Barbara Peary Keirstead, 82, born in Strong to the late Maurice and Marion Peary, died peacefully at home Oct. 13 surrounded by her loving family after a brave battle with cancer.
Barbara graduated valedictorian of her H.S. class and attended Westbrook Junior College. Employed for the last 40 years as a dental assistant, most recently for Dr. Richard Sewall of Wilton, she retired at the age of 77.
Barbara married Stanley Keirstead on Aug. 2, 1980. The couple shared their talents as watercolor artists showing their works around the state at various art exhibits and were active in the UpCountry Artists organization. For years they were responsible for coordinating the annual fall Sugarloaf Arts and Crafts show. The couple enjoyed traveling to Europe, Canada and the United States making lifelong friends wherever they ventured. Her relationship with husband Stan of 39 years was a collaborative and caring one based on mutual support and love for one another. She was determined to care for him at their home for as long as she possibly could, being an inspiration to all and an example of selfless love.
Barbara learned her love of gardening from her father and in turn passed that on to numerous people including her sister, Norma whom she had an especially close relationship with even remembering her sister’s birth in 1939. They were not only sisters, but the best of friends. Norma and her husband Lawrence shared many special times together with the couple up until her final moments.
Barbara raised two daughters with whom she had an extremely close relationship. Besides being loving and caring she was also their friend, confidant and mentor. She also had two step-daughters for whom she cared and loved. She is sorely missed but forever a part of their hearts. Kind and generous, a person who loved spending time with family and friends she was adored and loved by all who knew her. “The sky is a little bit brighter now with one more star in heaven.”
She cherished her grandchildren and they were a pivotal part of her life. All six made special trips from across the country from various states in the last months of her life to express in person how much she meant to them. Her face and eyes would light up when she was with them. She was proud of each one of them. Watching the next generation of great grandchildren arrive brought joy to her.
She is survived by husband, Stan Keirstead; two children, Cheryl Wells and husband Rick Wells, Lynn Mitchell and husband Will Mitchell; two step-daughters, Andrea Keirstead, Kimberly Huff and husband Darryl Huff; sister, Norma Gordon and husband Lawrence Gordon; six grandchildren, Brian Wells and companion Kaity Mahoney, Lisa Hargus and husband Simon Hargus, Steven Wells and wife Nikki Rose Lam, Michael Mitchell and wife Mary Mitchell, Megan Woodruff and husband Evan Woodruff, Benjamin Pierce and companion Melanie Thulin; nephew, Matthew Gordon and companion Kasey Lambert; and three great grandchildren, Saul and June Hargus, Josie Mitchell.
The family would like to give a heartfelt thanks to our wonderful caregivers; Eileen, Thelma, Xristen and Priscilla and hospice nurse, Patti. You made staying in their home a possibility.
Barbara was an avid reader and still had lists of books she wished to get to and was always on the top of the list for the new arrivals. She suggested that remembrance gifts be given to the Farmington Public Library, 117 Academy St., Farmington, ME 04938. A remembrance service will be held on Nov. 2, gather at 1 p.m. with the family, service commencing at 1:30 at the Wiles Remembrance Center, Farmington. A private family committal will be held next summer at Village Cemetery, Strong.
Memories and condolences may be shared on her memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.