Barbara O’Neil Ross was born in 1931 in New York City to Viola (née Dotterer) and Henry Eli O’Neil. From Greenwich, Connecticut, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Barbara attended the wonderful John Burroughs School, which nurtured her talent for art. She spent two years at Vassar College before transferring to Stanford University, graduating in 1953.
Barbara taught in schools across three states, including the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. In 1967, Barbara married John Ross, a gregarious yankee with a passion for furniture-making and sailing. They lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for many years, where Barbara was active in the Cambridge Art Association. Her artwork and photographs frequently featured people and places in Colorado, where they spent summers living in the “Mod Lodge,” a trailer set on a parcel of land they acquired near Ruedi Dam.
Shortly after John died in 2002, Barbara moved to the Vi senior community in Palo Alto, California. She joined a singing group and led a vibrant community of talented artists. Barbara organized art exhibitions, had several solo shows, learned to use acrylics, and was honored with a retrospective of her own work. In 2020, she published the award-winning surreal art book, “Fooling with Mother Nature (A Small Book with Big Ideas)” to educate children about environmental concerns.
Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her husband and her older sister, Patricia O’Neil Fender (Bill) and is survived by her sister Anne O’Neil Dauer (Art), nephews Willie Fender and Christopher Dauer, nieces Susan Handwerk and Lesley Dauer, step-children Edie Parker and Caleb Ross and many loving step-grandchildren and grand nieces and nephews. Barbara was adored for her art projects with younger relatives, kindness, charm, whimsical imagination and quirky sense of humor.
A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held in the early summer.