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Barbara Sloate Isgur ’63 and Trustee

A picture of Barbara Sloate Isgur

Barbara Sloate Isgur ’63, September 6, 2009, in Woodside, California, from cancer. Barbara, known to family and close friends as Missy, served with distinction on the Reed College board of trustees for 16 years (1993–2009). Her careful observation, wise counsel, energy, and dedication enhanced all aspects of the board's work. Her commitment to the college's rigorous education made her a strong leader on the Academic Affairs Committee where she served as a member and as chair (1995–2008).

Although she was not graduated from Reed, her Reed experience left a profound mark on her intellectual development. She later transferred to Columbia University, earned a BA in sociology, and continued in that field at New York University, where she completed a PhD. She was an instructor and research associate at New York University (1973–80) and an instructor at Brooklyn College (1974–77). In 1980, she began a career in investment banking, software development, and consulting. She retired in 1998 as senior vice president of Strategem, and served as a director of Activision Blizzard.

Husband Lee S. Isgur ’60 wrote: “She lived intensely and with passion, in defiance of the cancer that was diagnosed nearly seven years ago. She approached her death in the same manner that she lived: with grace, dignity, perceptive consideration of others, and a clear sense of purpose. Missy savored life, fully, widely and deeply. Her far-ranging intellect, inquisitiveness, and vitality set the tone and pace of our 48-year marriage. Her sense of aesthetics and refinement created beauty in our home and gardens. Missy's heart was especially evident in her love of landscape and flowers. She was a disciplined, adventurous and flawless cook. We traveled together, energized by her constant search for knowledge and new experiences.”

Reed president Colin Diver [2002–12] noted: “Barbara was a determined and talented woman, with an astonishing array of knowledge and interests. She was an expert chef, discerning collector, indefatigable landscape designer and artist, and a voracious reader. Many who knew Lee and Barbara well always made a point of visiting their home in the spring to view the spectacular display of more than 7,000 tulips emerging from her garden and a small army of pots. Her fellow trustees are particularly grateful for her stalwart service and unfailing good humor as she battled illness in recent years. Despite severe health challenges, Barbara made extraordinary efforts to attend board meetings. Through the grace with which she carried out her life, she touched so many and made important contributions to the work of the board and the success of the college. We will miss her.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2010

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