Gertrude Barris

The former college administrator became a community volunteer after moving to Annapolis

April 10, 2009|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Gertrude "Trudi" Barris, an Annapolis community volunteer and former college administrator, died of congestive heart failure April 1 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Eastport resident was 88.

Born Gertrude Wall in Pittsburgh, she attended Muskingum College in Ohio and the University of Pittsburgh.

She was a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh office administrator who went on to become director of student affairs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she was fondly known as "Dean" Barris. She sat on the school's admissions board.

"She had a very sympathetic ear and was popular with students," said a daughter, Susan Aramayo of San Sebastian, Spain. "She became a force in the medical school."

During this time, Mrs. Barris was a board member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and its Middle States Association.

She retired in 1985 and moved to Annapolis. Shortly thereafter, her husband of 46 years, Roy Barris, a middle school teacher and jazz drummer, died.

She then became involved with community activities and devoted many days to answering tourists' questions at an Annapolis Visitors Center kiosk at City Dock.

"She was fantastic with tourists," said her grandson, Carlos Roy Aramayo of New Haven, Conn. "She really adopted Annapolis as her home and had friends all over the place. At a restaurant, multiple groups would come to her table. She was a very sociable lady."

Mrs. Barris also sat on the Annapolis Human Relations Commission and its state counterpart.

She sponsored two Naval Academy midshipmen and entertained them in her home on weekends and holidays.

"She was like a grandmother to me. She was warm and courageous, and always helped me keep my spirits up," said Dr. Troy Dinkel of West Lafayette, Ind., one of the two midshipmen she sponsored.

She was a past board member of the Caritas Society of St. John's College, the Annapolis Opera, the International Club, the New Annapolitans, the Friends of the Maryland Federation of Art and the Watergate Village Yacht Club.

She was a volunteer with the Historic Annapolis Foundation, First Night, Maryland Hall and the Friends of St. John's College.

"She viewed her years in Annapolis and life in general as an adventure," said her daughter. "She once told me, 'Life is too short to pass up on opportunities to meet interesting people and have new experiences.' "

Mrs. Barris asked that no funeral be held.

In addition to her daughter and grandson, survivors include a son, John Barris of Ocean Pines; and another daughter, Grace Reed of Cambridge.

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