Cover photo for Regina Margarita Barker-Barzel's Obituary
Regina Margarita Barker-Barzel Profile Photo

Regina Margarita Barker-Barzel

Regina Margarita Barker-Barzel (née Regina Nikolaevna Poletika) passed away at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia after an 18-year battle with cancer on October 24, 2019, surrounded by her family. Regina fought to overcome the difficulties of the cancer and treatment by her continual study of art and the creation of beautiful paintings, prints, and enamels.

Regina was born in Leningrad, USSR on January 24, 1945 into an intellectual family, the daughter of Prof. Nikolai Poletika and Tamara Natansohn-Eisenberg. Regina was descended from the illustrious Poletika (Poletyka) family of Ukraine and held noble status in the Russian Nobility Association. For three years during her childhood, she and her family lived in exile in Uzbekistan.

Regina earned a BA in music and received her teaching credentials at the Glinka Musical School of Minsk and MA degrees in Russian language and Russian and Soviet literature at the Gorki Pedagogical Institute in Minsk. Due to her political views, Regina was prevented from defending her doctoral dissertation and subsequently became involved with the underground movement.

Regina escaped the Soviet Union in a harrowing journey in 1972, bringing microfilm information that was useful for the United States and Israel. After gaining asylum in Austria, Regina moved to Israel and began studies as an opera singer at the Rubin Academy of Music. During the 1973 War, Regina helped to organize a musical ensemble that gave concerts to the Israeli forces on the front lines. She met and married her husband in Israel, and shortly thereafter, they moved to Ireland where she had the opportunity to study opera with the great Irish soprano, Veronica Dunne. Regina returned with her husband to the United States, where she continued her opera studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After becoming a citizen of the United States, Regina started work at the Central Intelligence Agency and later as a consultant to the State Department.

Regina followed her husband’s work assignments to Spain and later to Italy and there, she focused her artistic energies on painting, being inspired by years of travel throughout Europe, North Africa, Japan, and Israel. During her time in Italy, Regina was named an official artist of the Vatican for her artistic contributions to the Abby of San Vincenzo al Volturno. In 2000, Regina and her family finally settled in Arlington, Virginia, and since then, Regina was active in the local art scene, being a member of many local art leagues and organizations and exhibiting her work throughout the area including exhibitions at Falls Church Arts, Del Ray Artisans, the Torpedo Factory, and the Hermitage Gallery in McLean.
Regina left a huge impression on everyone she met and will be sorely missed. She was a singer, an artist, an educator, and a scholar among her many other talents. She traveled to Israel numerous times to volunteer. Following the Jewish custom, Regina was buried soon after her death at the King David Memorial Gardens in Falls Church, Virginia. Regina is survived by her mother, Tamara Poletica, her husband, William Barker, her children, Raphael Barker, Veronica Barker-Barzel Kelly, and Elena Barker Kerrincks, and a grandson, Dov. In lieu of flowers, Regina would have wanted people to donate to Volunteers for Israel ( and the FBCTOF (Jewish), 5950 12st St Ste 101, Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060-5539.

Services and burial were held on October 27, 2019

The photo on the obituary is Regina Working on Enamels at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia

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