Barbara Sternberg, the Grande Dame of the Evergreen arts community, dies at 92

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Local author/historian and long-time Evergreen resident, Barbara Edwards Sternberg, died peacefully in her Bergen Park home on July 15, 2016, just shy of her 93rd birthday.

Barbara and her husband, architect Eugene Sternberg (who preceded her in death in 2005), were community volunteers who donated much of their lives to local causes and helped to develop several cultural and civic organizations in the Evergreen area. Barbara and Eugene Sternberg wrote a book on Evergreen’s history, Evergreen: Our Mountain Community.

Barbara was involved in organizations that brought her much joy: bringing public art to Evergreen via “Art for the Mountain Community” and “Sculpture Evergreen”; welcoming gay and lesbian neighbors and friends through the establishment of a local PFLAG chapter; and realizing a long-term project close to her heart: recognizing the remarkable contributions of women in the west by writing the first biography of local pioneer and cultural maven, Anne Evans: Anne Evans — A Pioneer in Denver’s Cultural History: The Things That Last When Gold is Gone.

Until recently Barbara was still entertaining audiences of civic and historical organizations with her lively book presentations and discussions. In the last year of her life Barbara worked to complete her personal memoir, Through Windows of Poetry: The Poetry and Memoir of Barbara Edwards Sternberg, to be published posthumously.

Born in the small seaside town of Wallasey, Cheshire, England in 1923, Barbara Edwards graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in sociology. During WWII Barbara met Eugene Sternberg, a young architecture student, in Cambridge. After the war, in 1946, the couple immigrated to America via New York City where Barbara had secured a job at the British Embassy and Eugene had a teaching position at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Soon they were married and welcoming their first of five children.

In 1947 Eugene accepted a position in the new architectural school at Denver University. The Sternberg family moved to Denver where they lived in the small butler units provided for faculty by Denver University. As colleagues at DU the Sternbergs often traveled to the Truesdell Ranch in Evergreen with Vance Kirkland and William Sanderson (renowned Denver artists), where they spent the weekend painting all day and playing canasta all night. Barbara and Eugene fell in love with the beauty of the Colorado mountains which, reminded Eugene of the mountains of his youth in his native Czechoslovakia. It follows suit that before they even owned a home in Denver, the Sternbergs bought a five-acre parcel on Blue Creek Road where they built a small family cabin. Their growing family spent summers on Blue Creek until they moved into a log house along Upper Bear Creek in 1971 making Evergreen their year-round home. 

While teaching at DU and living in Denver the Sternbergs and other faculty members collaborated and bought a plot of land where they built a cooperative housing community; “Mile High Housing” was the first of its kind in the nation.

Barbara went on to get her masters degree in sociology from Denver University. She taught sociology at DU, Colorado Women’s College and Emily Griffith Technical College. As a writer/ author Barbara was a long-time member and former president of the Denver Women’s Press Club. In later life Barbara trained as a Jungian Therapist and enjoyed practicing in Denver and Evergreen for many years. 

Barbara Edwards Sternberg was a life-long student, a sociologist, an author, a poet, a teacher, a therapist, a feminist, a proud mountain area democrat, a community volunteer and organizer, a devoted daughter, wife and mother, a sister, a cousin, a loving aunt, granny, great-granny, and a cherished friend to many from all generations.

Barbara is survived by her five children: Elizabeth Schneider; Francesca Starr (Donna Naone); Patrick Sternberg (Terri Krug); John Sternberg (David Dickmann); Jennifer Boone (Casey), eight grandchildren: Drew Schneider (Jeanne); Jeffrey Schneider; Megan Boone-Witucki (John); Logan Boone; Kelsey Boone; Riley Boone; Zane Sternberg; Steele Sternberg (mother Elizabeth Steele), four great-grandchildren: Katelin Schneider; Daniel Schneider; Lucy Schneider; Quinlynn Witucki, a large extended family in both England and Kenya, and many friends who were like family to Barbara and whose friendship sustained her for much of her almost 93 years.

A celebration of Barbara’s life will be planned for the fall 2016. 

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