Barbara Grado Devir passed away March 20 at her home in Ossining, New York after a brief illness.
Barbara was born on November 11, 1945 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to the late Angelo John Grado and Justine Johnson Grado. She attended New York City public schools, graduating from Bay Ridge High School in 1962, and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in economics from Barnard College in 1966 and a master's degree in education from the City University of New York in 1971.
After a brief stint on Wall Street, she changed careers and found her first true calling as a classroom teacher. She spent her earliest years as an educator in the public schools of New York City and Cold Spring, NY, and after a brief hiatus giving birth to her daughters, Megan and Kate, went on to a 30-year career in the public elementary schools of Peekskill. She worked first as a classroom teacher and then designed and implemented enrichment programs for gifted students, eventually expanding the program to incorporate all students in the city's four elementary schools. She also served as faculty adviser to the Peekskill High School Exchange Club, escorting several groups of students on homestay exchanges in Asahikawa, Japan.
After retiring from teaching in 2002, Barbara and her husband moved to Ossining, NY and she began her new career and found her second calling, becoming a lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church. Her ministry included serving on the staff of Scarborough Presbyterian Church, officiating at weddings and funerals, and instructional and worship duties at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility. She volunteered at the Ossining Food Pantry, served on the board of directors of the Friends of Siloam Mission School in Haiti and most recently organized a group of local volunteers to work on hurricane relief with Stronger Than Maria in Aguada, Puerto Rico.
Barbara's love of friends, family, service and community permeated the many activities she pursued, and she was seldom content to be confined to any one sphere, finding intersections and connections among all parts of her life and those around her. She is survived by countless dear friends, by her husband, Richard Devir of Ossining, by two daughters, Kate of Sound Beach and husband Matthew Dawber, Megan of Brooklyn and husband Yuichi Seki, and three grandchildren, Eliza, Hazel, and Matilda Seki. A brother, Paul Grado, died earlier; three others, John, Frank, and Richard Grado survive.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for memorial contributions to the Friends of the Siloam School, P.O. Box 445, Lake Luzerne, NY 12846 (http://www.haitimissionschool.org)