- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

Isabelle O. Barr, 89, nursery school founder

Isabelle Ogilby Barr of Chevy Chase, a second-generation Washingtonian and founder of the nursery school Barbelle Creative Center for Children in Kensington, died June 18 of pneumonia at the Washington Home Hospice. She was 89.

Mrs. Barr was born in the District. She was raised in one of the first homes built in Chevy Chase Village, a house designed for her family by the architect Arthur B. Heaton.

As a young girl, she held classes for preschoolers in her Chevy Chase neighborhood and, after attending college, worked as a volunteer at Children’s Hospital.

Mrs. Barr graduated from the Potomac School and the Madeira School in Northern Virginia and attended Sweet Briar College.

In 1940, she married John L. Barr Jr. shortly before his deployment in World War II as a Navy officer and captain of a subchaser, the USS Eagle 56.

After World War II, the Barrs moved to Rock Creek Hills in Kensington. Mrs. Barr purchased property on Capital View Avenue to found the Barbelle Creative Center for Children.

Mrs. Barr ran the nursery school for about 30 years until the school closed in 1978. She continued to maintain friendships with many of her graduates and their parents for years.

Early in her life, Mrs. Barr began collecting children’s toys and books, especially antiques and vintage stuffed animals. When she retired, she donated much of her collection to the town of Kensington, where it was displayed for many years in the Town Hall. She and her husband moved back to Chevy Chase in 1996.

In addition to her lifelong interest in children and antique toys, Mrs. Barr enjoyed classical music, gardening and sailing. As a teenager, she raced small boats competitively during summers in Gloucester, Mass., and later she and her husband sailed for pleasure on the Chesapeake Bay in their Tartan 27, the Windsong.

Mrs. Barr was a member of Christ Church in Kensington and the Chevy Chase Club.

Her husband of 59 years, John L. Barr Jr., died in 2000. Her son, Dr. John L. Barr III, died in 2004.

She is survived by a daughter, Margaret Barr Eastman of Chevy Chase; and two grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are by DeVol Funeral Home in Georgetown.


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