Elizabeth M. Barker
1927 - 2021
BORN
1927
DIED
2021
Known affectionately simply as "Betty" to her wide circle of devoted friends and family, Elizabeth Mary Gardiner Barker of South Deerfield, who passed away peacefully on January 25, 2021 at the age of 93, was "modest but mighty," a local philanthropist who quietly shared her good fortune with countless organizations doing the work she believed in; and with the many individuals she met along the way who needed a helping hand. A passionate believer in the importance of community, Betty was particularly devoted to the work of Tilton Library, Dakin Humane Society, Franklin Land Trust, Pioneer Valley Hospice, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and the Greenfield Community College Foundation, in support of the Nursing and Community Access Programs. She gave generous support, including countless volunteer hours, to numerous Franklin County organizations including the Girl Scouts, Board of Organized Work at Franklin Medical Center, and Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. A caring and eminently decent woman, Betty lived a life filled with love and integrity. Humble and observant, yet adamant in her opinions, including the importance of kindness and compassion in day-to-day life, only Betty's closest friends and family were fully aware of the numerous individuals who she encountered and quietly helped through times of need.

Betty was born April 18, 1927, in Toronto, Canada, the daughter of Elizabeth Pringle Gardiner and James Gardiner. Her parents immigrated from Scotland to Canada following WWI, ultimately settling in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where a relative was working at the time, at Miss Hall's School. Betty graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1945 and Becker Junior College in 1947, with training as a medical secretary.

In the Fall of 1956, Betty met Charles Barker on a double-date at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, with Jean Cressy and her fiancé Elliott Barker III, Charles' brother, where the two discovered, among other things, their mutual love of a wide range of music, from classical to 1940's big band, and Dixieland to jazz. They would return to Tanglewood over the years for several performances, and attend productions of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Valley Light Opera.

Betty and Charles were engaged just months after that first date, in January, 1957, and married in March of the same year at the home of Charles' parents. The couple resided in Los Angeles until the early 1960s before relocating to Deerfield, Massachusetts, where Charles joined the family business, Deerfield Plastics Company. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2017. Charles Barker passed away in 2018.

Betty was a good sport and supported Charles in his many passions - sailing off the Massachusetts and Maine coasts; hiking in the Sierras and White Mountains; and downhill skiing on New England and Western slopes. She and Charles shared many happy days traveling the world and summering on the Maine coast. Throughout her life, Betty provided love and nurturing to many dogs and cats who eagerly joined her in the kitchen for the special treats she prepared for them. She was a talented knitter and enjoyed a good crossword and jigsaw puzzle. Among Betty's greatest pleasures were lunches out with friends, sitting around a table, enjoying good food, a hearty laugh and lively conversation. Most of all, Betty is being remembered as a loving wife and mother and a loyal friend to many, all of whom felt her warm embrace.

Betty is predeceased by her loving husband Charles P. Barker; her parents, Elizabeth Pringle Gardiner and James Gardiner; and her brother, William. Left to cherish her memory are her daughter Ann of Whately, Massachusetts; sister-in-law Jean Cressy Barker of Boothbay, Maine; nieces, Sue Barker of Freeport, Maine and Mary Tanzi of New Canaan, Connecticut; nephew James Gardiner, MD of Winchester, Virginia and nieces Jane Midnight of Christiansburg, Virginia and Joan Baker of Fredericksburg, Virginia; and her cousin Irene Pringle of Scotland.

Those wishing to honor Betty's memory with a charitable donation are asked to consider supporting your local library, food bank, land trust, hospice or humane society. A memorial service in celebration of Betty's life will be held when it is safe to gather.
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Feb. 25, 2021.
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7 Entries
Ann -

I have so many fond memories of talking with your Mom, hearing her infectious laugh, and feeling her warm and special embrace. I will never forget my special Thanksgivings with your family.

I know your (and our) loss is profound. She enriched so many people’s lives and will always be loved and remembered by many. As you said, she had a quiet but significant impact in the lives of many.

I am sending my love to you. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sandy
Sandy
Friend
March 4, 2021
Ann -

I have so many fond memories of talking with your Mom, hearing her infectious laugh, and feeling her warm and special embrace. I will never forget my special Thanksgivings with your family.

I know your (and our) loss is profound. She enriched so many people’s lives and will always be loved and remembered by many. As you said, she had a quiet but significant impact in the lives of many.

I am sending my love to you. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sandy
Sandy Erickson
Friend
March 4, 2021
Ann -

I have so many fond memories of talking with your Mom, hearing her infectious laugh, and feeling her warm and special embrace. I will never forget my special Thanksgivings with your family.

I know your (and our) loss is profound. She enriched so many people’s lives and will always be loved and remembered by many. As you said, she had a quiet but significant impact in the lives of many.

I am sending my love to you. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sandy
Sandy Erickson
Friend
March 4, 2021
On behalf of the Becker College community, please accept our sincere condolences on Betty's passing. We keep her family and friends in our thoughts.

The Becker College Alumni Association
Tara Stepanian
Acquaintance
March 1, 2021
Ann so sorry for the loss of your mom. Have lots of great memories of Betty & Charles over the past 50 plus years, some of the best were sailing off the coast of Maine.
Darrell & Terry Cushing
Friend
February 28, 2021
So many things I knew about her and so many I didn't. I do remember the skiing, Girl Scouts, Maine and feeding the cats! Wonderful woman who touched the lives of many. Thinking of you, former neighbor Ann.
Sally Filkins Rivard
Neighbor
February 25, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief, Ann. I did not know your Mom, however, I have many fond memories of you and your father Charles and Deerfield Plastics. My Mom loved you, Ann.
Love and Hugs to you and your family Ann Barker

Teri and Joe Warger
Teri Warger
Friend
February 25, 2021
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