Barbara Sahlman (1932-2021)

by FIN |

Barbara Sahlman. Photo by Shoshanna McCollum.

By Robert Levine ~ Barbara Sahlman, a legend in Fire Island Pines, passed away on Jan. 4, 2021. She and her devoted husband, Ira, bought a house in the Pines in the early 1970s after living in Seaview and Water Island.

In the Pines they had a lifetime of joy and raised four children. It did not take long for Ira and Barbara to become main fixtures in the FIP social circles. As stellar community members their participation and philanthropic contributions could always be counted on.

Barbara was a founding member of the Pines Biennial Art Show, as well as a participating artist. With her enthusiasm and creative talents the show has become a recognized art event beyond the borders of Fire Island. She created the distinctive stone sculptures exhibited at the Biennial in her New York City studio in Tribeca. She was a long-standing board member of FIPAP and FIPPOA. As a couple, Ira and Barbara were honored locally by the Pines Conservation Society. Ira predeceased her in 2011. On her own, Barbara was honored by the national LGBTQ elder advocacy group SAGE.

Barbara was educated at Abbott Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, which is now part of Phillips Academy. She had impeccable taste in her personal fashion and could always be seen on the walks donning avant-garde styles like Issey Miyake. She also was a skilled interior decorator, and her homes in Manhattan and Fire Island Pines showcased this fact.

We cannot forget legendary Thanksgiving Day dinner parties the couple regularly threw, always with a talented team of caterers. She will be missed for her generosity and elegance.

Children Sue, Peter, Emily and Will as well as 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren survive her. Donations in Barbara’s memory can be made to the Fire Island Pines Arts Project.

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