KILMARNOCK—Barbe Bonjour Pike, who spent her career leading libraries and her retirement supporting a variety of good causes, passed away in Kilmarnock on August 14. She was 79.
Barbe was a warm-hearted, can-do dynamo devoted to serving others. Local projects that she funded though a charitable trust set up by her late husband include the Pike Studio at the RAL Art Center in Kilmarnock and the Northumberland Public Library Tech Mobile.
Her friend and neighbor in Kilmarnock, Susan Turney, says Barbe had “a smile with a mischievous spark in her eyes that something fun was going to happen.”
She grew up in rural Minnesota, where she walked daily to a one-room elementary school. After graduating from Wood Lake High School, Barbe stayed in her home state to earn a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College. Later on, she picked up a master’s in library science from the University of Texas.
Early in her career, she was the children’s librarian at the public library in Bellport, N.Y. One of the youngsters there who became Barbe’s dear friend fondly remembers “her kindness, appreciation for literature, passion for running, and her love for carrots and ChapStick.”
After that, she became director of the public library in nearby Riverhead. Then she moved to Florida, where she was eventually promoted to director of Pasco County’s public libraries.
Barbe’s first marriage was to a fellow Macalester College graduate, Laurence BonJour. That marriage ended in divorce.
In 2003 Barbe married Otis G. Pike, a former U.S. congressman from Long Island and a former syndicated newspaper columnist. They lived at their home in Kilmarnock every year from around Memorial Day Weekend until late October. They spent the rest of the year in Vero Beach, Fla. Her husband passed away in 2014.
Barbe is survived by her sisters, Linda Webb of Baltimore, Md., and Candace Meinders of St. Paul, Minn.; and three brothers, Jerry Meinders of Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Bill Meinders of Lynnwood, Wash., and Tom Meinders of Wood Lake, Minn. Also mourning her passing are two nieces, a nephew, a stepdaughter, a stepdaughter-in-law, a stepson, a stepson-in-law and other relatives.
Because Barbe Pike was such a strong supporter of libraries and education, her family hopes that friends will honor her memory by supporting their local library. No memorial service is planned at this time.
Barbe’s loved ones felt the warmth of her smile, her humor and her heart. Remembering her, they still will.