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Barbara Osterman Neill

Barbara Osterman Neill

1930-2006

Barbara June Osterman Neill of Ashland died peacefully at her home on Thursday, October 12, 2006, after a brief but graceful battle with cancer. She was 76.

Cremation has been held, and her ashes will be interred in Cambria Cemetery in Cambria, California. There will be no service.

Memorial gifts may be made to Ashland Community Hospital Home Hospice, 1970 Ashland Street, Suite 1, Ashland, OR 97520

She was born May 10, 1930, in Ontario, California, to John Alfonse Osterman of Finland and Anna Margareta Malmsten Osterman of Sweden, the eldest of three children. She grew up in Ontario, California, and Grants Pass, Oregon.

In 1950 in Grants Pass, she married William James Neill of that city, and the young couple moved to Portland after a honeymoon in Carmel, California.

In 1951 they moved to Hollywood, and while Jim, who had been drafted into the Army, spent much of the Korean War posted in Tokyo, she was discovered by photographers Peter Gowland and Eric Herman and became one of their favorite models for magazine covers in the 1950s. In 1953 in Southern California servicemen elected her over Marilyn Monroe as Miss Navy 1953.

She was a costume, swimwear and lingerie designer under contract to 20th Century Fox, Otto Preminger and RKO Studios.

She was the loving mother of two children, Anna and Karla. The family had homes in Cambria and Santa Monica.

In 1990, she and Jim and their daughter, Karla, moved to Ashland to be closer to their other daughter, Anna and her two children.

In addition to her modeling career, she was an accomplished artist and gourmet cook. Her family and friends warmed themselves in the glow of her hospitality, her good humor, and her all-embracing tolerance and love of people.

Survivors, in addition to her husband Jim, include her daughter Anna Baker and her partner Bill Powell of Talent; her daughter Karla Neill of Ashland; her grandchildren Maggie Baker of McKinleyville, California, and Jack Baker of Talent, Oregon; her brothers John "Dick" Osterman of Paso Robles, California, and Norman Osterman of Pine Grove, California; her cousins Marianne and Gordon Roda and their daughter Ashley, of Ashland, and Colleen Zimmer and her family of Fort Collins, Colorado; her niece Kristin Goldthorpe of Fremont, California, and nephew and niece Kevin and Leticia Osterman of Seattle, Washington; as well as many other loving cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her son-in-law, the Honorable John Baker of Alturas, California.

Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home of Ashland handled arrangements. Hospice care was provided by Ashland Community Hospital.

Barbara Osterman Neill