Barbara Brooks Bergstrom
Barbara Brooks Bergstrom
  • September 7, 1932 - November 24, 2017
  • Oviedo, Florida

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Barbara B. Bergstrom, a resident of the Orlando area for more than 20 years, passed away peacefully at home on November 24, 2017. The daughter of Frank Bordwell and Frances Etta (nee Lyon) Bordwell, Barbara was born in Wisconsin, but spent her formative years in Chicago, Illinois, where she enjoyed a career in modeling, banking administration, and cemetery management. She also reached out to women recovering from breast cancer through her specialty prosthesis company Better Than Before.

Barbara was cherished by many and built a lifetime of wonderful memories as she progressed through life. Her greatest joy was being the mother of five children, including dear Melodie who passed in infancy. Barbara is survived by daughter Kimberlee Amling and sons Cameron, Ken and Randy Kuhn, as well as grandchildren Mason, Brooke, Amanda, Brianna, Merritt, Hunter, J.J., Michael, Steven and Rachel. Her immediate family also includes many beloved daughters- and sons-in-law, and dear friend Yami, who was her caregiver and companion to Barbara’s precious dog Honey.

Barbara was educated in private preparatory schools in Chicago and attended the University of Texas, where she majored in mass communications. Following certification by the nation’s most prestigious etiquette and protocol school, in Washington, D.C., she established the International Association of Independent Etiquette and Protocol Consultants.

In the ‘90s, Barbara relocated to Florida, where she established Greetings: Voice – Image – Communications, which became central Florida’s leading etiquette and protocol company with offices in Chicago and Orlando. She quickly became a recognized authority on executive presence and international protocol, enjoying an extensive list of clients that included corporate, charitable, financial, governmental, hospitality, educational and medical organizations, as well as celebrities and entertainers.

She was regularly featured on television and radio talk shows, where her dynamic wit and wisdom delighted hosts and resonated with audiences. In addition, her syndicated weekly column, “Executive Etiquette,” appeared in business publications across the country, including the Orlando Business Journal.

A gifted author, she published a number of books, including Bound for the Boardroom, its Spanish translation Rumbo al Éxito Empresarial, and Don’t Forget Your Keys, which were adopted as “must have” management primers and favorites for corporate training and gift-giving. Her fourth book, “Thanks for Having Me” (and other funny foibles), consisted of business cartoons derived from numerous faux pas observed throughout her career.

A gifted motivational speaker and presentation coach, Barbara was a celebrated member of Toastmasters International, having mentored many members and clubs throughout central Florida. She conducted numerous events at the district, regional and international level and was a four-time Distinguished Toastmaster and a District Toastmaster of the Year.

Barbara was honored for her extraordinary support of the organization with the “Toastmaster of the Year” award for the State of Florida and the Bahamas. She additionally served as Protocol Officer for Toastmasters’ Southeast region, consisting of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and the islands of the Bahamas.

In 2010, Barbara founded Eti-Keys Training Group, LLC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with a mission and vision to help mitigate the crippling pandemic and unfortunate consequences of incivility, criminal bullying, suicide and anti-social behavior among students ages 7 to 18. She developed more than 60 success-based modules, many in Spanish, that today are offered free of charge, locally and nationally, through schools, foster care, the juvenile detention system, as well as community and faith-based organizations.

Through these interactive programs, her hope was that children would learn respect, character, leadership, life-skills, diversity awareness, communications, ethics, social skills, conflict resolution and much more. As a result of her efforts, Barbara enriched the lives of countless youth, many from economically challenged neighborhoods, with the keys to open doors that otherwise would be closed to them. She considered this her greatest legacy, one that will continue with the support of a committed board of directors and advisors, exceptional volunteers and generous partners.

Barbara was very active in organizations throughout the region, serving as vice president and chief protocol officer of the International Council of Central Florida, under the auspices of the U.S. Secretary of State. She was a member the Woman’s Club of Winter Park, West Orange Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Executive Council, University Club of Orlando, and Hispanic Chamber to name a few, and a volunteer for many more. Barbara was a member of First Baptist Church of Orlando where she was active in a wonderful life group and faithfully attended services, endearing herself to many who brought her great comfort during her final journey.

Barbara was interred in Chicago at Willow Lawn cemetery on December 1 during a private family ceremony; however, a “Celebration of Life” in her memory will take place at 10 a.m. on January 6, 2018, at the Henry Chapel located on the main campus of First Baptist Church of Orlando, 3000 South John Young Parkway, 32805 (at LB McLeod Road just off I-4 exit 79). Doors open at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited.

In lieu of flowers, Barbara requested that donations be made in her name to Eti-Keys Training Group, P.O. Box 617554, Orlando, FL 32861.