Cover photo for Barbara Glew Haythorn's Obituary
Barbara Glew Haythorn Profile Photo
1918 Barbara 2023

Barbara Glew Haythorn

March 30, 1918 — October 23, 2023

Barbara Bainbridge Glew was born on March 30, 1918 in Creston, Iowa at the beginning of the flu pandemic. She joined her older sister, Mary, as the second daughter of Mary Harlan, a former schoolteacher, and Benjamin Arthur Glew, a wholesale grocer.

Barbara grew up in the Waterbury Circle neighborhood of Des Moines, where they moved in 1924. Showing a sense of adventure during her high school years, Barbara flew with her uncle to Long Beach, CA and spent the summer there, including visits to Catalina Island; but wanting to see more of the country, she traded in her airline ticket and returned to Iowa in the fall by train.

After graduating from Roosevelt High School, Barbara attended Ferry Hall Girls School in Lake Forest, IL, returning to Des Moines to be with her mother when her father passed away in June 1937. Barbara subsequently graduated from the Erskine School in Boston, MA. Over the years, Barbara remained in close contact with friends from high school and college.

In 1942, after working for the local phone company in Des Moines, Barbara moved to Washington, D.C. where she took a position with American Airlines as one of the first female employees working in ground operations at the new National Airport in D.C. As a ramp worker (ramp tramp) she guided the airplanes into their gates. It was during her time there she met another American Airlines employee, Joseph Willis Haythorn. They became engaged when he returned from a WWII assignment in Iceland and were married in Knoxville, TN on February 2, 1944. Barbara was first introduced to weaving while visiting Gatlinburg, TN in 1944, saying to her husband, “someday I am going to weave”. 

Barbara and Willis were relocated to the Chicago area by American Airlines in 1946. They chose to live in the Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago, where their two sons were born, Joseph Denny in 1947 and Thomas Benjamin in 1951. The family moved to the western suburb of Clarendon Hills in 1952 where they raised their two sons. 

Barbara became an avid crafter and made beautiful things. She enjoyed weaving on her loom, braiding rugs, knitting, basket weaving, and decoupage. She advanced her weaving skills taking lessons from Ruth Myers in the Chicago area Barbara and Willis were active at Grace Episcopal Church in Hinsdale, IL. Barbara taught preschool, served on Altar Guild, and helped organize the church’s lecture series in the 1960-70’s. 

In 1978, Barbara and Willis retired and moved to Tryon, NC where they built a house in the woods. They were active members of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Tryon and in their community. Barbara further developed her weaving skills and taught at the Tryon Arts and Crafts School for more than 35 years. She was an active member of the D.A.R. and the National Society of Colonial Dames. 

When Willis passed away in 1991, Barbara donated 27 acres of their property to the Pacolet Area Conservancy. She remained in Tryon where she purchased and remodeled a small home in the downtown area and later moved to White Oak Tryon Manor, an independent living community. She made many friends through her church, weaving activities, and significant community involvement.

After 41 years in Tryon, Barbara, at age 101, decided to move to Madison, AL to be near her son Thom and his family. She quickly made new friends at Merrill Gardens, where she continued to live independently as their oldest resident. She was surprised and deeply moved when Madsion City Mayor Finley presented her the City of Madison Proclamation for Barbara Haythorn Day on March 30, 2023 in celebration of her 105th birthday. 

Barbara is survived by son Joseph Denny (Lori), grandsons Samuel (Katie) and Alexander (Riley) and great-grandsons George and Vincent and by Thomas Benjamin (Shirlana), granddaughter Mary Zappe (Richard) and great-grandchildren Charlotte and Oliver. She is preceded in death by her sister Mary and grandson Benjamin Andrew.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a local pet shelter or Humane Society.

A memorial service will be held in the future at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, 150 Melrose Avenue, Tryon, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Glew Haythorn, please visit our flower store.


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