It’s never easy to lose a dear friend and the loss of Barbara Steiker to me is especially painful.
When I was a novice doll collector (I hadn’t sculpted my first doll) I met Barbara at New York City’s National Toy and Doll Collectors club. In a sea of intimidating expert collectors, one friendly person welcomed me-Barbara. She was a force in the club, having been President numerous times and she was extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of dolls. She immediately made me feel welcome and our friendship developed. Barbara was the first person I showed my orginal dolls to-and I knew she would be honest in her critique. She liked my dolls and encouraged me to become involved in the organization that would change my life, NIADA. She had a love for artist dolls like no one else I’ve met-she loved the artist just as much. We would spend hours talking about the work of her favorites.
All of us who knew Barbara experienced her passion for NIADA. She took the organization very seriously and her role of Patron Chairman was a highlight of her collecting life. She truly lived and breathed NIADA; and along with the UFDC convention, the NIADA convention was something she looked forward to all year long. As supportive as she could be, she could also be NIADA’s strongest critic. If at any time, she felt that the organization was taking a wrong turn, she would be vocal about her disapproval,-just like a mother trying to guide her child.
I’ll never forget our trips to doll shows, the anticipation of the NIADA convention, her interest in doll art and the doll artists and her absolute and complete loyalty to her friends. She was so proud of her family-anyone who knew her knew about her children and grandchildren (how she loved to talk about Tara and Lisa).
The doll world has lost one of its greatest champions and I’ve lost a dear friend. Barbara will be missed.
~ Robert Tonner