By Tommy Acosta
Sedona News (July 11, 2021) She went out with a bang. On July 4th, 2021 Sedona lost yet another luminary. Community activist, leader, inspiration and guiding light Barbara Litrell stepped off this mortal plane and assumed her rightful place above.
I met Barbara through my friend, the late Rita Livingston, publisher of the “Sedona Times.” Barbara was a supporter and writer for the publication. I remember her as always focused in bringing truth and justice to the community.
As president of Keep Sedona Beautiful she worked tirelessly to improve our community and keep it beautiful. She attended every meeting relevant to the improvement of Sedona and was passionate in her support of women’s rights and other noble endeavors.
Her obituary states that Barbara Jean Gallichio Litrell was born in New York, attended public elementary school and Preston High School, a Catholic girls’ school in the Bronx. She majored in French and minored in Education at Good Counsel College in White Plains, New York.
According to her obituary, Barbara taught French for 7 years and then joined the New York Times in the Advertising Department in 1972. She always said the New York Times career experience was a PhD in life.
She moved to magazines and was Publisher of McCall’s, Publisher of Working Woman and Working Mother magazines. Her experience in magazines launched her dedication to women’s empowerment which continued after retirement in 2000.
According to her obituary Barbara and Michael Litrell, married in 1972, moved to Arizona in 2002 to play golf every day! Not long after moving here she became involved in community service. In addition to becoming a real estate agent, Barbara also served as President of the University Women of Sedona, The League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley, and the Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley of which she was a founding member. She always viewed retirement as “re-wirement” to use her gifts and skills in community service to others. She also served on Sedona City Council 2010-14.
Barbara and I had a special relationship as we were both born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She went to Preston Hight School while I went to Cardinal Spellman High School, also in the Bronx. We often shared war stories of what it was like being taught and disciplined by strict nuns and Brothers during our stint in Catholic School.
These last two years have been devastating due to the loss of so many of our own. Barbara’s passing reminds us even more how precious we all are to each other and the community we are a part of.
According to her obituary, she is survived by her husband Michael and her beloved dog Lula; her brother, James Gallichio (Raiona) of North Babylon, New York, along with 7 nieces and nephews and 10 great nieces and nephews, plus many cousins and dear friends.
No service is planned. Contributions in her honor can be made to The League of Women Voters Greater Education Fund, 661 Brindle Dr., Clarkdale, AZ 86324, or your favorite charity.
To plant a tree in memory of Barbara Litrell, please visit Tribute Store
It was quite fitting that she left us on July 4th, a day we celebrate our nation’s independence. Her career, her life, everything she did while here on earth was stellar and exemplary.
We treasure her memory.
She left each corner of tbe world that she touched a bit better. Thank you friend and mentor. Rest In Peace.
Yes blessings to Barbara….
Barbara’s sparkling, incisive wit and intelligence came into this life with her. She developed warmth, caring, competence, astounding abilities to accomplish fully any task, inclusivity, awareness of others and their needs; and their situations, generosity that saturated her every thought and action, and an uproarious sense of humor, She shared on a personal level, and she shared with her community. She could see problems in the community that need to be addressed, and she addressed them with depth, thoughtfulness, and her well-known efficiency.
Barbara was fun to be with. We shared many laughs. She accepted others as we are, with no judgement. She showed herself with honesty and and openness. No pretense. She enjoyed social gatherings as well as she liked intense work, two qualities that don’t often intermingle. She had a depth and a breadth that is rare.
We worked together on several issues regarding the welfare of the community of Sedona. Working with her was like working with a machine that already knew what to do, a machine informed by compassion, vision, humane understanding. As the machine purred in the background, already churning out needed actions, her intelligence gave her the ability to see the whole picture, and all the details. Cooperation, and working with others to achieve goals was part of her way of being. She developed strategies, and shared with others how to implement them, developing plans and actions cooperatively. She expressed her view and understandings clearly, and never as a challenge to others.
We will miss working with her as activists, and relaxing and hanging out with her and her husband, Mike, and we will always be grateful for those times spent together.
Fly free, Barbara, your memory lives in so many of us. Thank you so much for all you are and all you gave.
She was a good partner in the battle to keep 89A under city control. We didn’t win that one and were paying the price today.
A determined fighter.
Rest in peace.
Barbara was such a wonderful person. She worked with my mom many years ago in real estate and I loved hearing all the stories of their adventures. I was lucky enough to have worked with Barbara through the Verde Valley Mental Health coalition educating the community about Autism.
Dad and I send all our love to Mike and Lulu.
Denise and Les Brennan
What a huge loss for our community. I’ve known Barbara since the kate ’80’s.
In 2006, I rented the home that Barbara had built for her father.
Barbara was a true example of terrific women in giving. I had the pleasure of being a neighbor, friend and playing golf with her. Barbara was an inspiration to all who knew her. She will be remembered and missed by all. Condolences to her family. Her legacy will live on.
Barbara was an important part of our decision to move to Arizona. She led a public meeting on transportation options, about 20 years ago. She was the most professional facilitator we had ever seen. We thought that with people like Barbara in town, we should live here! She was the guiding force behind April is Water Awareness Month and helped Jawn and me begin the Sedona WaterWise Alliance with the Sedona Women and Sustainable Arizona, back in 2004. Now it’s a statewide program. She also helped us set up the first Earth Day celebrations at Posse Grounds, so many years ago. She was a constant driver and inspiration to us all, including joining Rabbi Magal in creating Mitzvah Day for us all. Now she’s leading the way to the next plane of existence. I imagine her gathering the other angels together to fix things from on-high.
Our family will always be grateful for her love, care and friendship to our aunt Barbara Mayer. I am sure they are together in the Divine Light of eternity.
What an honor it was for me to be editor-in-chief of McCalls magazine with Barbara as the publisher. She was such an amazing partner, so inspiring and positive, and we stayed friends ever since. She saw the glass half full, no MORE than half full, and she brought such boundless energy and joy into the world. When we were at McCalls and didn’t score a particular piece of advertising business, she would never put the potential client’s back against the wall. Instead she would ask: “What do we need to do differently to get the business next time?” I have used that lesson ever since, and many others I learned from her.
Barbara was more than a friend to me! She was like a mother and a sister all in one! She had a heart of compassion and mercy! It was an honor and a privelege to know her! She is with God and the Angels along with my husband Gordon who just recently passed in May 2021 Deborah Poisson