Barbara Townsend Meem

3 entries
  • "I first met “Aunt Barbara” in 2001 when we were neighbors..."
    - Deborah Boldt
  • "I got to know Barbara when she'd call me to grade her..."
    - Cindy Waterworth
  • "My dearest Godmother has been a guide, an inspiration, and..."
    - Ann Mauzy
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BARBARA TOWNSEND MEEM Barbara Townsend Meem of Santa Fe died April 30 at the age of 97. She was born in LaGrange, IL in 1916, the youngest of five children of William and Alberta Baker Townsend. She attended Lyons Township High School and Junior College, where she was a top student, a gifted dancer, and a self-described class clown. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1937 with a major in history and a minor in economics, Barbara moved to Santa Fe to teach at the Brownmoor School (refer to New Mexican article from 9/29/13 entitled "A Wonderful Life"). Here she met James Meem, younger brother of noted Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem. Barbara and Jim Meem were married in 1942, and soon moved to Washington DC for his career at the State Department. Barbara worked as a nurse's aide at DC Children's Hospital during World War II. During their years in the east, Barbara was a homemaker raising their daughter. She also taught history for many years at the Florence Crittenton Home in Washington. The Meems moved back to Santa Fe in 1973 after Jim's retirement; he died in 1999. During her decades in Santa Fe, Barbara served on the board of the Old Santa Fe Association, tutored at Capshaw Middle School, and played bridge with friends. An avid reader and a lifelong learner, Barbara surrounded herself with books, which were valued companions in her later years. Barbara Meem leaves with loving memories her daughter Deb Meem and partner Michelle Gibson, grandson Christopher Johnson and wife April, granddaughter Rebecca Johnson and partner Cole Hundley, great grandchildren Annabelle and Max Johnson, nieces Nancy Meem Wirth and Jane Lake Birt, and a host of other relatives, friends, and faithful helpers. A memorial gathering will be held in the summer. Meanwhile, in lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Barbara Meem's name to the National MS Society, PO Box 4527, NY, NY 10163, or online at, or to Girls Inc., 301 Hillside St., Santa Fe 87501, or online at
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on May 4, 2014
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