Barbara Lois Gardien, age 93, died on Saturday, April 23, in Washington, D.C.
Barbara was born Sept. 17, 1928, in Birmingham, Ala., to Lois Watlington Gardien and Edmund Nicholas Gardien. She was educated in local schools and earned a degree from Auburn University.
Barbara led a long and interesting life. She worked in the early 1950s in graphic design for Dr. Werner von Braun at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., preparing the visuals for von Braun’s presentations to Congress on the then-developing space program. Later, she worked in graphic design in San Francisco, and finally, in Washington, D.C., in city planning, graphic design and real estate.
She filled her home with art that she created, that she bought, and that was given to her by artist friends. She enjoyed traveling across the U.S. (and was proud to have visited every state) and, with her niece Carol, toured Italy, England, France and Greece. She visited friends and family in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia. She was a lifelong learner, attending classes at the University of the District of Columbia until her 90th year.
She always forged her own path and inspired many along her way. She was strong, creative, intelligent and funny. Her family and many friends will miss her.
Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her sister Carol Gardien Trimble, her brother-in-law Fred Trimble and her brother Edmund N. Gardien Jr.
She is survived by her nieces in Maine: Carol Trimble (George Orzel) of Lamoine and Claudia Luchini (Andy) of Ellsworth; and nephew Rick Trimble (Jacky) of Alden, Mich.; and by the children and grandchildren of Carol, Claudia and Rick. Barbara is also survived by a cousin who was like another sister to her, Carolyn Deramus Cumbie of Verbena, Ala., and Carolyn’s children. In addition, Barbara is survived by her longtime, devoted friends Margaret Lewis and Steve Fesler, who enriched her life for many years and who helped her through her final, difficult months with love and care.
Barbara was a strong advocate for social justice causes, especially the rights of women. Donations in her memory can be made to Emily’s List at emilyslist.org. Donations can also be made to Palisades Village at palisadesvillage.org, an organization that supported Barbara in living as independently as possible in her final years.
A private burial will be held in Birmingham, Ala.