December 18, 1924 – June 6, 2013
The wife of the late William A. Alerding, her husband of 42 years, Barbara had lived in Indianapolis since 1993 when she and her husband moved here after a long career of service abroad. Barbara was the daughter of Sidney Williams and Margaret (Frankenburger) Williams. She was predeceased by her sister Dorothy Williams Whitney.
For more than 25 years Barbara and her husband did community development work in Guatemala, Nigeria, Zambia, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Working with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, they shared an intense commitment to education, community organization and human development, dedicating their lives to helping others in rural and urban communities. Barbara was a program organizer, instructor and facilitator for leadership training workshops, human development leadership seminars, community forums and village meetings. In Indianapolis, she was a program coordinator and instructor for Technical Training Services, Inc., an employment training program.
Barbara was educated at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois and earned her bachelor’s degree from Martin University in Indianapolis. Two years after receiving her bachelor’s degree, Barbara, at the age of 77, earned a master’s degree in adult and community education from Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
She was a proud member of the Indianapolis Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international honorary music fraternity, a member of the International Association of Facilitators and a member of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Barb and we (Doris and Charles) arrived at the Institute in the summer of 1964, and we last visited her shortly before Bill’s death when she was in a nursing home in Indianapolis. Barb was bright; she was tenacious; she was a life-long student–she received her Master’s Degree when she was in her 70’s or thereabouts. She had some tough assignments around the world, and she was obedient to those assignments. She loved the Order, and she embraced our mission. Our appreciation and our gratitude go with you, Barb. Grace and Peace,
~~ Doris and Charles Hahn
TO: Barbara …. to one who journeyed with joy and intention, loving life as she went …. I give thanks that your earthly life was completed following times of peace and joy. You are loved.
~~ Nancy Trask
Barbara was a smart, strong and gracious woman. I never worked closely with her, but my single strongest memory is of being paired with Barbara to dance the whirling dervish at a council in Bilbao, Spain. We were about the same height, so one of us stood ready to catch the other who was “whirling” in case dizziness set in. She went through the whole dance with a sort of bemused smile, but I knew she wouldn’t let me fall. We celebrate her complete life.
~~ Marsha Hahn
I remember Barbara with such fondness. If memory serves me right I believe she and Bill were on the faculty of the Academy with Carlos and me for at least one stint. Journey on Barbara!
~~ Joyce Sloan
Barbara who, like Kaze, stands in my memory as one of the foremost pioneers of imaginal education; giants whose care and intensity trained another generation of educators.
~~ Sunny Walker
Just a note to say that Charles and I went to Indianapolis yesterday to participate in Barbara’s funeral. It was held in a small, well-filled chapel that is a part of the nursing home where she finished her life. The chaplain there led the service. We sang Amazing Grace, and then anyone who wished to share a memory of Barbara was invited to do so. Several people who had worked with Barb in Training Inc. in Indy and others who had known her in the nursing home shared short and delightful stories. Our colleague, John Gibson told about having been impressed with Barb’s leading a workshop on very short notice during the 1984 global gathering in Chicago. He remembered how she had done that job with great aplomb, even though without time to prepare. He also told us about Barbara’s coming to Indy from Guatemala to study Training Inc. in order to put that learning to work back in Guatemala. She brought with her a big bag of braided “bracelets” which she planned to sell in order to buy her return ticket. John had one bracelet to show us and laughingly said that was the only one he could find around his house, though he had finally bought the whole bag full when Barb had little success selling them. John asked me to add to the stories, and I mostly talked about Barb’s having worked in many countries and continents around the globe. When I said I wished I could remember all the places, John quickly handed me the obituary that he had printed; so I was able to share the (long) list.
Several of our Indy colleagues attended the service, as well as Bill’s sister and her husband from Connecticut and a few Alerding cousins. Barbara had no living family. The service itself seemed totally appropriate, with hymns, scripture, and memories of Barb, all reminding us that life is a gift that is crowned by death. Grace and Peace to us all,
~~ Doris Hahn