Barbara Jean Bluhm, 87, of Venice, died Wednesday, Nov. 14. 2012.
Barbara was born March 5, 1925, in Chicago, Ill., to Maurice L. and Clara Miller Bluhm and grew up in Winnetka, Ill. on the shore of Lake Michigan. She graduated from New Trier Township High School, attended the College of William & Mary and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1947 with a degree in home economics. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.
As a young career woman Barbara lived in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago before moving in 1962 to New York City, where she resided in Manhattan until she retired to Venice in 1990. In Venice, Barbara made her home at Waterford and for the last several years at Jacaranda Trace.
Barbara began her career in Chicago in marketing with Butler Brothers, Lever Brothers Company and, beginning in 1959, with TMG — The Merchandising Group. She was transferred by TMG to New York City in 1962 and served as personnel director, vice president of field operations and president. She retired in 1990 as chair of the board.
TMG is an in-person marketing communications company with a ready work force of field marketing representatives, uniquely all professional women, promoting the products of corporate clients such as DuPont, Monsanto, American Express, IBM and Elizabeth Arden. Under Barbara’s leadership TMG quadrupled its profits and greatly expanded its client base from textiles and fiber to service, computer, cosmetic, retail and market research firms. In Venice, Barbara was an enthusiastic and active volunteer at Venice Hospital, Venice Little Theatre, the Venice Art Center and The Ringling Museum of Art. She was a member of the College Club, the Venice Yacht Club and Venice Presbyterian Church. Barbara was the most kind, generous, caring, cheerful and optimistic person anyone could ever hope to meet. She was everyone’s favorite sister, aunt, friend, colleague, client and boss. Barbara was proud of having been a pioneering female CEO.
She traveled extensively. She enjoyed the theater, piano bars and contract bridge; was the most enthusiastic of happy-hour participants; and loved to keep up to date by phone with her large network of friends.
She is survived by her sister, Betty Bluhm Boese, of Venice; nephews, Tom Boese and wife, Katie, and Tim Boese and wife, Sue; niece, Beth Gehring and husband, Jack; grandnieces and grandnephews Caroline, Greg, Meredith and Drew Boese and Amy and Jeff Gehring; and several cousins.
Services: A memorial service in Venice is being planned for after the holidays.
Contributions: Gifts in Barbara’s memory may be made to Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto, Venice FL 34285.