Our beloved mother, grandmother, and aunt, Barbara Oberhard Epstein, 94, passed away from natural causes with family by her bedside in Scottsdale, AZ on March 12, 2021.
Born in Newport, RI, in 1927, the daughter of Mildred and Gustave Oberhard, Barbara was a long-time resident in Newport and was active in the community and a leader of many organizations.
After graduating from Rogers High School Class of 1944, Barbara attended Pembroke College, Brown University, Class of 1948, where she met her beloved husband Herbert, Class of 1949. Barbara worked for two years as a social worker at the Dept. of Social Welfare in Providence after graduating and then married Herbert in 1950. Together they moved to NYC where Herbert worked in his father’s business. In 1953, following the birth of their first child, they moved back to Newport where they joined Barbara’s father’s business, Max Oberhard, Naval and Civilian Outfitters. Over the years, both enjoyed traveling the world including a trip on The Orient Express.
After her husband Herbert passed away in 1984, she managed and then sold the business in 1986. Barbara then reconnected with her high school classmate, Zalman Newman, who has been with her enjoying life filled with music, traveling, and entertaining family and friends ever since.
As with her parents, the Navy was a second family. Barbara was a Trustee Emeritus and Life Member of the Naval War College Foundation and was a member of the Board of the Newport Council Navy League. Barbara served as the first woman Trustee of Bank Newport (1985-2002), Trustee of Newport Hospital, served as Chairman of the Newport Public Housing Authority (1986-2002), Advisory Committee member, RI Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Board member, Child and Family Services, Director of Stop Over Services and like her father and husband, became a member of the Newport Rotary Club. In addition, Barbara was an active member of the Jewish community, serving as a Board member of both Touro Synagogue and The Touro Synagogue Foundation, a past Board member of Jewish Alliance of RI, and a Life member of Hadassah. Ever true to Brown University, Barbara served as a President of her 1948 class, a Director of the Associated Alumni and is a past President of the Newport County Brown Club. As a woman’s advocate, Barbara was a President of the Newport County Chapter and State President of the American Association of University Women, and the 1986 Honoree of the AAUW Educational Foundation. Opposed to gambling, Barbara was a Board Member of Citizens Concerned About Casino Gambling.
Barbara is survived by her companion, Zalman Newman, Scottsdale, AZ, her three children, David (wife Tamara) NYC/Princeton, NJ, Frederick (Rick) (wife Mitzi) Tempe, AZ, and Deborah Reissmann (husband Ned) Moorestown, NJ, and her five grandchildren Tyler, Sam, Hannah, Danny and Avery.
A graveside service will be held Thursday, March 18 at Beth Olam Cemetery, 181 Wyatt Rd, Middletown, RI at 11:00 AM. Her children will hold a celebration of life later in the year.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Touro Synagogue Foundation, 85 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840. Online donation at the following link: Touro Synagogue Foundation Donation. Information about the Foundation can be found at: Touro Synagogue Foundation