In Memory of

Barbara

Bashevkin

(Cremer)

Obituary for Barbara Bashevkin (Cremer)

Barbara Bashevkin (née Cremer), beloved wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend passed away at the age of 90 on February 8, 2024. Barbara was born in Lynn, Mass. on December 21, 1933 to Harry and Edith Cremer. After marrying her late husband Robert "Bob" Bashevkin in 1955, she moved with him to his hometown of North Adams, Mass. and remained a proud, devoted, and active member of the northern Berkshires community until 2017, when she moved with Bob to Sarasota, Fla. to spend her last years at Kobernick House. The family is deeply appreciative to the phenomenal team of aides who made her last years as comfortable as possible, and to the entire Aviva community in Sarasota.

Barbara is survived by her younger brother Stephen Cremer of Sharon, Mass., and her three children, Sharon Bashevkin Perry of Tel Aviv, Israel, Martin Bashevkin of Oslo, Norway, and Joel Bashevkin of Berkeley, Calif. She is remembered as a loving grandmother to Maayan, Avital, Isaak, Noah, Tobias, Omer, and Hannah, mother-in-law to Simon Perry, Elin Bashevkin, and Sarah Herman, sister-in-law to Sandy Cremer, and great-grandmother to Ilai, Eitan, Barak, Emmanuelle, Guy, and, most recently, Juni, born this January.

Barbara will be remembered, among many admirable qualities, for her prodigious intellect and deep commitment to community. First in her family to attend college Barbara graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1955, elected to Phi Beta Kappa and becoming the institution’s first woman to receive a degree in Chemistry. While raising three children and making a home in North Adams, Barbara embarked on an illustrious career of civic service when she joined the North Adams Planning Board in 1965, ultimately serving for 15 years including 4 terms as Chair and 4 as Clerk. She went on to serve as Community Development Specialist in the North Adams Office of the Mayor; Planning Coordinator in the North Adams Office of Development; Director of Development of the Economic Development Corporation of Northern Berkshire, which included supervising the rehabilitation of the historic Beaver Mill; and Town Planner of Williamstown, Mass. from 1986-1991. She served on the Massachusetts State Senate Special Commission on Historic Preservation in 1994, and was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis to the Massachusetts Designer Selection Board from 1983-1987, serving as chair in her final year. A recipient of numerous honors, Barbara was awarded the Carol Hess Memorial Award for "significant contributions, through volunteer efforts, to the people of North Adams" in 1976, and the Built Environment Award from the Massachusetts Council of the American Institute of Architects in 1990.

A lifelong champion of countless organizations and causes in the Berkshires, Barbara was a dedicated member of the North Adams Regional Hospital Board of Trustees from 1983-1999, serving as chair from 1996-1999. From 1999-2003, Barbara served on the Board of Trustees of Northern Berkshire Healthcare. She was chair of the Berkshire Land Use Commission from 1989 – 1996, and from 1997-2003 she served on the board of Elder Services of Berkshire County, a committee she chaired from 2002-2003. With her husband Bob, Barbara was a founding donor to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and longtime supporter of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).

Judaism was an integral part of Barbara’s life, personally and communally. She proudly served as Chair of the Education Committee, Vice President, and member of the Board of Trustees at Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, a synagogue her husband Bob’s family helped to build. There she was a devoted attendee of Shabbat services, and could occasionally be found teaching Hebrew to adults. She and Bob often hosted guests for Shabbat dinners, providing a first welcome to Jewish visitors to the Berkshires, Williams students, and new members of the local Jewish community.

A music aficionado (with a particular love of jazz) and premier patron of the arts, Barbara was a fixture at the Clark, Tanglewood, Williamstown Theater Festival, MASS MoCA, and wherever else culture could be found thriving in the Berkshires. With her husband Bob, Barbara could be found sitting courtside at countless Williams Ephs Basketball home games. And while she loved to travel, Barbara was firmly rooted in the northern Berkshires. She paid deep care and attention to the home she shared with Bob on Bulkley Street in Williamstown, making it a place where the whole family would look forward to gathering year after year, and where countless beautiful memories were formed. Her family will always remember her as unafraid to act or speak up for what she felt was right, or necessary. Yet for all of her deeply-held convictions, her acceptance and love were self-evident. She was truly one-of-a-kind, and her loss is felt profoundly.

A funeral service will take place at Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, Mass. at 2pm on Thursday, February 15. Burial will follow at the Beth Israel Cemetery in Clarksburg, Mass.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams (http://cbiberkshires.com/ ), the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires (jewishberkshires.org), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Carol Hess Fund (mcla.edu), the Yiddish Book Center (yiddishbookcenter.org), or MASS MoCA (massmoca.org). Or, in her memory, contribute to a cause of your choice that supports the health and spirit of your community.