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Mommy
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David Samuel Barr
2017-09-10 03:57:15 UTC
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Published in The Rivertowns Enterprise, 8 September 2017
A shorter version appeared in The New York Times, 2 & 3 September 2017


Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.

Born in Manhattan on February 17, 1931, Rhoda graduated from Hunter
College High School and graduated at the top of her class in the first
full class of Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor
Relations. She also earned an MBA from NYU.

Rhoda was beloved throughout her community and far beyond for her
kindness, her generosity, and her enthusiastic optimism.

Rhoda was dedicated to helping people and institutions better serve
their communities. Her many works included a 25-year career in
non-profit board management with the Volunteer Consulting Group.
Organizations of all sizes and missions sought her out and valued her
advice. On one day, Rhoda might be found counseling the director of a
tiny non-profit training monkeys to aid the disabled; the next day she
might advise the board of a worldwide relief and development
organization. All of them told Rhoda their problems and valued her
wisdom and guidance.

Rhoda was the founding director of the Hastings Youth Employment
Service, a program she began in the 1970s and that still prospers.
Through YES, she helped hundreds of young people enter the workforce for
the first time. Hastings alumni still talk about their first jobs, not
only as party aides or office staff, but more unusual work, like
assembling clocks or typing screenplays for a well-known TV soap opera.
At the invitation of the county, Rhoda created similar YES’s throughout
Westchester, then served as Deputy Director of the Private Industry
Council, creating and managing meaningful job training programs
throughout the county.

Rhoda cared deeply about Hastings as a community. She served for 34
years on the Hastings Planning Board (since 1983), including over 20
years as its Chair. Her approach was practical, not ideological. She
looked for solutions that would meet the community’s needs, allowing
healthy growth while preserving Hastings’ unique feel as a small
village. Rhoda valued each person’s perspective and looked for ways to
help people reach agreement.

Rhoda also cared about Hastings’ civic life, helping found the Hastings
chapter of the League of Women Voters, and serving as one of its first
Presidents in the 1960s. When she retired, at age 82, she returned to
help revitalize the organization (now the League of Women Voters of the
Rivertowns), serving on its board.

Rhoda was a founding member of Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings. From the
beginning, she helped set a tone that made the temple welcoming to all,
and she helped make sure the temple would maintain that spirit as it
grew from a tiny congregation to a large, well-established institution.

Rhoda was ever curious about people and the world, and endlessly
generous with her time, her resources, and her affection. Above and
beyond her professional contributions, she generously shared her time,
wisdom, and understanding with so many people who viewed her as their
mentor and loved her as their friend.

A funeral service was held at Temple Beth Shalom on September 3.
Visiting was at her home in Hastings on September 3-5, and at her
daughter’s home in Queens on September 6-7. In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made in Rhoda’s name to the Hastings Public Library or
to Services for the Underserved (sus.org).
c***@aol.com
2017-09-10 04:42:42 UTC
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Mommy? Jesus Christ. Are you 12?
Jim Macey
2017-09-10 20:24:38 UTC
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On 9/9/2017 9:57 PM, David Samuel Barr wrote:

snip
Post by David Samuel Barr
A funeral service was held at Temple Beth Shalom on September 3.
Visiting was at her home in Hastings on September 3-5, and at her
daughter’s home in Queens on September 6-7.  In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made in Rhoda’s name to the Hastings Public Library or
to Services for the Underserved (sus.org).
I remember your name from postings in this group for about twenty
years, now. Sincere condolences on the death of your mother.

Jim...in New Mexico
Sarah Ehrett
2017-09-10 20:33:11 UTC
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On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
Alfalfa Bill
2017-09-11 07:51:43 UTC
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Post by Sarah Ehrett
On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
It sounds like your mother was a marvelous woman. I'm sorry for your loss.
Kenny McCormack
2018-01-01 13:21:54 UTC
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Post by Sarah Ehrett
On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
How can a 59 year old person have been a wife for 65 years?

I mean, I've heard of marrying young, but ???
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Rick B.
2018-01-01 22:03:03 UTC
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Post by Kenny McCormack
Post by Sarah Ehrett
On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
How can a 59 year old person have been a wife for 65 years?
59-year resident, not 59-year-old resident.
Kenny McCormack
2018-01-01 22:12:13 UTC
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Post by Rick B.
Post by Kenny McCormack
Post by Sarah Ehrett
On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
How can a 59 year old person have been a wife for 65 years?
59-year resident, not 59-year-old resident.
OK. Since obits usually list the age of the decedent, I read the text as
saying she was 59 (when she died).
--
The last time a Republican cared about you, you were a fetus.
MJ Emigh
2018-01-01 23:18:59 UTC
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Post by Kenny McCormack
OK. Since obits usually list the age of the decedent, I read the text as
saying she was 59 (when she died).
First time I've typed LOL and really meant it! I thought Kenny was kidding when he made the original comment. No idea he was serious.

Oh, well; no disrespect meant. We all make a few embarrassing mistakes if we live long enough. For one to result in hearty laughter is a positive. A big positive. Thank you for the laugh, Kenny, and please do NOT see anything negative in it.

Shouldn't there be some kind of annual Yogi Berra Award for things like that?
David Samuel Barr
2018-01-02 03:33:54 UTC
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Post by Kenny McCormack
Post by Rick B.
Post by Kenny McCormack
Post by Sarah Ehrett
On Sat, 9 Sep 2017 23:57:15 -0400, David Samuel Barr
Post by David Samuel Barr
Rhoda Barr, a 59-year resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Sept. 1,
after a brief illness. She was the loving wife of Martin for 65 years,
beloved mother of David, Cynthia, and Brooke (Bruce Knight), doting
grandmother of Matthew Knight, and daughter of Murray and Lola Ratner.
Sorry about your Mum , David. Condolences to you and your family.
How can a 59 year old person have been a wife for 65 years?
59-year resident, not 59-year-old resident.
OK. Since obits usually list the age of the decedent, I read the text as
saying she was 59 (when she died).
Actually, Mommy would have been very amused by
Kenny's question. When I turned 50 she was
asking everyone how she could have a son that
age when she was only 39. She was never vain,
though, especially about her age, but when she
turned 85 she was adamant about not having that
age highlighted so we pretended she was 58
instead [inverting the digits, in case that
wasn't obvious]; she was 86 when she died, so
on that basis, yes, she was 59 as Kenny read it.
Obviously, this version of the obit, written
for our hometown paper, first points to her
longtime residency there before addressing her
chronological age. (And to be perfectly
accurate, she died just 17 days before their
65th anniversary, but we weren't going to go
for that level of precision here.)

One thing I did notice after this was published
that might have raised questions like Kenny's,
though, was that in following the NY Times
convention of putting the names of surviving
relatives' spouses in parentheses after their
names it now looks like instead of being the
name of her husband "(Bruce Knight)" is another
name for my sister Brooke, as if she had
undergone a change of gender.

And, by the way, Mommy always turned to the
obits first when she read the papers, since
she liked to read stories about people. She
would have enjoyed this group (at least the
on-topic material).

Diner
2017-09-11 12:57:13 UTC
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Nice to read about someone who worked to make the world a little better.
Condolences on your loss, David.
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