Barbara Converse Johnson, 53, of Halcottsville died Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008 at her family’s home in Roxbury, and with her passing goes a loving, vibrant spirit. Born July 6, 1955 in Bronxville, she grew up in Rye, a daughter of Stephen Hardy and Mary Booth Johnson. A member of a family of nautical adventurers, Barbara was naturally drawn to boats and the sea, but found love and purpose in the Catskills where she lived with her partner, Carl Pickhardt, for the past 18 years.
Barbara attended Rye High School, Smith College, Cornell University and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, earning an MBA which she put to exceptional use in the financial industry in New York City.
Relocating to Margaretville in the late 1980s, she cultivated a second career in the healing arts and directed much of her energy to women’s wellness issues. She opened a Swedish and sports massage practice (BodyWorx), became a licensed Feldenkreis practitioner, and assisted many friends and associates as a life and business coach.
Barbara was very active in her adopted community and was known as a tireless volunteer. She was a former member of the board of the Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce, and a founder and past president of the Catskill Women’s Network. As a member of the fledgling Halcottsville Fire Department Auxiliary, she organized its successful first-ever festival in 2007 to raise funds for the restoration of the old Grange Hall.
She was an avid figure skater in younger days. She also took great pleasure in gardening. Before her illness, Barbara worked with the CROP after-school program at Roxbury Central School, where she was responsible for planning and implementing a garden to teach children the art and science of growing things.
A year abroad at the University of Madrid began Barbara’s lifelong love of travel, including a summer in remote McCarthy, Alaska, a trip to Peru, and a cross-country bicycle expedition with her brothers in 1984. In 2005 she fulfilled a long held dream of sailing in the South Pacific when she journeyed from Nova Scotia to Bali as a member of the crew aboard the Barque Picton Castle.
She is remembered fondly by her shipmates, and by all who knew her for her quick smile, loud laugh and buoyant personality which persisted through the hardest parts of her 11-month battle with brain cancer.
Barbara was predeceased by her father in 2006. She is survived by her partner, Carl Pickhardt and his son, Erik Galusha-Pickhardt; her mother, of Ithaca; a sister, Edith W. Johnson of Ithaca; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Karl and Julie Johnson of Ithaca and David and Mary Johnson of Freeville and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
A gathering to remember and celebrate Barbara’s life will be held at a date to be announced.
Memorial contributions may be made to Catskill Area Hospice, 1 Birchwood Dr., Oneonta, NY 13820; to Roxbury Central School, Att: CROP Garden Fund, 53729 State Highway 30, Roxbury, NY 12474; to the Los Angeles Maritime Institute, Berth 84, Foot of 6th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731; or the US Figure Skating Memorial Fund, 20 First St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80906.
Arrangements are by the Miller Funeral Home, Roxbury.