Obituary: Barbara Shelby Merello - died February 14, 2014

     Barbara was born to Marian Eikel Shelby and Robert Evart Shelby on Midsummer's Day (June 21) 1932, grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and attended UT Austin. She worked in cultural exchange for the United States Information Agency from 1960 to 1987, in Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru and Washington DC, with short postings at the United Nations, Belgium, Zaire, and Tunisia. The photograph is from 1977 in Argentina.

     She translated 12 books by Brazilian authors of widely different styles - Jorge Amado, Gilberto Freyre, Antonio Callado, Joao Guimaraes Rosa, and Dom Helder Camara - from Portuguese into English for the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, earning finalist in the 1968 National Book Award for translation with Freyre's Mother and Son. For several years she wrote an internationally syndicated column in Spanish called "America Joven", about the interests of young people in the US. Barbara was married to Agustin Merello, an Argentine futurist, in 1976. They retired to Austin, Texas in 1987, where they enjoyed the LAMP program at UT, did mediation and adult literacy, and hosted a Tibetan refugee for his first months in the US. Barbara was a docent for over 10 years at the LBJ Library and kept an eagle eye on local and national politics. They traveled widely, visiting Agustin's family in Argentina, the North American Institute in Barcelona (of which Barbara had been director), her small medieval house in Talamanca Spain, and the town of Tregaron in Wales from which her ancestor Evan Shelby had emigrated in 1735.

     She is predeceased by her husband and leaves her sister Jane Richardson and family in North Carolina, and many Shelby and Eikel cousins in Austin and elsewhere. The memorial service is 3pm Sunday March 2, at Weed-Corley-Fish, 3125 North Lamar.

« »

Barbara, Argentina 1977


Background ...under construction...

"Barbara Shelby Merello: A translator's life in letters", The Texas Writer, May 1999 (view pdf on-screen with plugin, else download)

"Barbara Shelby Merello: ADST_USIA_exit_interview",January 27, 2000 Copyright 2005 ADST (view pdf on-screen with plugin, else download)