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Barbara Christina Veliskakis

December 10, 1939 - July 01, 2024
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Posted by:

Danae Woodward

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Posted by:

Danae Woodward

Report Obit

Barbara Christina Veliskakis

December 10, 1939 - July 01, 2024

Barbara Christina Veliskakis died peacefully July 1, 2024, surrounded by her children and beloved little sister. She was 84. Barbara, or “Mema” to her grandchildren, was a fearless woman, a cherished mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother, loved and admired by her family and countless friends who will miss her boundless energy, wonderful laughter, and steadfast love and support.
 
Born December 10, 1939, in Oradell, New Jersey, to Frederick William and Elizabeth Margaret Gordon Bauer, Barbara had two older brothers, Fred and Bruce, as well as her sister, Christina. Throughout her life she remained close with her siblings, a constant source of love, support, and joy to her until the very end.
 
A lifelong reader and education advocate, Barbara entered high school at age 11 and attended the Englewood Hospital School of Nursing on a full scholarship. As a young nurse in the orthopedics department of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, she met Dr. Konstantin Veliskakis, a dashing world traveler and spine, hand, and foot specialist. The two married in Athens, Greece, May 1, 1965, and went on to work together for more than thirty years, running a busy and successful orthopedic surgery practice on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
 
Despite her many professional accomplishments, Barbara was most proud of her children, Danae (Russell) Woodward, Neobe Velis, and Kosta (Danielle) Velis, and her grandchildren James Woodward, Nathaniel Woodward, Breck Zwanch, Nadja Zwanch, and Athena Woodward (along with her future grandson, due in September). When it came to her kids and grandkids (and nieces and nephews), Barbara was always–enthusiastically and energetically–“all-in.” If her children needed her, she was there in a heartbeat. At school events, she was front and center and always full of praise. At soccer, baseball, and rugby games, she was perpetually her grandchildren’s biggest fan. 
 
After her husband’s death in 2005, Barbara devoted her time and energy to her family and to the causes and charities she supported. She volunteered at soup kitchens and bird sanctuaries and bravely escorted frightened women seeking reproductive healthcare as they walked a gauntlet of angry, screaming protesters.
 
Barbara had a built-in aversion to bullies and hypocrites. A lifelong New Yorker, she despised Donald Trump and feared his return to power. As she had in New York, Barbara naturally tried to walk everywhere, including her decidedly pedestrian unfriendly neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was quick to point out dangerous intersections and too-short crossing signals to the local police.
 
Full of kindness, generosity, and quick to praise, Barbara made friends wherever she went. All who knew and loved Barbara will surely miss her warm spirit, willing laughter, and wide smile. We mourn her loss and will carry her in our hearts forever.
 
The family is planning a celebration of Barbara’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Barbara’s memory to the Wing Haven Foundation, the bird sanctuary and garden where Barbara volunteered. Gifts can be made online (https://winghavengardens.org/give) or mailed to 260 Ridgewood Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28209. 
 
 

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Condolences 3

Tiffani Greene Danae, as I read the beautiful tribute of your mother it is evident that all her beauty, strength and compassion are fully reflected in you. Sending all my love and blessings to you, your family and your mom.
15 days ago

Rita Murillo-Wallace She was a strong, remarkable, compassionate, courageous, and smart woman. It was an honor for me to have met her. She is going to be missed by many. Rest in peace, Barbara.
20 days ago

Ruth Mayer What a beautiful, elegant, descriptive obit! And what a life! Love to all who loved Barbara.
20 days ago

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