Barbara Herst

Passed away on April 6, 2021

Barbara Schamberg Strauss Cowan Herst, 91, passed away peacefully in her sleep, April 6, 2021, surrounded by family members. Born in Highland Park, Illinois to Morton G. and Katharine S. Schamberg, Barbara was married three times, first to John L. Strauss, Sr. with whom she had two children; subsequently she was married to Kenneth Cowan (d. 1989) and to James T. Herst (d. 2018). She is also predeceased by her sister Kate Shapiro. Barbara attended Bard College and the Illinois Institute of Technology studying interior design. She practiced interior design professionally for many years, and was a member of ASID, following in the footsteps of her mentor, her Aunt Mabel Schamberg. Barbara was known for her elegant work throughout the Chicago area and especially on the North Shore. Barbara was a generous patron of the arts, supporting the Writers Theater of The North Shore, Ravinia Festival, and the Chicago Botanic Garden among other venues. She and her late husband James underwrote some of the performances of the pianist and Gershwin historian Kevin Cole as well as the singer, performer and musical revivalist Michael Feinstein, including a memorable evening at Ravinia in 2019. Barbara is survived by her two children John (Carisa Marie) Strauss and Patricia (David) Strauss Casden, step-children Bruce (Jodi) Herst, Jan Cowan Phillipsborn and Judy (Marty) Cooper; three granddaughters, nine step grandchildren, and six step great grandchildren. She was a wonderful mother to all of her children and modeled a strong female character to all who knew her. A private family service is planned for Friday April 9 at Rosehill Cemetery and the family will not be observing shiva because of concerns for Covid-19. In lieu of flowers, donations in Barbara’s name may be made to the Writers Theatre,, or Ravinia Festival,


  • Funeral Service

    Friday, April 9, 2021



Barbara Herst

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