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Barbara Bogardus Covey


1924 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barbara Bogardus Covey Obituary
September 8, 1924 - May 4, 2018 Barbara B. Covey died peacefully of natural causes in her beloved Three Arch Bay home at sunset, overlooking the Pacific In Laguna Beach, CA, surrounded by generations of loving descendants who watched their matriarch pass perfectly from life. The first baby born at Hollywood Hospital, little Barbara Bogardus lived in Beverly Hills as daughter of Elsa Berry and Edward Francis Bogardus, Jr. and cherished granddaughter of early unofficial mayor E.F. Bogardus, Sr. and socialite Grace Stevens Bogardus. Brilliant, bold and beautiful, Barbara attended Washington State University at 16, proud of being Kappa Alpha Theta AND a whiz at calculus. It was on the train to Pullman that she met the dashing Navy photographer and future travel documentary filmmaker Keith MacKenzie Covey, to whom she was married for 54 years, parenting three capable daughters who inherited her joy of adventure, music, culture, camping, contribution and heritage. But while her grandfathers were doctors, philanthropists, and real estate moguls, Barbara's female role model was her exceptional maternal grandmother Rae Selling Berry (wife of A.C.U. Berry, a British engineer raised in India), whose passionate interest in plants and exotic travel yielded the Berry Botanic Garden in Portland-one of the most important seed banks in the world. Girl Scouting gave Barbara an unshakable belief in the ability of girls to make their own decisions, women to lead and gain the skills to do anything they want in life. In 1959, she also learned the guitar from Bess Lomax Hawes and led 10,000 Girl Scouts in the relatively unknown "This Land is Your Land" at the national Roundup (before it was popularized during the 60s Folk Revival), later taking her first troop all over Europe for the summer of 1963--a revolutionary concept at the time. Starting her trailblazing career in 1964 at Encino Hospital, then moving to Queen of Angels in Hollywood, Barbara combined her Girl Scout leadership with sharp political acumen, achieving national prominence by professionalizing hospital volunteer efforts, ensuring that Directors of Volunteer Services (DVS) had pay parity with other essential hospital executives. As the DVS at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood, she doubled the volunteer force and boosted fundraising by 500%, and was active at all levels of professional organizations. While serving as President of the American Society of Directors of Volunteers Services (ASDVS)/American Hospital Association, President Jimmy Carter congratulated Barbara for her leadership and contributions to volunteerism in America, and for her mentorship of those who followed in her footsteps. In her personal life, Barbara and Keith Covey loved to take their girls camping in the High Sierras, and host grandkids at the rustic family cabin in Southern Utah. From seeing Odetta and big bands to Willie Nelson and the gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, "Barb" was also a great fan of live music. For decades, she also fearlessly explored the globe, often with her Laguna-based artist mother, Elsa Berry Reid, and friend Mary Nelson as they trekked through remote Bhutan, China, Africa and India, as well as enjoying countless international cruises together. She is pre-deceased by husband Keith and brother, Ted Bogardus, and is survived by daughters Wendy Covey Free and husband John Free of Tujunga; Nancy Covey of Pacific Palisades, Dee Covey and husband James Long of Austin, TX and Arlington, VA, grandchildren Scott Free, Heather Free and husband Jason Allen, Megan Gleason and husband Lawrence Gleason, and Jack Covey Thompson, great-grandchildren Charlotte and Addie Free, Cooper and Mackenzie Gleason, niece Victoria Mulvaney and her family, and her black Siamese cat, Beau. Embracing the Girl Scout motto "Be Prepared" to the end, Barbara's ashes will be interred in the Bogardus family plot at Forest Lawn in Glendale at 10am on Saturday, May 26th. Friends and family are welcome to join the informal graveside service. The family wishes to thank her Three Arch Bay neighbors and the caregiving team who made it possible for Barb to live beautifully on her own terms until her final quiet breath.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from May 18 to May 20, 2018
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