Barbara Neustadt, who was the first woman to serve on the Annapolis City Council and later became a well-known lobbyist and political figure, died March 22 of cancer at her Annapolis home. Her family said she was 70, but information she supplied to The Washington Post for her 1990 campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates indicated she was 73.
In her only stint in elected office, Mrs. Neustadt was an alderman on the Annapolis City Council from 1973 to 1977. A liberal Democrat throughout her life, she declared she was seeking office "as a woman, a housewife and a mother." She was the first woman to serve on the council since it was formed in 1709.
In the 1970s, Barbara Neustadt became the first woman to serve on the Annapolis City Council. She worked as a lobbyist after her council term.
As finance chairman, Mrs. Neustadt helped develop Annapolis's first recycling program and often opposed the policies of Mayor John Apostol. In 1976, she was defeated in a bid to be mayor of Annapolis.
Today, five of the nine members of the Annapolis City Council are women, including the mayor, Ellen Moyer.
In a statement about Mrs. Neustadt that was read at Wednesday's council meeting, Moyer said: "The fact that today a majority of this panel are both wives and mothers as well as elected officials is due in no small measure to this bright, capable and very well spoken trailblazer."
After her term on the City Council, Mrs. Neustadt turned to lobbying and was a familiar figure in Maryland legislative circles for more than 20 years. She was a lobbyist for Union Carbide and for companies in the paper and packaging industries. From 1980 to 1998, she was executive director of the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association.
In the 1980s, she formed a public relations firm, Barbara Neustadt and Associates, and was promotion director for Parole Plaza shopping center in Annapolis.
From 1981 to 1984, as executive director of the Anne Arundel County Fair, she was instrumental in moving the fair from Sandy Point State Park to its current location in Crownsville. She also served on the Annapolis Election Board from 1981 to 1985. In her final bid for elective office in 1990, she lost a race for the Maryland House of Delegates.
Barbara Criswell Neustadt was born in Lexington, Ky., and grew up on military posts across the country as the daughter of an Army colonel. She graduated from American University.
A talented pianist, she performed in Georgetown nightclubs in the 1950s. In later years, she was known as an outgoing woman who enjoyed entertaining. At the frequent parties she held at her downtown Annapolis home, she often performed standards and jazz tunes on piano.
Early in her career, she worked at the State Department and in government relations on Capitol Hill for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
In addition to her political activities, Mrs. Neustadt had a wide range of cultural and community interests. She was president of the Annapolis chapter of the American Association of University Women from 1971 to 1973 and was the photography chairman of the Annapolis Fine Arts Festival from 1976 to 1979.
She did fundraising for the Annapolis Opera, the Caritas Society of St. John's College and the HIV/AIDS Volunteer Enrichment Network. She was a founding member of the 21st Century Club, a women's leadership group in Annapolis, and was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis.
An early marriage ended in divorce.
Her husband of 37 years, Herbert M. Neustadt, a longtime professor of electrical engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy, died in 1998.
Survivors include a daughter from her first marriage, later adopted by Herbert Neustadt, Pamela St. John Polgreen of Annapolis; two children from her second marriage, Herbert Mark Neustadt III of Washington and Emily Barbara Neustadt of New York City; two brothers, Phillip Criswell of Annandale and Howard D. Criswell Jr. of Rockville; and five grandchildren.