On February 2, 2020 Sheila (Lerman) Barth, age 78, of Beverly, succumbed to complications from pneumonia and peacefully entered into rest surrounded by her loving family, her pride and joy.
Sheila grew up in Portland Maine, and graduated with a degree in education from Gorham State Teachers College. She was an educator at all levels, from preschool through adult education for senior citizens. A natural nurturer, the lessons she taught her students went well beyond academia. Sheila brought learning to life with her insurmountable vibrancy and passion.
Following her career as an educator, Sheila spent decades in journalism as a reporter, feature writer, columnist, theater reviewer, and critic. She was an esteemed theater critic, reviewing more than 150 performances annually in recent years. As part of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of NE) as both a reviewer and committee member, she fervently supported local theater. She was also a highly-respected critic for all theater, from large productions in Boston to local and regional performances. She was passionate about using her writing to keep local theater alive. Her writing was her voice to the world and it was a voice that carried far and wide. Her words had a profound effect on those about whom she wrote.
She was a true force of nature. Her personality was larger than life. She was a feisty spitfire. A fighter and advocate, a champion for whatever or whomever captured her passion. If she pursued something, nothing got in her way. Her high intellect and insatiable curiosity, coupled with her incredible listening skills, made her an agile and intriguing conversationalist.
When speaking with Sheila, she was always completely present. She was a selfless giver who put the needs of others before her own, always. She had an incredible ability to connect with people and to make others connect. It was arguably the strongest of her many superpowers.
Above all, her most cherished role was that of mother and “Nana.” Her pride for her family was felt by everyone she knew. She was never without hundreds of photos to share – of every accomplishment large or small that one of her children, children-in-law, or grandchildren achieved. She made each and every child and grandchild feel special in their own right. She was their greatest cheerleader, providing unending support in every way. If a grandchild had six performances a weekend, she would make sure that she and Richard would attend all six! Whether it was sports, theater, dance, or music, she would travel any distance to support her family – to California for a ballet performance, to Maryland for a football camp. Distance was simply no object. In the audience or the stands, there was never a question who she was there to see!
Sheila and her husband Richard were the true pillars of the family. Their love for each other was unending, unconditional, and unwavering. Throughout their 56 years of marriage, they shared an unparalleled love, respect, and admiration for one another. They were each other’s strength. In life and in death, they remained completely connected. Their beautiful love story finished this chapter with the comfort that they will never grieve each other, but instead enter their next chapter together.
Sheila was loved by so many people. She was the devoted wife of Richard S. Barth, who passed away five days after Sheila; the proud mother of Lisa Wolowacki and her husband Bill, Elana Turchon and her husband Dennis, Gary Barth and his wife Michelle, and Sara Kelley and her husband Peter; adored Nana of Cameron and Jacob Wolowacki, Gisele Turchon, Jacquie and Jamie Barth, and Eli and Anja Kelley; cherished daughter of the late Sara and Paul Lerman; loving sister of Ruth Cohen and the late Barbara Burd and Stuart Lerman; and the cherished aunt, cousin, and friend of an infinite number of people her life touched significantly.
A funeral service was held on February 9 at Temple B’Nai Abraham, Beverly. Interment followed the service at Newburyport Hebrew Cemetery, 10 Toll Road, Salisbury.
In accordance with the traditions of the Jewish faith, and given her passion for teaching and nurturing, we ask that you please not send flowers. Instead you may make a donation to an education-based charity in her name.
In addition, to honor her memory, we ask that everyone please conduct one intentional selfless act of kindness.
For more information or to register in the online guestbook, visit stanetskyhymansonsalem.com.