Barbara Sinatra, widow of singer, dies at 90

Published: 7/25/2017 11:19:32 PM

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Barbara Sinatra, the humanitarian, founder of the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children, former model and wife of the late Frank Sinatra died Tuesday in Rancho Mirage. She was 90.

Sinatra died of natural causes, according to a family spokesman.

Born Barbara Blakeley in Bosworth, Mo., her father Willis owned Blakeley’s General Store on Bosworth’s Main Street. At age 18 her family moved to Long Beach, Calif., and shortly thereafter Barbara married Robert Oliver and began her modeling career. Following a divorce from Oliver, Barbara married Zeppo Marx in 1959 in Las Vegas and they settled in Palm Springs. Barbara became Frank Sinatra’s fourth and last wife in a private ceremony at the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage in July of 1976.

Barbara and Frank Sinatra travelled the world for 26 years together until his death in 1998. After moving to Palm Springs in the late 1950s, Barbara Sinatra began an illustrious journey as an activist, especially for children. She devoted much time and energy to the Children’s Center that bears her name and to speaking out on the need for abuse victims to have access to counseling. She was an avid and tireless fundraiser and child advocate, and, as the Center’s Founder and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, intimately involved in the organization’s operations. In her many travels, she served as keynote speaker and appeared before groups and organizations of all sizes on behalf of abused children in England, Australia, Canada, Italy and throughout the United States. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the Princess Grace Foundation.

Funeral arrangements will be announced within a few days. Sinatra is survived by her son, Robert Oliver Marx; his wife, Hillary Roberts; and her granddaughter, Carina Blakeley Marx.

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