Evelyn (Evel) Barcus
- Published: September 15, 2016
“I don’t know why I never thought about my mortality. I guess I thought I’d live forever,” she said. At 99, one could say that she did.
“But why am I so weak?” she’d ask. “You’re old, Mom,” family would reply.
The child of Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe, she embraced her life with great vigor, curiosity and wonder. Baking, writing letters, making friends, taking photos, celebrating others, entertaining, reading, listening, learning and LOVING. She cherished everyone in a way that made them feel extraordinary and treasured. The more she gave, the more she received. “Maybe someday I’ll have self-esteem,” she once confided.
Always a clotheshorse, she dressed every day, made up and accessorized, often in immaculate, decades-old clothes from friends or with some kind of story about them. The peak of her life came perhaps at 98 when she was featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer fashion page and online at Cleveland.com. If you want to see pure joy, check out the video online at videos.cleveland.com/plain-dealer/2015/07/fashion_flash_evel_barcus_98_s.html .
She corresponded with scores of people, some met only once, often enclosing photos or recipes or newspaper articles she thought they should read. She was a believer in the power of relationships, and broke out of the 1950s women’s limitations with 1960s women’s liberation, taking group after group in the human potentials movement of the ’60s.
She was married to Sandy Barcus for 71 years, until his death at 97. She is fondly remembered by her four children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her Yellow Springs family includes her son Bob Barcus, her daughter-in-law Aïda Merhemic and her granddaughter Miriam Barcus.