Barbara Telesco Hall (1951-2013)

Barbara Hall – also known as LadyBarbara, LadyB, GrammaB, MzBee, Herbie, and Barbara Choo – died of cancer on Monday (Sept. 16), in Eugene, Ore.

Born on April 2, 1951 to Vito Telesco and Bobbye Hall Telesco in Scarsdale, N.Y., Barbara attended Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua where she played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Luisa in The Fantasticks, the only student to win the Best Actress award twice. She lived most of her life in the Hudson River towns of Peekskill, Garrison, Beacon and Cold Spring before moving to Eugene in 2005, to be closer to her daughter and three grandchildren.

Barbara Telesco Hall

Barbara Telesco Hall

LadyB took up belly dancing at age 48 and went on to teach and perform on both coasts.

Barbara worked in several garden nurseries, including her own Lady Barbara’s Garden Herb Nursery, as head gardener at PepsiCo World Headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., and at Glynwood Center in Cold Spring. She apprenticed with herbalist Susun Weed. Reflecting on 30 years in professional horticulture she said: “Plants have been my constant companions my entire life and caring for them has been my lifelong vocation.”

She described herself as a gardener first, foremost and forever; herbalist/teacher in her own way for more than 40 years; Queen of the Deer Ticks for 15 years until she became The Teasel Deva, curing herself and helping hundreds of others recover from Lyme; a grandmother at 52, and three-time GrannyB. (“Greatest gig in the world!”)

Friends and family remember her as an actress, dancer, mother, grandma, singer, songwriter, teacher, wise woman and word meister: She coined, for example, “Therapeutapuss,” inspired by Godfrey, the rehab center cat, and now in the Urban Dictionary, and “Hackenchopper” (aka EZ Weeder, or Zen Hoe) her favorite garden tool. This photographing, calligraphing, belly-dancing, storytelling, seed scattering champion to the weeds and multi-talented dear friend will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know her.

Her immediate family includes daughter Phoenix Rainbird of Portland, Ore; grandsons Jicaiya, 10, and Aulii, 8, and granddaughter Paikea, 6; sister Bonny Napolitano of Eau Claire, Wis., and brother Nick Telesco of Pawling, N.Y.

Ashes were to be scattered on both coasts.

2 thoughts on “Barbara Telesco Hall (1951-2013)

  1. I was truly saddened to read of Lady Barbara’s transition from this life. I believe that wherever she has gone, she’ll bring her joyful spirit with her.

    I must say that when I first moved to Putnam County, I noticed either an ad or article in a local paper concerning Lady Barbara’s belly dancing classes. My instant reaction was to dismiss her and her the classes offered. Ridiculous, I thought. Unnecessary.

    However, a friend informed us one afternoon that she was taking the class. She invited us that weekend to a performance in Beacon at the Howland Center. Chuck and I dutifully gathered ourselves and proceeded north to witness what I was certain to be a train wreck and a mess.

    After the performance began I was pleasantly surprised at Lady Barbara’s joyous and positive energy. Her dedication and sincerity were apparent, immediately. Our friend Cheryl and her fellow classmates each performed a solo dance and I believe there was a ensemble performance as well. Not everyone was at the level of expertise as Lady Barbara, but that, I discovered, wasn’t the point. These women were experiencing an opportunity to express them selves in a physical, rhythmic, joyous and positive dance.

    Lady Barbara gave them that opportunity. Wherever she is there is certainly joy.

  2. Lady Barbara was an engaging presence in our community for many years, whether working at Back to Ireland and the health food store on Main Street or sharing her healing tinctures at the Farmers’ Market. I also watched her belly dancing class perform at the Howland Center and enjoyed the performance immensely. I recall, too, her deep interest in Beacon’s Madame Brett and bringing this historic figure to life. In her own right, Lady B was a charismatic, wise, and unfettered force right here in Cold Spring.

    I know Lady B greatly loved being close to her daughter and grandchildren in Oregon, and I send my condolences to them and all her family.