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On Wednesday afternoon, April 25, 2001, Barbara Kay Brim, 53, was shot in her rural Hamilton County, Iowa home.
Brim’s husband, Larry Brim, told officials he found his wife at the bottom of the basement stairs in their home near Webster City after spending the afternoon moving farm equipment. He said his wife was fine when the two had shared lunch just hours earlier.
When he came back to the house, Larry Brim said he found his wife at the bottom of the inside stairs, and believed she’d just fallen down the steps. He called for help, and though Brim was still alive when medics arrived, she was unable to provide any useful information about the killer or killers.
After being transported to a Webster City hospital, medical personnel notified law enforcement that Brim had been shot in the head and neck. Brim was airlifted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, where she died the following day.
Deputy State Medical Examiner Dennis Klein performed an autopsy Saturday, which confirmed Brim died from a gunshot wound.
Hamilton County Sheriff Scott Anderson said Larry Brim had been ruled out and was not a suspect in his wife’s murder.
The remote location of the Brims’ rural home — approximately 15 miles northeast of Webster City — made it a prime target for burglars, a fact reinforced when Larry Brim told the sheriff’s office he’d found some items missing from the couple’s home, including his wallet. Three of the Brims’ five boys still lived at home but were in school when the murder took place.
Brim was a former high school Physical Education teacher, and former student Cindi Hoveland described her as “a sweet person,” and a “great mother to her boys.” The Brims’ two oldest boys had already graduated high school; the eldest, Mark, lived in Indiana, and Peter and his wife lived in Ankeny.
County officials offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the homicide, hoping it would lead to clues in solving Brim’s murder, but the funds went unclaimed.
Barbara Brim’s murder remains unsolved.
Barbara Kay (Pantekoek) Brim was born February 14, 1948, in Pipestone, Minnesota, to Donna Moore and Edward Pantekoek. She graduated from Pipestone High School in 1966 and attended South Dakota State University.
She taught physical education classes at Webster City High School from 1970 to 1976, and from 1976 through 1982 served as Director of Physical Development and Recreation at Handicap Village, a private, nonprofit facility for adults with disabilities.
She married Robert Larry Brim in Pipestone, Minn., on January 2, 1982, and the couple had five sons: Kevin, Mark, Peter, Andrew, and Nicholas. Betty and Larry farmed northeast of Webster City.
Barbara was a member of the Congregational-United Church of Christ, Haystack Circle, and Hamilton County Hospice/Respite. She also volunteered with Compeer and Pleasant View School and was active in many church organizations.
Memorial services were held April 30 at the Congregational-United Church of Christ in Webster City with Pastor Jim Buffington officiating.
In addition to her husband and sons, Barbara was survived by her mother; her brothers Dick and Allen Pantekoek and numerous other relatives.