Barbara Ann (Bruder) Bertram died at her home in South Wellfleet on June 3, 2022. She was 88.
The daughter of Donald Bruder and Freda (Tinkey) Bruder, Barbara was born on Oct. 15, 1933, in Ashland, Ohio, but her son Malcolm said he was not entirely sure where she grew up. Her father was a salesman; the family moved often. In one six-year span, his mother attended six schools, Malcolm said. She was “literally the new kid all the time.”
When Barbara was 15, her mother died. She graduated from high school in West Springfield in 1948, and while she was a student there she met Malcolm Cox Bertram Jr., who attended Classical High School in Springfield.
Barbara attended Bay Path Junior College, at the time a secretarial school, graduating in 1950. She and Malcolm married in 1955, and in 1959, with a degree from the Oberlin School of Theology, he was ordained. “Their entire lives,” Malcolm said, “were dedicated to the church.”
Barbara was unwavering in her support as her husband fulfilled his duties in the ministry, which included working on social justice issues in the U.S. and in Nicaragua, Russia, and Germany. When he had to travel, Barbara was home taking care of their family.
“She was always there for us,” her son said.
Their life and ministry in the United Church of Christ took them to Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas. They spent 21 years at the Syosset Community Church on New York’s Long Island, where Malcolm was the pastor. During those years, Barbara had a 17-year career in the Syosset School District, eventually as secretary to the superintendent and the school board. She retired from that job in 1990.
Barbara and her family began spending their six-week summer vacations in South Wellfleet in 1961, at first renting a house on Paine Hollow Road before buying one of their own in the 1970s. After Malcolm retired from his last assignment in West Newton in 1997, they decamped permanently to Wellfleet.
The family joined the Federated Church in Orleans, where Barbara served on the board of deacons and other committees. She loved her time with the bell choir, a tight-knit group of friends who played special music on Christmas, Easter, and a few other Sundays. Barbara took great pleasure in the sound of the bells, and it was hard for her to have to leave the group when she could no longer physically manage the performances.
Barbara enjoyed watching figure skating. In retirement, she and a friend decided to go to the national championships. For 17 years, the two scheduled their vacations so as to travel to the Olympics and the national and world championships.
She also managed to squeeze in a few vacations to Bermuda.
Barbara remained true to her church to the end. Even though her children pressured her to resign from the board of deacons and relinquish the responsibility to prepare the church each week for worship, she never did.
Barbara is survived by three children: Malcolm S. Bertram of South Wellfleet, Lee and wife Margaret of Marblehead, and Lori Ann and husband George of Hull. She is also survived by four grandsons and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held on June 11 at the Federated Church of Orleans. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the music ministry there.
Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at nickersonfhorleans.com.