Barbara Jones Light Barbara was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The midwest never left her. Yes, she was bright - completed high school at sixteen - worked a year for tuition money and entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison where she studied interior design...and bridge. On graduating, she was employed by Milwaukee's top furniture store.|
Within two years Barbara and her best friend, Carol, piled into her turtle-backed Ford, Shamus, and headed to Denver. A couple of years later she drove Shamus alone to her promised land, San Francisco.
At W & J Sloane she soon became their most productive woman designer. She never pushed a client into a sale. Her tastes ran to classic, timeless works of high quality. She had an uncommon gift for flare and style.
Loyalty, high energy and memorable parties defined her. She retained close friendships from high school, college, work, bridge, her book group, past clients, her birthday group (a dozen women of a certain age who celebrate their birthdays by dining together in Bay Area restaurants), and guest house buddies from her first year in San Francisco. She entertained frequently with such verve and style that an invitation from Barbara was a command performance.
She met her husband, Jack, who survives her, at a Christmas Eve party. Their courtship was short and sweet. Their marriage was still strong after fifty-three years.
Barbara had the courage of her convictions. Her skills in design were unsurpassed. When she left her employment at W & J Sloane to set up her own design business, she continued to sow beauty, high style and comfort. She strived for perfection in so many ways her husband feared she might affront the gods.
Her health was in decline over the past several years. Finally, she had a fall in her beloved small Victorian home. She died with dignity, surrounded by family, without pain, in a loving and supportive environment. Barbara was a person like no other.
A memorial event will be announced soon.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 9, 2013