Barbara Sampson Borsch
Barbara Sampson Borsch, 84, died peacefully in her sleep on October 14, 2021. She had been hospitalized with complications after a fall in her home in Gwynedd Township, PA. Barbara and her late husband, the Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles from 1988 to 2002, to whom she was married for 57 years, were devoted partners in life and ministry. Barbara was dedicated to her family, her wide circle of friends and her engagement in causes including empowering lay ministry in the Episcopal Church, protecting at-risk adolescents, and to fostering ties for Middle-East Peace.
Predeceased by her husband in 2017, Barbara is survived by their sons and daughters-in-law Benjamin and Jeannie of Tampa, FL; Matthew and Betsy of Millbrook, N.Y.; and Stuart and Fang Zhang of Worcester, MA: as well as grandchildren Jack, Emily, Owen, and Zoe. She is also survived by two sisters, Deborah Branch of Santa Barbara, CA and Sarah Moody of Michigan City, IN, and their families. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on October 30th at St. Martin in-the-Fields Church in Philadelphia (8000 St. Martins Ln., Philadelphia, PA 19118). At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2450 Le Conte Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709.
Barbara Borsch, Advocate for Lay Ministry and Middle East Peace, Dies
Barbara made a home for herself and her family in many parts of the country and the world. She grew up in the greater Chicago area, attending Hinsdale Township High School. She then went on to attend college at Sweet Briar College in Virginia and then to John’s Hopkins University where she earned a master’s degree in English Literature. With Fred and her children, she lived in Oak Park, Illinois; Birmingham, England; Evanston, Illinois; New York City, Berkeley, California; and Princeton, New Jersey. She and Fred later lived for many years in Los Angeles and part time in Philadelphia.
Wherever Barbara went, she was an active member of her church and hostess to a great number of friends. Though she was very involved in her many activities, she will mostly be remembered for the warmth and love with which she welcomed friends and visitors into her home and family. She had a natural warmth and a gift for making others at home with a kind word, a cup of tea or coffee, or sometimes with an invitation to help prepare a meal or set the table. Never one to be phased by unexpected events, she always kept the focus on the occasion and the people, even when a skunk ran through the party or it began to rain in the dining room.
She was a fierce advocate for her children and was respected teachers and school administrators. A talented teacher herself, she volunteered to teach reading in classes from 1st grade through 6th grade. A classmate of Ben’s commented at his high school graduation that he had only made it to that day because of her help in 5th grade reading.
She was a woman of many talents, who could play the piano, paint, sew clothes and manage projects of all sizes. She loved music and dance and comedy. She taught her children to love Monty Python and other British comedies. Having had all boys, she told them that they needed to be self-sufficient and should be able to hem their own pants, cook their own meals, and manage their own money as well as excel in their professional pursuits — and she provided them with all the skills to do those things.
Perhaps most of all, she will be remembered for her love for Fred, her children and their wives and her grandchildren, as well as her sisters, nieces, nephews, and the great network of friends she cultivated around the world.