1978 - 2021
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ERICKSON, Barbara Visionary trailblazer leaving a legacy of people and places in Boston and New England On the sunniest moment of Friday, January 15, 2021 Barbara Erickson, of Newton and Chatham, transitioned peacefully at home surrounded by her "trio of light," her partner in life, Peter Torrebiarte and their two children, Lucia and Marcelo Torrebiarte, after 4 years living with a rare cancer of the appendix. Barbara was inspired through life by a wide circle of friends and family, including her beautiful parents, Arnold and Dixie Erickson; a sister, Bonnie Jardee and her husband Ivan; a brother, Mark Erickson and his partner Lindsey; two step-children, Alejandro Torrebiarte and Gabriel Torrebiarte; her mother and father-in-law, Adela Torrebiarte and Luis Pedro Torrebiarte; a sister-in-law, Ines Torrebiarte and her husband Gustavo Bolanos; seven nieces and nephews; and the cutest pup to ever live, Rocket. Barbara grew up in the wild west of Wyoming, where her inquisitive, highly social personality and passion for outdoors blossomed. She enjoyed an exceptional career in non-profit work, supporting some of the most visible, including American Cancer Society and Boys & Girls Clubs, before serving as an Executive of the largest children charity in the world, Save the Children, and joining the nation's first conservation charity, The Trustees of Reservations, as its first female President in 2012. She was most proud of growing the scope and scale of the charity's work: more than doubling its size in under ten years, making it one of the ten largest charities in the state by assets; focusing its work on where people live, including an attention on growing impact in Boston; developing its educational program which reached over 250,000 annually; and securing & transforming some of its most iconic properties including deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (Lincoln), Naumkeag (Stockbridge), and Crane Estate (Ipswich). She was awarded the distinguished Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal by the Garden Club of America in 2017, named Conservationist of the Year by Northshore Magazine in 2017, and was named in the Commonwealth Institute's Annual Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts survey for seven consecutive years. Barbara received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Westfield State University for her work to advance women leadership in the environment and a BA, English from Northern Arizona University. She loved working to open new cultural and natural spaces for the public to enjoy and took heart that so many were reawakened to nature and its significance during the pandemic. She was an explorer in all ways and lived a vibrant and purpose-filled life, traveling to 50 countries. From East Africa to Central America, she found beauty in the spirit of people to push forward in the most adverse circumstances, which she drew upon in her own health battle. She was most disappointed that she never made it to India and that she passed before she could experience Africa through the eyes of her children. It was this love of travel and culture that introduced her to Peter Torrebiarte, a soul she was blessed to spend 12 years with and ultimately it was her family they created that we saw her at her most joyful and content. She grieved much that time with her soulmate was being cut short and found peace in knowing they fiercely honored the present over their time. Barbara met many celebrities and notable figures in her short life, and yet none were as interesting to her as a Friday night with Peter and her children. She found immeasurable joy in the title of Mama and was delighted that she could hold on long enough to celebrate double-digit birthdays for both kids. Lucia taught her great empathy and she adored Marcelo's mathematical talents. Leaving her children was her greatest grief, one she could never accept and leaves the largest hole. Marcelo requested she return as rain and Lucia, the stars. She was an avid reader, could remember strange facts, valued wit and human decency, and was a great a dancer as a home cook. She truly lived her life always and we saw her seize all kinds of moments despite numerous chemotherapies and surgeries, including climbing Macchu Picchu in her third year of cancer. Nature, specifically the coast, brought enormous healing and peace to Barbara throughout her life and even in her waning months, her sly smile would return when on the sand or in the water. While her spirit roamed free of this material world on January 15th, it will always be found in the salt and sea, look for her there. The family has asked for Private Services to appropriately nurture Lucia and Marcelo; a larger gathering will take place at a later date. The physical Barbara was in the peak of her career, therefore in lieu of flowers the family asks, instead, for contributions to the children's college funds directly to their 529c at or (either link will go to both children).

View the online memorial for Barbara ERICKSON

Published in Boston Globe from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
January 29, 2021
Although I only worked for The Trustees as summer help, I was lucky enough to go to the Crane Estate outing. I was very impressed by Barbara. Her generosity, professionalism, her happy outlook on life. My sympathy goes out to her family.
Vicki Gamage
January 27, 2021
Deepest Sympathy to the family, friends and co-workers past and present. I have good memories of a cute little blond girl bounding into Girl Scouts sharing her smiles and enthusiasm. So proud of your successes Barbie. Sounds like you have left an amazing mark of your Love. Rest in Peace. Karla Oksanen ( Old Girl Scout Leader)
Karla Oksanen
January 23, 2021
Fee from pain and forever an Angel watching over her family. What a wonderful role model for all!
Jennifer Gum ( Looney)
January 23, 2021
Immeasurably sorry to hear of her passing. I will feel her spirit when I visit a Trustees property. In fact, heading to Bartholomew’s Cobble today and will remember her stewardship of these priceless properties. Condolences to her family and all who knew, worked with, and, most importantly, loved her.
Meg Begley
January 22, 2021
I am really sorry to hear about her passing though I never knew her. We use the Trustees often and she was always the face of the organization. Please accept my condolences. My heart goes out to her husband and children.
January 22, 2021
an example of an extraordinary person. I sit in awe and admiration of the rare mix of native talent, intelligence, and spirit that culminated in a life that created a brilliant path. I never knew her. I miss her on this Earth.
Steve Pattyson
January 22, 2021
I do not know Barbara nor did she know me, except as a member of the Trustees of Reservations. I am so grateful for her work for the Trustees, especially for Crane and Decordova being added, as these places nourish my soul.
May the rain and stars comfort and protect her children.
Beth from Groton
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