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Spotlight Member: Barbara Egr 

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Tell us about you? 

I was born in Illinois but raised in Omaha. I love the Midwest and the changing seasons. I was the “surprise that turned into the blessing.” (my parents’ words)! My grandmother lived with us and we hung out together a lot. 

Emmett and I knew some mutual friends who introduced us. We have nine grandchildren and three children. 

I went to Metro and was trained as a commercial artist. I worked for the Yellow Pages way back when. However, I felt “the call” to become a teacher in my 30s. How great is it that we live in a country where we can return to college at any point in our lives? So, I returned to college and earned a teaching degree. 

I taught first grade for 15 years. After my brother passed in 2012, I took a hard look at my life and decided I would leave the classroom and sub. I was working about 70 hours a week and I was afraid I would be so busy I would not participate in my grandchildren’s lives. I wanted them to know me and I wanted to know them! 

About three years ago, I joined the Passageway Gallery in Omaha’s Old Market. It is a co-op gallery, and everyone is quite helpful in teaching artists how to grow. Last year, just before Covid-19, I joined Nebraska City’s Self Expressions Gallery. Both galleries have been a lot of fun! 

Tell us about your history with Omaha Artists, Inc? 

My mother passed before I was 30. At that time, I knew a fellow artist, and some of you know her, too. Her name was Maxine Tatreau. She became my “adopted” mother. She had been a member of OAI, and she encouraged me to join when I left the classroom. 

What do you like most about this organization or the people? 

I love the membership! We are fortunate to have a diverse group – some of our artists are professionals while others are just beginning the journey. I am a people-person. It is from others I gain energy and when we meet for Fun Shops or general meetings to learn about others, I draw a star on my calendar for a “red letter day!” Remember, if you’re not enjoying this thing called “life” then you’re doing something wrong! Now, of course, we all have bad days and even chapters in life, but OAI adds spice to life for me. 

Anything you would recommend to new members or those thinking of joining? 

Let us know you want to get involved, please! We are looking for three people, right now, to help on an easy committee! 

Tell us about a couple of your favorite books you have read (name and author)? 

“Business Boutique” by Christy Wright and “First Phone Call from Heaven” by Mitch Albom 

What are your travel experiences? 

Our family camped all over the Midwest as I was growing up. I saved up my pennies and visited relatives in Germany when I was 20. I have visited many, many National Parks, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean 

What are you known for? 

I am tall, patient, kind, and cannot tell a joke, although sometimes I am naturally humorous! 

What skills would you like to learn? 

I love watercolor. It is a goal to keep some areas of the composition negative and just keep the white paper. 

Has anything or anyone changed your life? 

I believe my parents had a huge influence on my attitude. They were positive and saw problems as “stepping stones from which to grow”. When I asked my father what he thought about me returning to college to become a teacher he said, “Go for it, kid!” 

What is your favorite quote or saying? 

Be positive...it’s my blood type and motto for life!