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Barbara D. Pritchard, 78, passed away on May 25, 2022 at Hospicare in Ithaca, NY from complications associated with dementia, accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barbara was born in Pittsburg, Kan., to William C. Thompson Jr. and Mildred Thompson. She was raised in Artesia, N.M., and some of her most memorable early experiences were playing clarinet, working in her grandfather’s store, helping raise her three younger siblings while her mother earned a master’s degree, and spending a life-changing summer in Denmark during high school.
Barbara received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Art at the University of New Mexico. There she met Robert S. Pritchard, then a graduate student. They married in 1965, and Barbara worked at the UNM Law Library while Bob completed his PhD.
Shortly after their daughter Sara joined the family, they moved to Seattle for Bob’s career – driving their VW bus from New Mexico to Washington. Barbara was a dedicated primary caregiver, homemaker, PTA volunteer, and president of the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) School Parents’ Association, where Sara was a longtime student.
Barbara began volunteering at PNB Wardrobe in the mid-1980s, first sewing hooks and bars on new Symphony-in-C tutus. Soon she was working part-time and eventually became Assistant Wardrobe Mistress, a role she held until her retirement in 2017. PNB tours across the country and around the world—from New York City, Washington DC, and Alaska to Edinburgh, Istanbul, and Hong Kong—gave Barbara remarkable opportunities to travel that she cherished. She used to say that it was great having a job that paid you to travel! Barbara was also known for her tour packing abilities, which she credited to the “Thompson packing gene.”
Barbara was an avid gardener, rattling off the scientific names of dozens of plants and turning enormous piles of compost. She also loved birds, butterflies, and bees, as well as beloved pets and the animals at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. She had a wonderful sense of humor, great style and eyes that lit up when she laughed. Her hairdresser in Ithaca called her “a cool lady.”
Sara moved Barbara to Ithaca in 2018 to better support her through the tragic, horrific disease that is dementia.
Barbara is survived by her daughter Sara B. Pritchard (Ron LeCain) of Ithaca, NY; sister Marilyn (Maxime) Laville of Fontrieu, France; brother Bill (Myra) Thompson of Belen, N.M.; brother David (Lesley) Thompson of Park City, Utah; niece Alix and nephews Tim, Paul, Noah, Christopher, and Alexander; ex-husband Robert S. Pritchard; and longtime friends Larae Hascall, Sally Page, and Sherri Thompson. She was predeceased by her parents.
Sara thanks Drs. Howson, King, and especially Karnow; Hospicare, including amazing nurses and caregivers Amy, Christina, Cindy, Jenna, Julie, Lisa, Meenu, Nicole, Olivia, and Tina; Marta Guzman Cotto, Lisa Balloun, Ann Dolan, Kirsten Miller, Anna Osterhoudt, Jane Baker Segelken, and Lori Joseph; and the staff at Brookdale Sterling House and Clare Bridge, especially Catherine, Dawn, Heather, Jen C., Kieran, and Nico.