Barbara Gleason, 55

Longtime YWCA worker

March 13, 2007

Barbara M. Gleason, whose career with the YWCA spanned three decades, died of leukemia Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was 55.

Ms. Gleason was born in Baltimore and raised in Rodgers Forge. She was a 1969 graduate of Towson Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Washington College in 1973.

Since the 1970s, Ms. Gleason had worked for the YWCA of Greater Baltimore, where she held many positions and most recently had been in development. She helped establish and formerly operated the YWCA's Aberdeen Family Support Center. She was a founder of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women and Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.

"Over the years with the YWCA, she became a fearless advocate for women and children," said Amy Grace, a longtime friend. "In Anne Arundel County, she oversaw a job training program helping women returning to the work force to develop the skills they needed."

Her other YWCA activities included founding and operating a transitional housing program for women in Baltimore, establishing scholarship funds and lobbying in Annapolis.

"She made sure the women she encountered were educated about issues and registered to vote," Ms. Grace said.

Ms. Gleason was a longtime resident of the Idlewood neighborhood in North Baltimore and a member of the community association's board.

She was an avid sports fan and was especially fond of the men's and women's basketball teams at the University of Maryland.

Services will be held at noon tomorrow at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel, in the Charlestown retirement community at 701 Maiden Choice Lane in Catonsville.

Surviving are her partner of 26 years, Kathleen A. Ellis; a brother, David H. Gleason of Fells Point; and a sister, Anne Gleason of Rodgers Forge.

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