Barbara A. Chilcott
By Candace Roberts
On June 20, 2022, the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church community lost longtime member and friend Barbara Chilcott. Barb is remembered for her big heart, unwavering kindness, and positive attitude.
Barbara Anne Bachers was born on Jan. 22, 1943 in Beech Grove, Indiana. Her family moved many times during her childhood. She attended 11 schools in 11 years. Her family eventually settled near Philadelphia, and she stayed close to the city for the rest of her life. She called several neighborhoods home including Mt. Airy and East Falls. Although she lived on the west side of Philadelphia, she became an active member of Gloria Dei, a church located on the east side of the city.
Barbara had a beautiful singing voice. She shared her name with one of Canada’s leading theater actresses. Perhaps this inspired Barbara’s theater background. During high school, she was a featured performer in the musical “Oklahoma!”. She performed in the Gloria Dei Lucia Fest for over 40 years. Through the years, whenever Gloria Dei formed an adult choir, Barbara was always front and center. She greatly enjoyed performing at her friend’s weddings.
Barbara was proud to worship in Philadelphia’s oldest church building. She became a Founding Member of the Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation to help preserve the church forever. She was also an eager volunteer, wanting to help Gloria Dei in any way she could.
Despite being very ill with cancer toward the end of her life, she maintained a positive outlook. The nurses who cared for her during this trying time said that she was one of their favorite patients. Her favorite color was always pink, which took on added significance to honor her commitment to Breast Cancer awareness, research, and her fellow survivors.
Barbara loved to travel. Every summer, she and her closest friends drove to Kutztown to attend the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival. She shared the desire to travel with her best friend of 40 years, Peg Berich, another long-time member of Gloria Dei. They are buried near each other in the Gloria Dei Churchyard. Both of these extraordinary women are greatly missed at Gloria Dei and will be ever in our hearts.