Our beloved Barbara Kathleen Armstrong Jamieson passed away peacefully in her sleep on the night of August 6, 2018, at her home in Tucson, Arizona.
Barbara was born in her family home on St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, on August 3, 1934. From the age of eight years and through high school, she attended Catholic and Episcopal boarding schools for girls, in both Puerto Rico and New Jersey. At fifteen, she began helping to manage the family’s hotel, The Buccaneer, in St. Croix. After graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she married Dr. John A. Jamieson, an esteemed aeronautical engineer, astrophysicist, and inventor. They would be married until John’s death in 1999.
In the early years of their marriage, Barbara shared John’s passion for sailing. Together they sailed the Pacific coastal waters from California down to Mexico aboard their ketch, “Tioga.”
John and Barbara relocated to Chevy Chase, Maryland, when John opened a consulting firm in nearby Bethesda. The Kenwood community in which they lived benefited from Barbara’s exceptional organizational skills and talent. She was very active in the neighborhood association’s many projects over the years spanning from the 1970s to 1990s, and served on their board of directors, as well. She loved organizing, directing and acting in the annual Kenwood variety show.
Barbara loved the arts. She and John frequently attended concerts, plays and operas at many of the Washington, D.C. area’s finest theaters and music halls. Her desire to share her love of the arts included opening a gallery with two friends where local artists could exhibit their art.
In the mid-1980s, and with her children having grown, Barbara reawakened her experience in the hospitality industry by purchasing, managing, and restoring to a Victorian splendor, the Orcas Hotel, on Orcas Island, Washington. She used her many talents to transform the hotel into a major vacation destination for west coast elite and the occasional movie star. It also served as a “watering hole” cherished by the locals throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Barbara had oodles of stories about the hotel, which, when recounted by her, provided the listener with hours of entertainment.
While living on Orcas, Barbara pursued her passion for acting by joining the Orcas Center for the Performing Arts. One of her favorite roles was playing Lady Augusta Bracknell, from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Throughout her life, Barbara attended and was a member of St. John’s Anglican Church, St. Croix, USVI; The Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda, Maryland; Emmanuel Episcopal Parish, Orcas Island, Washington; and St. Phillip’s in the Hills, Tucson, Arizona. Throughout the 2000s, of growing and particular importance to her was the restoration of St. John’s Anglican Church, of St. Croix, which was founded in 1760 by the Church of England.
Barbara Jamieson is survived by her three children, John Gordon Jamieson, Sara Jamieson-Delgado, and John Douglas Jamieson; her sister, Judith Armstrong Lordi; several nieces and nephews; and her two grandchildren, Vanessa Jamieson and Jack Jamieson, whom she deeply loved.
Barbara will be remembered by those who loved her for her generosity, intellect, sense of humor, incredible memory, knowledge of family history, loyalty to family and friends, enthusiasm and endless optimism. Indeed, her absence will be felt, and she will be deeply missed by family and friends scattered throughout the country and the world.