Barbara Beatty Reich Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Barbara Held Reich, 84, a real estate agent who helped lead the restoration movement on
Capitol Hill, died Oct. 13 at her home in Washington. She had dementia.
Mrs. Reich was born in Harrisonburg, Va., and moved to Washington as a girl. She was a
graduate of the old Western High School (1940) and studied music and history at
She directed children's and adult choirs at Georgetown Lutheran Church, where her
father, Harold E. Beatty, was pastor for many years. She later helped direct the Montrose
Park nursery school.
After her first marriage, to Peter Held, she moved to New York, where she was a model at
the Bonwit Teller department store and also worked at an orphanage.
Returning to Washington after her divorce, she opened a real estate agency, Barbara
Held Inc., on Capitol Hill in the early 1950s. The eclectic antique decor of her office was
featured in a 1970 article in The Washington Post: The foyer is wallpapered in burlap, the
main office walls are done in unfinished plaster. With soft green carpets, the effect is
She and her second husband, Robert Reich, restored a number of residential and
commercial buildings on Capitol Hill. She received the Capitol Hill Community
Achievement Award and was an early supporter of the Capitol Hill Association of
Merchants & Professionals. She helped establish the Pennsylvania Avenue Progress
Association and helped an effort to restore Eastern Market in the 1970s. She was a
founder of the Market Row Association business group.
Mrs. Reich enjoyed theater and was a founding member of the Friends of the Folger, a
support group for the Folger Shakespeare Library. She often supplied props and furniture
for plays at the Folger.
She was a 50-year member of Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown and was a
Sunday school teacher and member of the vestry. She was a founding member of the
board of the Friends of St. Benedict, which aims to promote the teachings of St.
Benedict, and was a board member of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a group that provides
assistance to at-risk young people.
Her second husband died in 1982.
Survivors include a daughter from her first marriage, Catherine Held of Washington.