In Memoriam: Barbara Saint Denis


Lakeside resident Barbara L. Saint Denis, who was known around the world for her art, died Feb. 27 after a long and productive life. Born in Sept. 1928 into the Dion family, the
Muskegon native married Don Saint Denis, also an artist. She is survived by three children: Peggy (now Scouten), Michele (now Hecksel-Golightly) and Richard; and by ten grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

Her works in bronze and in enamel and fused glass are in many impressive collections around the country, including the Smithsonian, but perhaps her most famous is shown above.

“Mary, Mother of the Church” is still on display at St. Francis de Sales Church. The cleverly composed sculpture has a hole where the womb would be, and the piece is placed so that the crucifix on the altar can be seen through it (shown at right).

At left is a picture supplied by the staff of St. Francis, which shows Saint Denis standing with her sculpture and the famous architect Marcel Breuer who designed the imposing church. (Many thanks to Jeanne Vollmer for obtaining this historic photograph.)

Saint Denis was also a trustee for Muskegon Community College, and was named Business Woman of the Year 1978.

A Celebration of Saint Denis’s life will take place June 8, 1:00 p.m. at The Vikings. Those wishing to honor her memory by giving may send contributions to: Juvenile Diabetes Association, 4595 Broadmoor Ave. SE Ste 230, Kentwood, MI 49512.