Eulalia H. Barber, retired state health director and longtime active church member, dies

Eulalia H. Barber, a cytologist, former director of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Home Care Providers and church activist for more than seven decades at Olivet Baptist Church, died Nov. 17 in her sleep at her Brooklyn Park home. She was 85.

The former Eulalia Hinds was the daughter of Herbert S. Hinds, a longshoreman, and Lillian C. Hinds, a homemaker. She was born in Baltimore as one of seven children, and was raised in West Baltimore.

She was a 1951 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and in 1955 received a bachelor’s degree in biology from what is now Morgan State University.

Mrs. Barber obtained a master’s degree in administration supervision from the University of Maryland, and received a second master’s in cytology from the Michigan Institute of Technology in Lapeer. She also completed courses in radiology certification for phlebotomy, and had training in the use of electrocardiograms.

In 1955, she began working as a laboratory technician at the old Crownsville State Hospital, where she remained until 1960, when she was named head laboratory technician for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mrs. Barber returned to Crownsville in 1967 when she was appointed director of its clinical laboratory, then rejoined the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as director of its Baltimore and Eastern Shore Home Care Providers. She remained in that position until retiring in 1973.

While working for the state, Mrs. Barber had a second career as an independent cytologist and performed screenings for the old North Arundel Hospital — now the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center — as well as for the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, the old Falstaff Medical Center and several private physicians.

In 1962, she married Joseph C. Barber, a Bethlehem Steel worker and city transit bus driver. The couple later became owners and operators of Mount Calvary Cemetery in Brooklyn Park. After his death in 1992, she continued to operate the business.

“It was one of two black cemeteries, the other being Mount Auburn in Mount Winans,” said the Rev. Hari P. Close, a minister and owner of Hari P. Close Funeral Services P.A. in the city’s Waltherson neighborhood.

“We used Mount Calvary, which is quite historical. She knew the history of the cemetery and who was buried where,” said the Rev. Close, a Northeast Baltimore resident.

“Eulalia made sure that everything was handled with dignity. She knew how to take care of families who were in need. Many people who came there couldn’t afford it, and had no money, but she made sure their loved ones were buried with dignity,” he said. “She believed they deserved the same dignity as those who had money.”

The Rev. Close said Mrs. Barber could be “stern” but had a wonderful sense of humor.

“Being a woman in business, she had to be stern, but she had a heart of gold,” he said.

The center of Mrs. Barber’s life was Olivet Baptist Church on Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore, where she had been an active member since 1943. She had held many positions at the church, which was founded on E. 23rd Street in 1922.

“She was a very religious person, and we were brought up in a very religious home. On Sundays she made sure we all went to church,” said a brother, James Hinds, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. “She did a whole lot of things at Olivet Baptist Church — which she loved — up until a couple of years ago. She was all over the church.”

She was a trustee for the church for more than 45 years, and was financial secretary until 2014. She also had been church clerk and administrative assistant to the late Rev. Wilburn S. Watson, who was pastor at Olivet for 47 years until his death in 2009.

Mrs. Barber’s involvement with the church began when she was a teenager and began teaching Sunday school. She made the school fun, family members said. She held Bible competitions with other churches, and also arranged trips, plays, pageants, rallies and other celebrations. She later became Sunday school superintendent, and also headed Olivet’s Vacation Bible School.

For more than two decades, she was editor, coordinator and announcer of the church’s “broadcast and tape ministry,” which aired over WBGR Radio.

Other duties included being coordinator of Olivet’s mortgage burning ceremony and pulpit aide. She was involved with the Gospel chorus, kitchen committee, birthday circle and for 10 years directed the church’s food share and Thanksgiving basket programs.

Additionally, she was bereavement coordinator for more than 20 years.

After the Rev. Watson’s death, she led the effort that resulted in having the street sign at the corner of the church designated Bishop Way.

Mrs. Barber enjoyed reading the Bible and engaging in Bible study.

An accomplished seamstress, she was also known for wearing the stylish clothes she made for herself, and also had sewn clothes for her sisters, cousins and other members of her extended family.

She enjoyed playing violin, piano and organ. She had been an avid Baltimore Colts fan, and in recent years watched football on TV. She was also a world traveler.

“She will be remembered for her generosity, kindness and tireless ‘can do spirit,’” wrote a sister, Bertha Haywood, of Edgewood, in a biographical profile of Mrs. Barber.

At Mrs. Barber’s request, funeral services were private.

In addition to her brother and sister, she is survived by another brother, Clifford Hinds-Bey of Baltimore; another sister, Anna Hinds of Middle River; and many nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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