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Barbara Bemis Bloch, 92, died on June 16 at Kendal at Hanover.
She was born January 2, 1921 in Walla Walla, WA to Ruth (Steele) Bemis and Samuel Flagg Bemis IV. Her father, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Sterling Professor at Yale, was also engaged by the Library of Congress and was a USAID traveling lecturer. This brought her to live in Sevres, France for several years of her youth, and to travel extensively in South America in her teens. She returned to pursue Latin American studies at Mount Holyoke, becoming a second-generation Phi Beta Kappa graduate in 1942.
Barbara worked as a cryptanalysist for the Department of the Navy during WWII. After receiving a Masters in Nursing from Yale in 1946, she was a public health and visiting nurse in various capacities in Connecticut until she devoted herself to family and home.
She married Peter K Bloch in 1950, and they raised their three children in Old Greenwich, CT. During her 55 years of residence there, she was committed to civic service and the Democratic Party. She served on the Board of Health, as a representative to Town Meeting for 20 years, and as President of the Democratic Women's Club.
As her children left the nest she developed new interests. She was the director of the Greenwich Oral History Project and became a TESOL teacher after further studies at Teachers College, Columbia University's Manhattanville campus.
After her divorce, she carefully researched continuing care communities and took residence at Kendal in 2003. She had been living in their Health Services Community for the past year, and was grateful for Kendal Centered Compassionate Care, which supported her peaceful passing in complete comfort.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Peter and Kathy Lowe Bloch of New London, NH, Tawwaba (Jennifer) Bloch of Berkeley, CA, and Roger and Cindy Bloch of Houston, TX. Her three surviving grandchildren are Rebecca Bloch of San Francisco, CA, Tom Bloch of Brooklyn, NY, and Alison Bloch of Palo Alto, CA. Her children and grandchildren share her love of learning and commitment to public service.
A memorial service will be held July 13 at 2 PM in the Gathering Room at Kendal - 80 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH. Commemorative donations may be made to Vermont Public TV, VT Public Radio, or NH Public radio, all of which she avidly enjoyed till her last breath.
Published in GreenwichTime on June 23, 2013