Barbara Anne Alstede
The Alstede Family regrets to announce the passing of Barbara Anne (Cirelli) Alstede of Chester, NJ on Thursday February 11, 2021 at the age of 55. She passed peacefully at her farmhouse surrounded by her family and close friends following a very short, but extraordinarily courageous and strong, faith filled fight against pancreatic cancer. Born on January 6, 1966, Barbara was the sixth of seven children born to Anthony and Barbara Cirelli and was raised, and continued to reside, in Chester until the time of her death.
Barbara was a 1984 graduate of West Morris Central High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 1988. Barbara had a heart for children and teaching and taught special education in several different schools through 1997.
Barbara met the love of her life, Kurt W. Alstede, a local farmer also of Chester, NJ, while attending a Bible study at the First Congregational Church of Chester in 1996. Barbara and Kurt became engaged to be married later that year on Christmas Eve, 1996 and were married just three weeks later on January 18, 1997 at the Congregational Church where they met. The first night of their marriage was celebrated in the same farmhouse and bedroom where Barbara and Kurt lived their entire married life together and where she passed peacefully away.
Later in 1997 Barbara decided to join her husband in their family farm business, Alstede Farms of Chester. She continued to be employed there in various management roles until her passing. Together they successfully grew the first generation family farm business into a substantial 800 acre fruit and vegetable growing operation that retails all of its production and is nationally recognized for its sustainable stewardship of natural resources. More notable is the fact that together, they successfully permanently preserved over 560 acres of beautiful and productive farmland, forever cementing the rural atmosphere of Chester and western Morris County; while also providing fresh local nourishment to millions of regional residents each year through the produce that they raised. Further, millions of New Jersey school children have learned about agriculture in New Jersey from Barbara as she actively provided educational school tours to children at the farm throughout her lifetime. The positive influence of Barbara and her farm on the quality of life for New Jersey residents cannot be overstated.
In addition to raising crops on their farm, Barbara and her husband Kurt also raised a family. Rebekah was born in 2001, Sarah in 2003, and Karl in 2007. Barbara again exhibited her passion for education by choosing to personally home school all their children at their farmhouse. Barbara maintained that there was no better teacher and no better role model for young aged children than their parents. Barbara fostered and infused in each of her children a love and passion for God, country, and farming which has led each of them to achieve their dreams utilizing the gifts that God gave each of them.
Barbara’s faith and heart for God and her Savior were paramount in her life. She was very active in the church in which she was baptized, where she was married, and where her children were dedicated as Christians, the First Congregational Church of Chester. Her zeal for education led her to serve on the Christian Education Committee through the time of her passing where she oversaw youth Sunday school, activities, clubs, Bible studies, and child care. She also served previously as a church Deacon.
Perhaps most notable of Barbara’s many accomplishments was the stability of the home that she created and maintained for her husband and her children in their old farmhouse. Never one to seek the lime-light, her steadfast and fierce dedication to her family behind the scenes allowed Kurt to serve actively in many different community and regional leadership capacities; and for each of her children to actively pursue their dreams; Rebekah as an agricultural leader, Sarah as an equestrian, and Karl as an ice hockey player. Make no mistake, Barbara knew how to make herself be heard at a hockey game. Barbara’s husband and children were the love of her life and they embody her legacy.
Barbara will be missed. But her husband and family take solace in her saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and her residency with her Savior. Barbara is survived by her husband of 25 years Kurt and their children Rebekah, Sarah, and Karl. Barbara is also survived by her father, Kurt’s brothers, all her siblings, many in-laws, and a vast number of cousins, nieces, and nephews. A private (due to attendance restrictions) celebration of life and memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Chester on Saturday February 20th followed by a private interment at the Alstede Family plot located at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Chester. The memorial service will begin at 10AM and will be live streamed for those that would like to attend virtually. It can be found at: www.facebook.com/FCCofChester. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Barbara’s memory can be kindly directed to the First Congregational Church of Chester Youth Ministry Fund; Post Office Box 125; Chester, New Jersey 07930. Arrangements are being prepared by Leber Funeral Home of Chester, New Jersey.
The Alstede Family graciously acknowledges the overwhelming love, support, and prayers that have been abundantly offered during both Barbara’s short time of illness and, most especially, during this time of remembrance.