Barbara Lou Davidson was 91-years-old when she breathed her last on All Hollow’s Eve. Her husband of 68 years, Don Q. Davidson, comforted her tirelessly through her final night and hours. A prayer vigil of her devoted and beloved church family prayed over her irrepressible spirit until she peacefully passed out of her body.
Barbara was born March 19, 1927 to Bertha Mae Gebo and Louis Henry Ingwersen in Oakland California when her award-winning art director father was sent by J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency from Chicago to open its Bay Area office.
Barbara grew up on the North Shore of Chicago, with her two brothers, Robert and James, and their Llewellin setter, Major. She graduated from New Trier Township High School. Barbara went on to study at Monticello Seminary for Women in Godfrey, Illinois and Frances Harrington’s Institute of Interior Design in Chicago.
She met Don when he was a student of organ and choral music at Northwestern and rented a room in her mother’s home in Evanston. In no time, the two developed a secret code by knocking on the floor that divided them. They were married at Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois in 1950.
Barb loved that Don’s professional career began in Chicago at the Boulevard Room as a singer for Wayne King and his Orchestra. They agreed show business wasn’t the way to raise their first family of three girls and Barb became the consummate homemaker and hostess while Don worked 25 years for the leading women’s magazines of the 20th century, Ladies’ Home Journal. Barb embodied their motto, “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman.” They were transferred from Chicago to Minneapolis and back again, and then to New York in 1968, which is when they settled in Wilton, Connecticut.
In 1975, after their girls had left the nest, Barb and Don adopted their two grandsons and began their second family. When Don retired from magazine publishing, he took up cabinet making and worked under Barb’s astute direction in her interior design business.
Barb freelanced her entire adult life, lending her prodigious talents to clients, to friends, to the Flower Guild at St. Matthews where she worshipped for fifty years, and in more recent years, as a volunteer of the Women’s Board of Norwalk Hospital, designing the windows for their Norwalk thrift store known as Treasure House. She was a dynamo in this position throughout her eighties. It brought her full circle back to her days after college when she partnered with two gals in Evanston, Illinois to merchandise and paint handcrafts for their gift store, the Yucca Shop.
Barbara was exuberant, like a spectacular cultivar. She liked nothing more than to while away the hours in her garden. Gardening brought peace into Barb’s world and the satisfaction of seeing the result of one’s labor grow and flourish. She experienced great solace in nurturing living things. Sharing her homes and gardens with family and friends brought a richness and fullness to her life.
Barbara was the most optimistic person even in the darkest times; her vibrant smile and hearty laughter uplifted all who loved her. Barbara’s perseverance through adversity is a powerful lesson for us, and it is her legacy. She demonstrated unparalleled strength and wisdom through her life, even when facing cancer bravely and head on.
Just days before she died and turned her embrace to the three children, other beloved relatives, and her inner circle of friends of all ages who predeceased her, Barb was dressed elegantly, joking around, beautiful and gracious, in relationship and clear thinking.
She is survived by her husband, Don Q. Davidson, her son Christopher Davidson, her daughter Karen Davidson Seward, her son-in-law Peter Seward, her brother James J. Ingwersen, and a spectacular array of friends and their children from all parts of her life.
A dear friend writes, “Faith, family, friendship, character, generosity, compassion, comfort. She gave freely. She was a people magnet because of her warm spirit and broad smile. And when she got those creative juices going and worked her designer magic, watch out!”
Please hold a thought of gratitude, a mere moment in the light of Barbara’s love, and join us at a service in her memory at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 36 New Canaan Rd in Wilton on November 11th, 2018 at one o’clock in the afternoon. The Rector, the Rev. Marissa Rohrbach will preside and all are welcome. A reception will follow to share the joy she brought to our lives.
In her memory, please take all your wonderful second hand things to Treasure House to benefit Norwalk Hospital. Donations in Barbara’s honor to support the Flower Guild at St. Matthew’s may be made out to St. Matthew’s with “Barbara Davidson” noted in the memo line.