This past week has definitely been the most heartrending and difficult for us at the Dietrich. Our dear, dear friend and Dietrich Theater bookkeeper Barbara Jones passed away unexpectedly due to complications from diabetes.
Barbara was one of the founding mothers of the Dietrich who worked on this project even before the Dietrich reopened in 2001. For the past 18 years, she kept our books in tip top order completely as a volunteer. She believed in the Dietrich so much and always gave so much of herself that she would never take any financial remuneration for the job she did.
Besides keeping precise books for our organization, which is a very important and immense task in itself, Barbara did a lot more than that for us at the Dietrich. She brightened our lives and all of those she came in contact with every day. You see, Barbara always put others before herself – that was just her nature. She had a quick smile, a kind spirit and a warm heart. Barbara made us laugh with her funny stories and really corny jokes. She loved the color pink. That’s where our nickname for her, “Miss Pink,” came from.
She enjoyed a broad variety of music, from Travis Tritt to Lenny Kravitz, and would play music all day long in her office. I think one of the highlights for her this past year was when her son Craig and daughter-in-law Mandy went with her to see Travis Tritt in concert.
Barbara also loved old time radio. She was one of the original members of the Dietrich Theater Radio Players. Her favorite part of radio players was the laughter the group shared as they prepared for their live performance each season. She had a great voice for radio and I will never forget her performances where she played Jane Ace from the series “Easy Aces and The Story Lady.” And of course, Barbara loved the movies – all kinds, from blockbusters to film festival selections, and especially the classics.
It is impressive to think about all that Barbara did for the Dietrich and for us, but her thoughtful acts did not stop there.
She was actively involved in her church, Nativity BVM. She taught Sunday school there for years and years and just loved teaching. I think back on the many times she would tell me about a project or lesson she was planning to prepare in the evening after putting in a full day of work at the Dietrich. She also spearheaded giving out Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas food baskets at her church, organized Lenten lunches and served as the treasurer for the local food pantry. Barbara took on an active leadership role in whatever project she became involved in.
She did these projects so well and without any expectation of recognition.
What was most important to Barbara was her family.
She loved, more than words can describe, her son, Craig; daughter-in-law Mandy; mother, Dorothy; husband, Richard; and her best friends, Esther Harmatz, Shirley Fisher and Mary Reilly, whom she considered family.
Barbara faithfully visited her mother three times a week and enjoyed taking her on outings to her favorite store Boscov’s or for a meal at Pizza Perfect. She was so proud of Craig and Mandy, always sharing with us their latest news, like when they adopted their dogs. She especially enjoyed when Mandy and Craig came up to visit during “Christmas in Our Hometown.”
Thinking of Christmas reminds me of how much Barbara and Richard doted on their beloved dog Joey. During the Christmas season, she would proudly show us pictures of when she and Richard took Joey to see Santa Claus.
And then I think of Esther.
Boy did Barbara and she go on adventures together – from a dachshund festival in Canada to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, to the beach in Dover, Dela., to name a few places.
To her family, I cannot imagine the loss you are feeling at this time. My heart goes out to you.
All of us at the Dietrich feel privileged to have known Barbara. We thank you, Barbara, for helping make the Dietrich what it is today, for making such a difference in our community and for your boundless love and kindness.
You will always be in our hearts.
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