B. Firestone; Arts Patron, Philanthropist

December 19, 1985

Barbara K. Firestone, philanthropist and wife of industrialist and former ambassador Leonard K. Firestone, has died of cancer. She was 70.

Mrs. Firestone, a third-generation San Francisco native, died Tuesday night at her Thunderbird Country Club home in the desert city of Rancho Mirage, family spokeswoman Tracey Priestley said Wednesday.

Mrs. Firestone had been active in the creation of the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. The bookstore at the alcohol-chemical dependency treatment center was named for her, Priestley said.

Mrs. Firestone was born Barbara Knickerbocker in San Francisco and was known to friends as Nicky.

Hosted Presidents

Her first husband, Stuart A. Heatley of San Francisco, died in 1964, and she married Firestone in 1966 and moved to Los Angeles. Firestone's first wife had died in 1965.

After Firestone's ambassadorial appointment to Belgium in 1973, the couple relocated to Brussels and hosted Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford at embassy functions there.

Mrs. Firestone, a member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Council of Performing Arts and a trustee of the Palm Springs Desert Museum, was named Woman of the Year in 1977 by the National Art Assn. of Los Angeles.

Survivors include her husband and four daughters by Heatley, three Firestone stepchildren and 19 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held after New Year's at All Saints Church in Carmel, Priestley said. She added that the family requests that memorial gifts be donated to Turnoff Inc., a home for chemically dependent teen-agers, in care of Barrett Consultants, 69844 Highway 111, Suite C, Rancho Mirage, Calif., 92270.

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