Barbara Carle, co-founder of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, has died. She passed away over the weekend after suffering a brief illness. She was 76 years old.
The wife of the children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle, Barbara spent her life dedicated to education and the arts. With her husband, she co-founded the museum with the goal of inspiring reading and a love of art.
“Bobbie was such a genuine person—a kind, strong, and warm-hearted woman of tremendous grace and generosity,” Christopher B. Milne, the museum’s current board chair said in a statement. “Throughout her life, art and books and the welfare of children were her sustaining passions. She believed that picture books could enrich children’s lives, that they could transform us. She and Eric were determined to create a museum where generations of families could gather together and feel nurtured. From day one, Bobbie was a force behind The Carle. She was the Museum’s first board chair, and her leadership set the stage for all of us. We will miss her so much.”
Born Barbara Ann Morrison in Statesville, North Carolina, on November 22, 1938, Carle graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. then moved to New York and worked at the bookshop at The Cloisters. In 1973, Barbara married Eric and moved to Western Massachusetts, where she earned her Master in Education from the University of Massachusetts in special education.
Carle leaves behind her husband Eric, her sister Rita M. Wiseman, her brother-in-law Richard McDonald, her stepson Rolf Carle and his wife Teresa Toro, and her stepdaughter Cirsten Carle.