Barbara A.H. Jordan, Housing Advocate

July 27, 1936 - Sept. 06, 2017
Barbara A.H. Jordan, July 27, 1936 - Sept. 06, 2017

Barbara Ann Herber Jordan of East Hampton, who immersed herself in local campaigns for affordable housing and other social causes, died at the age of 81 on Sept. 6 at San Simeon by the Sound in Greenport. She had had several health problems in the last two years, culminating in cancer.

Mrs. Jordan, whose husband had bought a house to retire to in East Hampton in 1981, settled here four years later. She had been a teacher and guidance counselor before retiring, and after settling here became an affordable housing advocate as vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Housing Authority and with the East Hampton Town Housing and Community Development Department. An active parishioner of the East Hampton Methodist Church, she was involved with Maureen’s Haven, which organizes shelter in local churches for the homeless. She also was a member of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, serving as president for two years, and, as a volunteer, ran Guild Hall’s Clothesline Art Show for 10 or 12 years, until ill health interfered.

She was born in the Bronx on July 27, 1936, and was adopted by the former Winifred Myles and Robert Herber. The Herbers had taken in her biological mother, a neighbor’s daughter, who was pregnant at 18. They kept in touch with her for a time after adopting the baby.

Mrs. Jordan’s adoptive parents “instilled in her a very good work ethic, to help others, and a very strong faith,” her daughter, Pamela Ogno of Valley Stream, wrote. “She had a great affection for all of her family and friends and would do what was necessary to help. She will be missed by many.”

As a high school student of 16, she took a job at Macy’s in Manhattan and so impressed the management that she was put in charge of the employees’ saving program. She put the money she earned aside for college. She graduated from Walton High School in the Bronx when it was still an all-girls school and went on to Drew University in Madison, N.J., where she earned a bachelor of arts degree, the first of two. She received her second B.A. from Long Island University’s C.W. Post College, where she also completed a master of science degree in psychology. She went on to earn an M.S. in education at St. John’s University in New York City.

Mrs. Jordan began her career as a social studies teacher in 1959 at Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School. In 1977 she became its guidance director. She was living at home in New Hyde Park with her parents when, on a blind date, she met her future husband, whose first wife had died. In East Hampton, they enjoyed boating, sailing, and target shooting.

Mrs. Jordan had always thought she had been adopted but was not told until she was an adult. Her husband had urged her to find her biological family and she had made several efforts to do so. It was not until shortly after her husband’s death that she learned the name of her birth mother, but she had died two weeks earlier. Mrs. Jordan also found and got to know a half sister and three half brothers as well as many nieces and nephews.

Arlene Hinkemeyer, the vice president of the League of Women Voters, said of her colleague and friend, “She was someone who did so much good in the world, not only serving on boards, but actually effecting social change, for example by producing a video in 2006 and taking it on the road to speak to about 25 community groups about the need for affordable housing in East Hampton. . . . and by starting the program and gathering the supplies to house the homeless on alternate Friday nights in the winter at the East Hampton Methodist Church. Her life force and personality made her a person who is sorely missed.”

In addition to her daughter, who was named after an English nurse who had saved Mr. Jordan’s life in World War II, Mrs. Jordan’s sister, Mary Ann Donnelly of Riverhead, and her brother, Harry Morrison of New Haven, survive. Two other brothers, Doug Morrison and Bill Morrison,  died before her. Two adopted grandchildren and many nieces and nephews also survive.

Mrs. Jordan was cremated. Her ashes will be buried next to her husband’s at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale. A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced, and memorial donations have been suggested to an organization of one’s choice.