Barbara Jean Keegan (1941 - 2019)

5 entries
  • "Barbara had a quiet spirit and great sense of humor. She..."
    - Laurie Wasp
  • "Cris and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Your Mom..."
    - Lynette Coleman
  • "An amazing lady who lived an amazing life. Rest in peace..."
    - Kathy Malsbenden
  • "John D and family. My condolences and prayers to you all. ..."
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Service Information
Wendell J. Butt Funeral Home
42 Washington Street
Penacook, NH
Friday, May 17, 2019
1:00 PM
Boscawen Congregational Church
High Street
Boscawen, NH
View Map

Barbara Jean Keegan, nee Carpenter, 77 died peacefully at the Hospice House, Concord, April 12, 2019. Born in Livingston, Montana July 19, 1941 to the late Lawrence and Ruby (Lawellin) Carpenter, Barbara is survived by her husband of 49 years, John Keegan. Other survivors include her sister Marian Nickleson and husband Ray of Kenai Alaska; daughter Cristina (Keegan) Clapp and husband Anthon and son Camerin of Gig Harbor, Washington; daughter Sarah Ellen Keegan of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Raised 50 miles north of Yellowstone Park on a small family farm, Barbara graduated from Park County High School in 1959, and Eastern Montana College. She then taught for three years in Sydney and two years in Hamilton, Montana.

In 1966 Barbara became a Peace Corps Volunteer. After language, cultural and Outward Bound training in Puerto Rico, Barbara was assigned to teach primary school teachers how to use visual aids with locally available materials in Panama. Through the Education Ministry she travelled throughout western Panama offering week-long seminars to teachers for university credits.

Barbara Carpenter met Peace Corps volunteer John Keegan, in September 1967; they married in June 1970. By that September they landed in Guatemala where John was employed by Catholic Relief Services, as deputy country representative overseeing a food distribution program. Cristina and Sarah were born in Guatemala. John travelled nationwide with his work, so Barbara and the girls often went with him, to seaports on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts; rural towns in the highland interior; and Antigua, Guatemala's original capital.

In early 1973 the family moved to Managua, Nicaragua which had been devastated by a severe earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed two thirds of the city on December 22, 1972. In Managua Barbara worked to train teachers and develop Montessori schools in the slums. The family made frequent forays to the lovely beaches along the Pacific coast where Barbara developed an interest in shell collecting, a hobby she continued throughout their time in Central America and the Caribbean. In late 1975 John was transferred to the Dominican Republic where she enjoyed the amenities of a large cosmopolitan center with a rich history of European discovery and miles of pristine beaches for shell collecting. As the girls grew into school age, they needed educational and developmental services not available locally.

The family returned to Franklin, New Hampshire in 1977, where John's family had a hardware business, available housing, and decent prospects for employment. Their dream was of a small farm where they could grow much of their food, live with a light footprint, instill their girls with an ethic of conservation and respect for nature using sustainable resources. On 90 acres of land in Boscawen they began to build their dream, with the help of family and friends. Barbara found part-time work as a church secretary and bookkeeper. After moving to Boscawen, she became the town librarian for 17 years, where she began a summer reading program, organized readings for local authors/poets of all ages, and opened the doors for reading to a wide audience. Barbara became a Master Gardener, a member of the Merrimack County Advisory Council for UNH Cooperative Extension, taught Sunday school and worked with a small group of like-minded residents to gain approval at Town Meeting to form the Boscawen Agricultural Commission, and later the Community Garden, among other civic endeavors.

Her funeral will be held Friday May 17th at 1 pm at the Boscawen Congregational Church, High Street (junction of Rts, 3& 4 in Boscawen, NH). A reception will follow at the same address. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Barbara's memory to the Boscawen Public Library, 116 North Main Street Boscawen, NH 03303, Five Rivers Conservation Trust, 8 Dixon Avenue, Suite 201, Concord NH 03301 or Boscawen Congregational Church 12 High Street, Boscawen NH 03303 in her memory. The Wendell J. Butt Funeral Home in Penacook is assisting with arrangements.
Published in The Concord Monitor on Apr. 25, 2019
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