Sheila F. (Lerman) Barth
June 9, 1941 – February 2, 2020
On February 2, 2020 Sheila (Lerman) Barth age 78, of Beverly, MA, succumbed to complications from pneumonia and peacefully entered into rest surrounded by her loving family, her pride and joy.
Sheila grew up in Portland Maine and graduated with a degree in Education from Gorham State Teachers College. She was an educator at all levels from preschool through adult education for senior citizens. A natural nurturer, the lessons she taught her students went well beyond academia. Sheila brought learning to life with her insurmountable vibrancy and passion.
Following her career as an educator, Sheila spent decades in journalism as a reporter, feature writer, columnist, theater reviewer and critic. She was an esteemed theater critic reviewing more than 150 performances annually in recent years. As part of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of NE) as both a reviewer and committee member, she fervently supported local theater. She was also a highly respected critic for all theater from large productions in Boston to the local and regional performances. She was passionate about using her writing to keep local theater alive. Her writing was her voice to the world and it was a voice that carried far and wide. Her words had a profound effect on those about whom she wrote.
She was a true force of nature. Her personality was larger than life. She was a feisty spitfire. A fighter and advocate, a champion for whatever or whomever captured her passion. If she pursued something, nothing got in her way. Her high intellect and insatiable curiosity, coupled with her incredible listening skills made her an agile and intriguing conversationalist.
When speaking with Sheila she was always completely present. She was a selfless giver who put the needs of others before her own, always. She had an incredible ability to connect with people and to make others connect. It was arguably the strongest of her many superpowers.
Above all, her most cherished role was that of mother and “Nana”. Her pride for her family was felt by everyone she knew. She was never without hundreds of photos to share – of every accomplishment large or small that one of her children, children-in-law or grandchildren achieved. She made each and every child and grandchild feel special in their own right. She was their greatest cheerleader, providing unending support in every way. If a grandchild had 6 performances a weekend, she would make sure that she and Richard would attend all 6! Whether it was sports, theater, dance or music she would travel any distance to support her family– to California for a ballet performance, to Maryland for a football camp. Distance was simply no object. In the audience or the stands, there was never a question who she was there to see!
Sheila and her husband Richard were the true pillars of the family. Their love for each other was unending, unconditional and unwavering. Throughout their 56 years of marriage, they shared an unparalleled love, respect and admiration for one another. They were each other’s strength. In life and in death, they remained completely connected. Their beautiful love story finished this chapter with the comfort that they will never grieve each other but instead enter their next chapter together.
Sheila was loved by so many people. She was the devoted wife of Richard Barth, who passed away five days after Sheila; the proud mother of Lisa Wolowacki and her husband Bill, Elana Turchon and her husband Dennis, Gary Barth and his wife Michelle, and Sara Kelley and her husband Peter; adored Nana of Cameron and Jacob Wolowacki, Gisele Turchon, Jacquie and Jamie Barth, Eli and Anja Kelley; cherished daughter of the late Sara and Paul Lerman, loving sister of Ruth Cohen and the late Barbara Burd and Stuart Lerman; and the cherished aunt, cousin and friend of an infinite number of people her life touched significantly.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, February 9 at 1:30pm at Temple B’Nai Abraham in Beverly , MA. Immediately following the service will be interment at Newburyport Hebrew Cemetery, 10 Toll Rd, Salisbury, MA. After that time, the family welcomes any and all to convene and be in the comfort of others at Danversport Yacht Club, 161 Elliott St in Danvers between the hours of 5:00pm and 8:00pm.
Additional Shiva information for the remainder of the mourning period will be communicated privately.
In accordance with the traditions of the Jewish faith, and given her passion for teaching and nurturing, we ask that you please not send flowers. Instead you may make a donation to an education-based charity in her name.
In addition, to honor her memory, we ask that everyone please conduct one intentional selfless act of kindness.
For more information or to register in the online guestbook, please visit www.stanetskyhymansonsalem.com.
- Temple Funeral Service Sunday, February 9, 2020
- Interment Sunday, February 9, 2020
Sheila F. (Lerman) Barth
February 10, 2020
Lisa, Elana, Gary and Sara,
We were so saddened to learn of your Mom's and Dad's passing. Our friendship goes back 40 years to The Beverly Times Newsroom. Sheila and I had been in touch in January and I take joy in our messages and lasting friendship. It is comforting to know that your Mom and Dad are now together.
Sending love from Amelia Island, Florida,
Carole and David White
February 9, 2020
Sheila was a wonderful loving caring person loved by all. We had great times together when we were younger having meals with her and her family along with my mom.
We kept in touch by emails and always remembered cards on special occasion along with a note.
My mom was the one who went with her to find a dress for her bridal shower.
She will be missed a winderful.person with a big heart for sll
February 9, 2020
Hi. I was at UMass in exchange from June 1993 to June 1994. I made friends with Sara while she was in Wollingong and we became even closer while I was there. Sheila took me in like a daughter and I spent me first ever Thanksgiving with Sara’s parents. I loved the time I had with Sheila and all the chats we had at Thanksgiving after I returned to Australia. Rest In Peace. You will always be in my heart. ❤️❤️❤️ Denise
February 8, 2020
Sheila and Richard were lifelong neighbors and good friends of the Andrews family. Sheila was always warm hearted and friendly and loved to visit and talk and bring flowers. It breaks our hearts to hear the news. Our thoughts and prayers to the Barth family.
February 8, 2020
My Mother’s long time BFF is being laid to rest this weekend. She and her husband Richard both passed away just 5 days apart. Bonded so tightly in life that they were never conscious again to realize the grief of being one left without the other. It is as it should be that they enter this next chapter together. My family and the Barth’s have been inextricably linked since I was three years old. Their eldest daughter Lisa and I began in ballet together. Cementing not only a friendship between us that has lasted a lifetime, but one that our mother’s shared, nurtured and treasured for over 45 years, until my mother’s passing. Theo & Shiela were the hilarious fashionista shopping compadres. That and trips to various cultural events together were their passion. Always laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Many shared holidays and events linked our families. I will miss being in touch with Sheila. She even popped onto my facebook now and then this past year as I journeyed cross country in the RV with my pets and celebrated my happy landings in Portland, OR. She got a kick out of that. She was a Portland, ME native herself. Happy trails to you Sheils. Please give my Mom a hug and kiss.
February 7, 2020
Sheila and I covered news and theater alike for decades both on the North Shore and in Boston. Not only was she a great loving supporter of her family, but she was also a great loving supporter of her friends, too, and I count myself proudly as one of them. She was concerned about you, your family, and what you were doing as much as her own family. She had a smile that never quit, even in the later years when health challenged both her and Richard. It was my honor to serve alongside her in the IRNE Awards for many years. She moved heaven and earth to make sure she and Richard got out to see the theater they both loved. She was a small woman with the biggest heart I know.