Barbara P. Arau, 83, died June 18.
Born Aug. 8, 1929, in Atlanta, she was the oldest child of Dr. Colquitt and Elizabeth Pearson. She soon moved to Miami, where her father accepted the position of that city’s first anesthesiologist. She graduated from Guilford College in North Carolina, where she began her writing career as editor of The Argonaut student magazine.
After college, she moved to New York City and began a long writing career as an editor at Outdoor Life and Prentice Hall Publishers. She married her college sweetheart, Garrett Lawton Pettingell, when he returned from the U.S. Navy, after serving as a lieutenant aboard a supply ship during the Korean War.
Her two sons, Garrett Lawton Martin Pettingell and Roger Colquitt Pettingell, were born in New York.
In the 1970s, she moved to Miami and married Anthony Arau, her partner in the direct-marketing business. While living in Miami, she worked as a writer with her sister, Mary Elizabeth, and her brother, David, in his public relations firm. During this time, she developed a love for fishing and painting and often enjoyed both in the Florida Keys.
After a few years in Pennsylvania, the Araus moved to Sarasota, where Mrs. Arau published her first novel, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah,” a food and crime novel set in the Florida Keys. She continued to write personal essays and travel stories for national magazines and newspapers. She was a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as Selby Women Writers.
While living in Sarasota, Mrs. Arau continued to write and to paint. She was working on a second novel when she died. Her many paintings hang on the walls of her friends and family’s homes. An animal-lover from the first time she rescued a dog as a girl, she owned two beloved cats as her last pets.
Mrs. Arau is survived by her sons, Garrett and Roger, and their wives, Tami and Alisa; brother, David, and his wife, Anne; cousin, Earl Barber; and many grandchildren, nieces, nephews and close friends.
A memorial will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at the Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Friends and family are encouraged to attend this celebration of Mrs. Arau’s extraordinary life.
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