Oklahoma City community leader Gene Barth died Saturday after a sudden illness, her husband said.
She would have turned 72 Thursday.
Active in a range of community organizations that focused on the visual and performing arts, health and education, Barth most recently was co-chairman of last month's Integris Foundation Circle of Friends Gala, which raised more than $456,000 for Integris Mental Health, the Integris James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit and its Patricia Price Browne Lecture Fund.
About 700 guests attended the affair, The Oklahoman reported.
Barth's co-chairman was Dr. Murali Krishna, president and CEO of Integris Mental Health and founder of the Center for Mind, Body and Spirit.
Barth and Browne, who died in 2000 and whose name is honored with the Lecture Fund, were good friends, as was another longtime community volunteer, Ann Hoover, who died in 2009, Ed Barth said in a telephone interview Monday.
The three “are redecorating heaven right now,” he said.
Ed and Gene Barth celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in April. She grew up in Birmingham, Ala., but moved to Oklahoma City when she got married. The Barths have three sons and five granddaughters.
“When she came to Oklahoma City, she was Ed Barth's wife, and later on, I became Gene Barth's husband,” Ed Barth said. “I loved to always say that because ... she really became a part of this community in very special ways.”
In 2003, Gene Barth was honored with the Norick-Hulsey Gallery Society Award from Oklahoma City University and later served the OCU Societies.
According to information provided by the family for her obituary, she was a director for the Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, the Literacy Voices for the Metropolitan Library Endowment Fund, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Institute for Breast Health and the Payne Education Center.
She also served on the University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts Board of Visitors, as a director of the Oklahoma Arts Institute and Ballet Oklahoma and as a member of the Contemporary Arts Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as others.
“She really impacted other people's lives in a most remarkable and sensitive way,” Ed Barth said.
“She made most people ... that she came into contact with feel they were important.”
Gene Barth's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Temple B'nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania.