Barbara "Bara" L. (Lee) Bachmura

March 5, 1925March 8, 2021

Barbara “Bara” Lee Bachmura, 96, of Bloomington, reposed Monday. March 8, 2021 in her home. She was born March 5, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan to Kenneth Lee and Josephine Wrobel Lee.

Survivors include her daughter, Eva Joanne Kvaas (husband George Kvaas) of La Mesa, California, two grandchildren, Caroline F. Kvaas and David L. Kvaas of La Mesa; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank T. Bachmura, son, Rolf S. Bachmura, parents, Kenneth and Josephine; and three brothers, Dushan, John, and Edward Lee.

In 1955 Barbara married economist Frank Bachmura at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Granville, Ohio. She and her family lived in Nashville, Tennessee, Santiago, Chile, and Takoma Park, Maryland before coming to Bloomington in 1963.

Bara had a life-long association with art. When she was a high school student at Cass Tech in Detroit, she took private oil painting lessons with renowned portrait painter, Harold Hayward. She earned both BFA and MA degrees in art at Wayne University and Taught at Wayne University, as well as Saint Mary’s Hall in Faribault, Minnesota and Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Bara received a Fulbright grant to Norway for 1952-53. She lectured and exhibited paintings at home and abroad. She was also a former president of Arts and Letters.

In 1966 Barbara, along with her family, opened and ran Bloomington’s Children’s Museum for several years out of their E. Second Street garage. Many Bloomington residents have fond memories of stopping at the museum on their way home from Elm Heights school to view one of the fascinating displays that Barbara had meticulously arranged. Displays included Indiana Limestone, International Dolls, African Masks, Insects and more.

Bara has traveled extensively in Latin America. In 1984 she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and in 1998 she made a trip to view the Holy Shroud in Turin.

In 1990, culminating a long search for truth and for her Orthodox roots (Serbian on her father’s side), Bara was Chrismated Orthodox. She then studied iconography at the St. John of Damascus School of Iconography under Phil Zimmerman. Her beautiful icons are treasured by members of her church and others.

Bara was a member of All Saints Orthodox Christian Church in Bloomington as well as an honorary member of Saint Nicholas Serbian Orthodox church in Indianapolis.

Visitation will be Friday, March 12, 2021 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM with a Trisagion Prayer Service at 7:45 PM in All Saints Orthodox Church, 6004 S. Fairfax Rd. The Orthodox Christian Funeral Service will be Saturday, March 13th at 10:00 AM in the church with the Reverend Father Peter Jon Gillquist officiating. Entombment will take place in Valhalla Memory Gardens.

Flowers would be appreciated, as would donations to All Saints Orthodox Christian Church, 6004 S Fairfax Rd, Bloomington, IN 47401, or I.U. Foundation, Frank T. Bachmura Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 6460, Indianapolis, IN 46206 or National Society of Arts and Letters, Bloomington Chapter, NSAL Bloomington, 2600 S. Henderson St. #124, Bloomington, IN 47401.


  • All Saints Orthodox Christian Church
  • I.U. Foundation, Frank T. Bachmura Scholarship Fund
  • National Society of Arts and Letters, Bloomington Chapter


  • Visitation

    Friday, March 12, 2021

  • Trisagion Prayer Service

    Friday, March 12, 2021

  • The Orthodox Christian Funeral Service

    Saturday, March 13, 2021


Barbara "Bara" L. (Lee) Bachmura

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jean Boquist

March 22, 2021

I lived across the street from Bara on Park Avenue for 40 years. Shortly after my husband John and I moved into our house, Bara called to welcome us to the neighborhood. Our two sons grew up in that house, and Bara often told me how much she enjoyed seeing them play in the yard and change over the years. She would ask about each of us and always impressed me with how much she remembered! Over the years, she joined us for some Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and was enthusiastic and grateful. She and I attended Elm Heights Neighborhood Association meetings together as well as campus and community events and often visited in our homes. After John retired and we moved from Bloomington, Bara said she really missed us, but she never complained or whined about our leaving. We would talk on the phone and I visited her when back in Bloomington.

Bara had a very strong faith and her church played a big part in her life. She talked proudly and lovingly of Eva, Caroline and David, and I met David once when he stayed in Bloomington. Bara was independent and strong-willed but never demanding. I would take food over if I had made a lot, and she was always appreciative, inviting me in to talk and share a tiny glass of sherry. Last month I sent her my family update in a birthday wish, but I am not sure she ever had a chance to see it. I hope she knows that I thought about her a lot. I will miss receiving spontaneous calls from her or calling her to have an enjoyable chat. She was a long-time friend.

I send my heartfelt condolences to Eva, George, Caroline and David.

Most sincerely,

Jean Boquist

P.S. The photo was taken Thanksgiving 2005 at our home at 606 South Park Avenue in Bloomington with Jean, John, and Alex Boquist and Bara.

Wendy Bricht

March 17, 2021

I will always cherish my many visits with Bara, sitting in the cozy kitchen, always being treated like a special part of her family, and always being given tea and something yummy. She was a wonderful listener, and always so very affirming; I always came away feeling better about myself and always more joyful. She was almost like a mom to me for many years, and I felt she was able to make me, and so many other, feel truly loved and valued. There is an empty place now that she is gone that won’t be filled until we meet again.

Michael Kaganovich

March 15, 2021

I write to honor Barbara's memory on behalf of IU Economics faculty, of which her late husband Frank was a member. Barbara established an annual graduate award in development economics to commemorate Frank's work in and love for this field. Barbara has generously funded this award over the years, which benefited many of our outstanding students. We will all remember her kindness, generosity, and her devotion to the memory of Frank.
Let her memory be a blessing,
Michael Kaganovich
Chair, Department of Economics
Indiana University

Linda (Lee) Mlynarczyk

March 12, 2021

Dearest Aunt Bara,
I miss you already. I admired so many things about you such as your intelligence, teaching ability and artistry. But most of all, I admired your intense love for Our Lord. May you bask in His glory forever. I know my dear father Edward has welcomed his Big Sister with grateful open arms!
Till we meet again...
With love,
Your niece Linda

Janet Humphreys

March 11, 2021

What a fascinating life she led. The memory that strikes me is when we were double dating for the prom, Eva. You had this dashing escort who drove an antique green jaguar. And I had a very interesting fellow as my companion for the dance. I remember having dinner at your home before we left. Your mom had helped to prepare it and we had steamed artichokes as an appetizer. It was all so elegant, just as she was. I loved her individuality and artistic sensibility in all that she did. Much love to you and the family, Eva.

Elizabeth Piekarczyk

March 11, 2021

Eva, I’m so sorry to learn of your mom’s passing. I remember well stopping by the museum on my way home from school—particularly the very large shiny bugs! Your mom was so interesting!