Barbara Ann Bernhardt Profile Photo
1943 Barbara 2024

Barbara Ann Bernhardt

February 12, 1943 — May 23, 2024

Wallingford, PA

 

Barbara Ann Bernhardt died of pneumonia on Thursday, May 23, 2024. She was 81.  Barbara was born on February 12, 1943, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Robert and Ruth Bernhardt, just as her 19-year-old half-brother, Robert William Alexander, was ready to leave home. Seven years later, Barbara and her family moved to Swarthmore where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday School at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. 

Her love of singing continued as an undergraduate at Thiel College, where she had the opportunity to travel with the choir throughout the United States and Europe. These experiences ignited in Barbara a passion for travel. Her undergraduate experience also exposed Barbara to other faiths and resulted in her lifelong exploration of other belief systems and faiths. 

After college, she taught first grade in New York State for three years, before moving to Denver, Colorado, to be closer to her brother and his family. While she loved the beauty of Colorado, what she loved even more was getting to know her brother’s family.  

During Barbara’s two years in Colorado, she worked as a therapist at the National Jewish Hospital and Aurora Mental Health. She also earned her Master’s of Social Work at the University of Denver. 

When Barbara returned to Pennsylvania, she lived in Media and became the Director of the Department for Chronically Mentally Ill in the Media Mental Health Clinic. Subsequently, she worked in private practice as a psychotherapist. Eventually, she became the Bereavement Coordinator for Delaware Hospice, where she remained for more than 20 years.  After Barbara’s retirement from Delaware Hospice, she worked part-time supervising therapists at a local community health program. Around this same time, Barbara started selling antiques and collectibles from a stall at Olde Ridge Village. After that building was repurposed, Barbara moved her business to the Strasburg Antique Market, where she remained until recently.

Barbara was known for her curiosity, her spunk, and her determination to live independently. In her younger days, she loved to hike and take photos. She was an artist and had a flare for fashion. Her keen interest in antiquities was matched by her love of genealogy.  To many Swarthmoreans, Barbara was a familiar sight--a strikingly tall woman walking throughout Swarthmore with her equally tall bamboo hiking stick. Barbara was an active member of the Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association, serving on its Sunshine Committee for several years.

Her skills as a social worker remained until the very end. After she moved to Chestnut Ridge, she was often found talking to fellow residents, assessing their needs and offering advice. The day before she died, while lying in her hospital bed, she gave her visitor advice on how to help a grieving relative. 

Barbara is survived by her cousin, Dennis L. Oberholtzer of Paradise, PA, her nieces, Ruth Artes of Golden, CO, Coleen Crews of Aurora, CO, and Irene Landers of Westminster, CO, her nephew, Michael William Alexander of Spring, TX, and many grandnieces and grandnephews. In September, her family will be holding a memorial for Barbara in Colorado.


Barbara was predeceased by her parents and her brother.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Delaware Hospice by telephone (855-DHI-GIVE), by mail (630 Churchmans Road, Suite 200 Newark, DE 19702) or online (https://delawarehospice.org/donate/).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Ann Bernhardt, please visit our flower store.

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