick with strong will. She also had character and courage. She took those qualities and became one of the pillars in her community. Outside of being a wife to Maynard for 40 years, who she lost to a vehicle accident in 1998 and a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, she stayed very busy. She and Maynard owned the grocery store in Onida. Barb was the bookkeeper for 23 years until they sold it in 1994. Barb was an AAU coach for 10 years and was also a substitute Shop teacher at the school. Barb was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels for many years. She was a member of the Arts Council and a member and president (for a period of time) of the Alumni Association. Barb was always active in her church. She taught CCD, was a member of the parish council, and was an active Eucharistic Minister. For 14 years Barb worked for the Sully County Soil Conservation planting trees. She also mowed and cared for the Holy Rosary Cemetery in Agar for 25 years and up to her passing was the weed trimmer/killer and call person. Barb was a prominent member and president (2000-2015) of the Onida City Council for 20 years from 1996-2016. Barb was always ready to help out.

Barb enjoyed many hobbies. Over the years, she did woodworking, refurbishing, painting and staining projects. She did some beautiful quilting. She loved to do canning and freezing from the garden harvest. She was known for making delicious jellies and salsa. She was infamous for her fried chicken and walleye. In the spring and summer you would find her out working in her beautiful yard. If Barb was not caring for her lawn or her attractive flower beds and her rock gardens, she could be found out on her big pontoon soaking up the sun and fishing.

In 2018, Barb was nominated for the Spirit of Dakota Award of South Dakota. In her family’s eyes she was the true embodiment of a prairie woman with spirit. From early childhood to adulthood, especially battling some health issues and then cancer, she was an amazing force. A warrior to the end.

Beyond all of her hard work and hobbies the most important and dear thing to her was family. She came from a large close family and instilled all of that heart into her own large family. Her grateful and loving family who were so fortunate to share in her life journey are Julie (Craig) Stephens, Craig (Patty), Dennis (Connie), Rod (Tracy), Brenda (Ted) Asmussen, Kent (Cynthia), Susie, and Brad (Monica) along with 21 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren; sister Mary Rawstern and brother Robert Zebroski, as well as a host of loved in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Barb lived a full rich life. Rich in family and friends. And if fun times were stars, she could light up a dark sky.

Due to the Coronavirus, an in person Mass of Christian burial will not be possible for everyone to attend. Instead, Barb’s family invites you to share in a live streaming celebration of life at 10:30am, Friday, April 3, 2020 through Zoom ID number 398231653 or

If you would desire to make a memorial contribution, in lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established in her name at the Sunrise Bank in Onida.

The family invites you to join us in the procession from Onida to Agar. Please text 605-360-6662 for details prior to joining.

Reserve a “virtual” seat at her funeral by emailing us at or giving us a call and we will place a heart and your name on an unfilled chair. Lets show Barb’s family how much we care! Condolences may be conveyed to the family at