Society Pages

In Memoriam: Barbara Beresford, 21 October 1961–13 September 2018

By Deanne Levander | STC Fellow, and Lily Keire

STC Twin Cities Chapter leader and STC promoter Barbara A. Beresford passed away on Thursday, 13 September 2018. She may be gone, but she can never be forgotten. Whatever it was—theater, the violin, STC, animals, rain gardens, technical writing and writers, minimalism, friendships—Barbara immersed herself completely. She was not content to sit on the sidelines of anything.

Barbara leaves behind all technical writers who share the love of making information more accessible. With her insatiable curiosity, Barbara loved to learn and collaborate with people. Her enthusiasm for the field was infectious, and she nearly single-handedly revived the Twin Cities Chapter after it dwindled following the most recent recession. As one local employer said, “I was immediately impressed with her professionalism and sincere dedication to her line of work. These qualities made her one of the best STC leaders of all time.”

As a mentor, Barbara brought student interns into the chapter, helping them create a technical writing identity through their participation in the Twin Cities community. These interns helped to organize files, set up social media channels, write newsletter and website articles, do the backend work for the website migration, and draft official documents needed to run the organization. It was a win-win situation: students gained valuable experience and STC-TC got organized. This was the result of Barbara’s inner drive and initiative.

Two years ago, she promoted an art event on the local public radio station, and based on her recommendation, a group of technical writers and other professionals gathered to listen to an opera in a park. One of her strengths as a leader in the technical communication community was her ability to pull people together to promote the profession and to engage prospective members. She was a speaker, a mentor, a mover, and a shaker.

As the principal technical writer at a biometrics development company, Barbara was responsible for all documentation in the company. She initiated and implemented a help system for vendors, customers, and employees. With her insatiable curiosity, she loved to learn and collaborate with people. She was the subject matter expert who worked directly with developers and marketers to put information that was needed where it was needed. As a team leader at a different company and drawing from her theater background, she steered team members to roles that fit their strengths. One of her former colleagues wrote, “I owe much of my success on that job to Barbara’s leadership.”

Instrumental for keeping the STC Twin Cities community going, Barbara was diligent and persistent, organizing monthly programs that appealed to a variety of members. We are all very sad that she left us so soon and so suddenly, and that we cannot personally thank her for all her contributions. Barbara’s career in technical communication has ended, but her influence on STC—and Twin Cities Chapter members—endures. With gratitude for her help and support, the Twin Cities Chapter and all of STC will miss her.

By Deanne Levander (STC Fellow), Lily Keire (STC-TC President), and other STC members from the Twin Cities community and beyond.

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