Barbara Jane Baumhoefener Pesch died peacefully on May 21 after complications from Parkinson’s disease. She was 92.

She was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Karl and Helen Baumhoefener in 1931. She was the second of two children, after her older brother John.

She began her studies in botany at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. She later transferred to Washington University of St. Louis, from which she graduated with honors.

Barbara married Roy Pesch in 1955 and raised three boys: Chris, Brian and Daniel. They moved frequently as a family, including stops in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, New Jersey, California, New York and Illinois.

During their travels they frequently visited Martha’s Vineyard and, in 1972, purchased a home in Chilmark. Barbara went on to make the Vineyard her primary home over the years to come. She not only loved the Vineyard for its natural beauty and ample birding opportunities but also its people. She struck up numerous lifelong friendships and becoming an active voice for conservation and stewardship of the Island’s natural resources.

Her conservation efforts included participating in the Martha’s Vineyard Christmas Bird Count for more than 30 years, being a founding member of the Black Point Beach Association and establishing the Pesch Pole, which still stands near South Road to welcome nesting osprey each year.

Her friendships and interests led to the co-authorship with Susan B. Whiting of Vineyard Birds, first published in 1983 and which had a second installment published in 2007.

Barbara was an avid botanist, ornithologist, author and photographer, and her career focused on educating and sharing her passion for botany. She worked as the editor at Sunset Books in Menlo Park, Calif. and published numerous educational works on gardening.

She worked for botanical gardens in Chicago, Brooklyn and St. Louis and led expeditions through many gardens, including those in the Galapagos and Ireland.

As her family grew, she began to split time between the Vineyard in the summer and Denver in the winter to be close to her six grandchildren. She would host them on the Vineyard, often treating them to fried delicacies from The Bite and soft serve at the Galley. She was extremely proud of her family and while she was living at the Henrietta Brewer House, she often bragged about her great-grandchildren to anyone she could.

She leaves behind a lasting legacy on the Island through her conservation efforts and educating others. It will continue to benefit the Vineyard community for years to come.

Barbara is survived by her sons, Chris, Brian and Daniel; grandchildren Tessa, Alex, Meghan, Olivia, Ryan and Patrick; great-grandchildren Rosie, Sloane and Rory; and her beloved cat Coco.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 14 Ben’s Way in Chilmark. Her family would appreciate that people attend to honor Barbara’s life and accomplishments. Those unable to attend may share stories or photos to