Rev. Barbara Ann Bolsen, 72, of Rogers Park formerly of Cincinnati, OH died after a long illness on August 16, 2023. She is survived by her loving brothers David (Kathy) and Bill (Bev); cherished nieces and nephews, Erin, Ken, Marti, Bill, and Lisa; many grand nieces and nephew; goddaughters Julia and Carla, and her beloved dogs Huckleberry (Huck) and Dandelion (Danny).
Barbara graduated from the School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1972. At the American Medical Association, she rose through the ranks from reporter to become the first woman to be named Editor of the award-winning American Medical News. In 1996, she left the AMA to pursue a divinity degree on a full time basis at Chicago Theological Seminary.
An ordained UCC minister, Barbara sought work that would engage her heart as well as her mind. In 1997 she joined The Night Ministry as one of the organization’s first Youth Outreach Workers. She helped launch weekly street outreach events for young people in Lakeview, often appearing on the nighttime streets in her clerical collar to earn the trust of unhoused youth, and was instrumental in establishing The Crib, an overnight emergency shelter for young adults. A tireless advocate for social justice, she was a member of a number of civic organizations, including the Lakeview Action Coalition (now ONE Northside). She also served as President of the Boards of Directors of the Community Renewal Society and the Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation.
In 2020, after 23 years at The Night Ministry, Barbara retired as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement to pursue her interest in photography.
Throughout her life, Barbara traveled extensively, whether for personal pleasure, professional reasons, or while leading church youth groups on mission work in the United States and Central America. She sang in her church choir, officiated at many weddings, belonged to two book groups, and for several decades was an avid skier and sailer.
With humor, an uplifting spirit, and a generous heart, Barbara touched the lives of countless people who are better for having known her and who will mourn her loss.
Memorials in Barbara’s honor may be made to The Night Ministry or Chicago Theological Seminary (https://www.ctschicago.edu/).