- 72 years old
- Date of birth: Jan 15, 1942
- Place of birth:
Detroit, Michigan, United States
- Date of passing: Nov 20, 2014
- Place of passing:
Burtonsville, Maryland, United States
|It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens. -Woody Allen|
Barbara Anne Kouskoulas was born on 15 January, 1942 to Alex (pharmacist) and Ida (housewife) Burstein, a Jewish couple whose families immigrated from the Polish/Russian border to the US in the early part of the century.
Barbara approached life with quiet optimism, always expressing appreciation for what she had, rather than complaining about what was missing. She was able to find contentment in spite of difficult circumstances.
She had an unconvential worldview that made her intellectually and emotionally adventurous. Oblivious to popular culture and societal opinion, she eloped with an outsider at the risk of estrangement from her family; she uprooted herself to move to a foreign country where she had no connections; and she started coursework in preparation for a nursing degree after retiring at the age of sixty-five.
She was able to establish close enduring connections with people. Many confided in her during times of crisis, knowing that she would be welcoming and uncritical. Her tolerance of difficult people was legendary and her patience was unmatched. "How else could she have put up with us?" her children would joke.
She was passionate about having and raising her children, maintaining a strong relationship with her husband, and being a teacher. Simple unpretentious goals, but they filled her with purpose and she worked diligently towards them. She created a home with kindness, empathy, and acceptance, and spent more than 25 years as a professor of finance, teaching and mentoring her students.
This was what she was like during the years of her life. She died on 20 November, 2014 at age 72 of lung cancer in Burtonsville, MD, with her devoted son Yanni at her side.
She was a gentle soul with an adventurous spirit, whose quiet influence and wisdom left a deep mark on a small circle of people. We are impoverished by her passing; her absence leaves a void that cannot be filled.
"Dearest YIANNI AND TAMARA;
Both of you must be very, very proud because you had the best lady in the world as your mother! Your mom Barbara, whom I met at Wayne State University fifty four years ago, while both of us were students, was the most intelligent, caring ,encouraging and the most compassionate person in the world! She would do anything to see others succeed, especially in the educational world. Words cannot be found enough to express her sincere loving interest in helping others climb the ladder in education.
Being a foreign student myself that time while in college, I owe all my high achievements to her loving heart, who showed me unselfishly how to locate a job as an educator. She was my sister-friend as she used to call me, and though the life's roads would take us apart, we always kept our friendship alive with correspondence, or phone calls. Barbara, your beautiful mother, was my only best friend, whose heartwarming and sweet personality would bring joy to my life!
Her sudden and quick passing to eternity has left a big void in my life like it has in yours. I miss her a lot and I feel joyless without her admirable personality! Barbara Anne Kouskoulas, my sister-friend, was the best person ever existed in this World, who made the difference in the lives of those who were fortunate like me to know her ! May her memory be eternal as she rests in the best place of paradise in heaven!"
"Barbara Anne Burstein Kouskoulas was a noble lady that captured my mind and my heart from her age of 17 till she left me crying at her age of 72 and asking for more of her peacefulness and wisdom...
Barbara was one who knew how to admire, how to love, how to please and keep you next to her: She was an artist and a scientist; one successfull to enchant and please; to play her quitar and enslave her listeners. I am the one who knows more than others..."
"A heartfelt letter written in grief last December by a close family friend in Greece, about Barbara to Vasily:
... δεν πρέπει οι καλοί να φεύγουν τόσο γρήγορα. Το Προσκλητήριο Βασίλη φαίνεται το διαβάζει ανάποδα (από το τέλος) και τώρα έχουμε ένα δεύτερο αλησμόνητο όνομα, μια γυναίκα ανεπανάληπτη που έφυγε και αυτή αθόρυβα σαν πουλί. Μετάφερε στα παιδιά την οδύνη μου και τα συλλυπητήρία μου -- Νίκος
... it should not be that the noble among us leave so quickly. It looks like the invitation card, Vasily, is read backwards (from the end) and now we have a second unforgettable name, a woman whose like the world will never see again, who left without sound, like a bird. Translate for the children my grief and my condolences. -- Nikos Tserpes"
"Happy belated birthday! I love you mom. I wish you were here with me. I don't understand your death. How can you be gone?
Yanni is my lifeline; I know you would be pleased about that. Sometimes we still argue, but only because he gets frustrated when I am unable to respond to his encouragement.
I want to stay positive. I will go out in the sunlight for a few minutes. I know you would want me to find happiness and peace in my heart.
"Dear Tamara and Yanni,
Barbara and I became best friends in eighth grade when we met at sunday school at Adat Shalom. We have maintained contact ever since that time. Although a few years might pass, we always picked up where we left off.
We spent a lot of time together throughout high school and college, riding bikes, talking, and whatever teen girls do for fun. We were in
French classes together and loved speaking French with each other.
Barb's mother Ida was a mother substitute to me, offering an accepting and safe place to feel appreciated.
I will miss our conversations so much. Barbara was a very dear friend.
I have some old pictures from choir at Adat Shalom, and high school that I will try to add to your album.
I do want to attend the memorial service.
with love to both of you and for your mom.
joyce (Lazar) alpiner"
"Dear Yanni and Tamara,
Thank you so much for making such a beautiful website to honor your mother. I worked with Barbara for many years at Lawrence Tech and like everyone that met her I felt welcomed and soon we became friends. I was impressed with her kindness, forgiveness, strength of spirit and her open mind. She will always be a great role model for me,
I would like very much to attend the memorial in Michigan. At Lawrence Tech we will all miss her.
"Dear Yanni and Tamara,
While the substance of one persons life cannot be summarized in a single page, your words are so true to your dear mother's personality and spirit that I almost believe she wrote them with you. I loved your mom not only as an aunt, but also as a friend. She was completely open to any topic of conversation and she especially enjoyed hearing about my children's activities. As sad as I was to see her bedridden in Maryland, I feel lucky that my mom and I had a chance to visit with her. She still had that sparkle in her eye when she told us about your accomplishments and I got the sense that she was beyond proud of both of you. Barbara was kind, compassionate, intelligent and indeed an incredibly patient woman! I am blessed to have known her. May her memory be eternal.
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