Obituary: Barbara Elisabeth Heavin

Activist, stylish lover of literature, couture and culture, world traveler

The “utterly amazing, and fantastically stylish” Barbara Elisabeth Heavin, 79, died in her home on June 8, surrounded by many who loved her dearly, her family shared. Her last words were “I’m so happy!”

She was born in Oklahoma City, the daughter of Charlotte and Cleo Bradley. She moved to Southern California in 1998 to be near her family. Here she became an active member of the Claremont community and when out and about, would don one of her many “boho-chic” blouses with coordinated jewelry and bracelets.

Ms. Heavin loved to travel, immerse herself in culture, and savor every memorable meal. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Russian language and literature and adventurously trekked to the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.

Always an advocate for social justice, she participated in the equal rights for women movement in Washington DC, and often reflected on the night she drove feminist icon Gloria Steinem and trailblazing African American congresswoman Shirley Chisholm back to their hotels after an entertaining night on the town.

In her retirement, she played bridge, studied Spanish, and pored over Buddhist philosophy. She was an avid reader and if five minutes passed without conversation, it was likely that she would pull out a book (or iPad).

She volunteered with The Claremont Forum Prison Library Project for more than 15 years, eventually becoming a board member and treasurer for the organization. It was a personal mission of hers to promote literacy and human rights for incarcerated individuals throughout the country.

Ms. Heavin passionately loved her family. She leaves behind her son Christopher Cousins of Valley Village, California; her daughter Charlotte Cousins, a store owner in the Claremont Village; her brother Timothy Bradley and his wife Charlene, of Irvine, California; her grandchildren Conor, Sequoia and Sean; and several nieces and nephews.

Family, friends, and others whose lives were touched by Ms. Heavin are invited to a celebration of life at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 3 at Pickford Auditorium on the Claremont McKenna campus, 500 E. Ninth St., Claremont.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Prison Library Project’s 2019 dictionary drive at, or by check to 586 W. First St., Claremont, CA 91711.

“Barbara remains in our hearts with the memory of her love of life and laughter,” her family shared.


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