Born Barbara Kathleen Schroeder in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Barbara was raised in Cleveland Heights and attended Roxboro Elementary and Junior High Schools. She then graduated from Laurel School for Girls in Shaker Heights in 1958.
Barbara expressed an early interest in plants. Her dad took her on walks through the woods to dig up lilies-of-the-valley, jack-in-the-pulpits and may apples to create a small wildflower garden behind the family home.
She also had outstanding skills in sewing and tailoring. As a teenager she saw a photo of a Christian Dior gown on the cover of Paris Match, hand-drafted a pattern for the dress, and matched pieces of lace to create the couture look. She wore the dress to her senior prom.
Barbara attended Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, majoring in fashion design and retailing. She then worked at Franklin Simon Department Store in Shaker Heights, serving as store manager.
She met her husband, Richard Barger, at a party in Cleveland, and the two were married in 1963. Richard passed away in 2016.
After stops in Providence, Memphis, and Boston with the Sheraton Hotel Corporation, in 1969 Barbara and her young family settled in Beverly, Mass. She and Richard were active in several civic causes, including extensive work with Salem Children’s Hospital.
For the past 33 years, Barbara entertained and educated readers of the Beverly Times and Salem Evening News as the North Shore Gardener. Her regular columns combined seasonal planting tips with clever observations and social commentary.
Barbara’s love of plants and flowers was only equaled by her dedication to her cats.
Beyond Christy, her beloved kitty, Barbara is survived by her sister, Dr. Bethany Jones and her husband, Dr. Russel Jones of Falls Church, Va.
She is also survived by son, Christopher Barger, his wife, Rebecca Barger, and their two sons, Wolfgang and Maximilian, all of Dusseldorf, Germany; son, Scott Barger and his daughter, Ivette Nicole Barger of Beverly, Mass.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends support the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Mass., and/or Beverly Bootstraps of Beverly, Mass.
Published on  January 17, 2017