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1914-2012 BRATTLEBORO Barbara Dirks, 97 passed away Wednesday Oct.24, 2012 at Pine Heights Nursing Home, Brattleboro.
She lived an interesting life as an educator, a leader in international training, a Red Cross volunteer, an administrator, and a supporter of arts and music.
Born in New York City in 1914 to Rudolf and Helen Dirks, she and her brother John were part of a family that anchored an artists and writers colony in Ogunquit ME and NYC. Her father, and then her brother wrote and illustrated the carton, "Katzenjammer Kids", known later as "The Captain and the Kids"
Barbara graduated from Smith College in 1936 and maintained a lifelong interest in college. She was a Red Cross volunteer during WWII and served in New Zealand and other Pacific areas. After the war, she taught at Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC, and began leading summer groups of students for the Experiment in International Living. Her first group went to Finland. After joining the staff at the Experiment in 1957she moved in 1959 to San Francisco where she served as the EIL office director. Approached by Lewis and Clark College to set up collaborative programs, she led semester groups to Japan. Returning to Vermont in 1965, she carried out special assignment for the Experiment's School for International Training. This included training Peace Corps groups for Korea, Kenya, Marianas Islands and another stint in San Francisco. She was awarded an honorary master of arts in teaching degree from SIT.
When most of her peers were retiring, Barbara took on the job of Resident Director of International House in Washington DC, where she worked for 12 years before retiring and returning to Brattleboro in 1994. As a retiree, she remained active in civic and cultural affairs. She was a member of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro Music Center and regularly participated in World Learning Activities. Contributions in her memory may be sent to these organizations or a
After a purposeful life full of humor, dignity and service, Barbara is remembered fondly by all who knew her. A gathering of friends will take place at a later date.
Arrangements are in care of Ker-Westerlund Funeral and Cremation Service, Brattleboro.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Oct. 26, 2012