Barbara was born on June 19, 1948, and raised on Long Island (New York). She graduated from Garden City High School where she enjoyed singing and theater. She did her undergraduate work at Drew University, where she traveled up and down the East Coast with the University choir. She decided to major in anthropology because she got all A’s in that subject. Spending her junior year in Heidelberg, Germany, changed her life, igniting an intense desire for exploration and travel.
She was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Arizona, where she met and married her husband of 50 years, Ed, who was also working on his Master’s degree at the time. Barbara went on to obtain a PhD from the University of Arizona. They lived in Tucson, Arizona, for a few years, moved to Houston, Texas, for a short time, and ended up in Casper, Wyoming, where Ed had accepted a job in the uranium industry.
Eventually, Barbara landed her dream job: teaching anthropology at Casper College. In fact, she was the only anthropology teacher for many years! She regularly taught three or four different courses per semester so that her students could develop a deeper understanding of anthropology if they wanted. She used examples from her personal experience to illustrate her points, and although her students often forgot what was in the textbook, they usually remembered her stories. Her Cultural Anthropology Class was very popular with many adults in the community.
Former students often came up to her and told her that anthropology was their favorite subject and/or that she was their favorite teacher Recently, one of her nurses mentioned that anthropology was her father’s favorite subject when he was a student at Casper College some years ago. But Barbara was not an easy teacher!
She was twice selected to be a Fulbright Scholar and taught American Studies in Bulgaria and Romania. She was also a Rotary Scholar in Poland. A colleague once said that she had dedicated her academic life to understanding our world, and that this resonated with students as she showed them images of important archeological sites in distant and exotic places. This inspired students to engage and learn even more about global cultures.
In her role as Casper Colleges International Education Director, Barbara helped faculty as well as students go abroad, many for the first time. To facilitate this, she obtained funding for participants and established sister-college relationships in Mexico, Thailand, Germany, and Brazil.
Barbara was fascinated by foreign culture and world religions. She wanted to experience everything first hand, not to just to read about these subjects in books. She experienced earthquakes in Chile, a hurricane in the Caribbean, a bus explosion in Israel, and a tsunami in Thailand.
She visited all 7 continents and over 130 countries, absorbing their culture, history, art, and sampling their cuisine. She had a working knowledge of French, German, and Spanish, and she brought all that she learned back to her students at Casper College and to the Casper community.
Always enthusiastic and energetic, Barbara was quick to accept invitations to speak. She was a regular speaker at the Casper College Humanities Festival and a popular guest speaker for local civic organizations whenever she returned from one of her overseas adventures. She directed the Casper College Elderhostel program for many years. Hers was among the very first travel programs; now almost all of the programs are travel programs under the new name of Road Scholar. She worked as a volunteer ranger at the Colter Bay Visitor Center museum in Grand Teton National Park and was the keynote speaker for John Colter Day for 11 summers.
Barbara reveled in simple pleasures such as walks through colorful autumn trees, Donell’s chocolates, and raspberry syrup made in Shoshone, WY. With Barbara’s lifelong love of music, theater, and art, she went to every concert, play, or art show that she could possibly attend.
Barbara passed away unexpectedly, but quietly, at home on September 1, 2022, after enduring several months of post-COVID symptoms (despite being fully vaccinated) and suffering a fall. She was 74 years old and an organ donor. Barbara is survived by her husband, Ed; her brothers, Bob and Paul; and five nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Barbara's name to ARTCORE, P. O. Box 874, Casper, WY 82602.
A Celebration of Barbara’s Life will be held at the Lyric, 230 W. Yellowstone Hwy, Casper, WY, at 2:00 PM on October 16, 2022.
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