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Barbara L. Gilbert

Barbara's Story

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Islesboro - Barbara L. Gilbert, 95, died in her sleep on December 13, 2017, at the Boardman Cottage on Islesboro. Just the way she wanted to go, though she'd been getting quite perturbed that God was taking so long to bring her home!
Barbara was born in Rockland, ME, the eldest of the three daughters of Ethel and Warner Philbrook. Ethel was a loving but stern parent and Barbara felt closer to her father. Her happy childhood was in large part due to this exceptional man who was way ahead of his time. A machinist by trade, he could turn his hand to anything and created jewelry and beautiful wooden boxes and furniture for his cherished girls. It was a loving, sheltered upbringing which perhaps left her unprepared for life's hard knocks- of which she had more than her share.
Barbara was smart and had a head for numbers (though she would never have given herself credit for either). She would use her allowance to buy magazines of house plans and "correct" them, a practice she continued until late in life. She probably would have been a good architect, but that is not what middle class girls from Rockland, Maine, did back then. Instead she decided, upon her graduation in 1940 from Rockland High School, that she would train to be a nurse. However, the doctor who conducted the required physical exam pronounced her too frail for the job and told her she would die young! Though she regretted the thwarting of her higher education, she took pleasure in the thought she proved him so entirely wrong!
Barbara was married three times, saving the best until last. In 1970, she met and married Manford Gilbert. A salesman with American Steel, Manny wanted nothing more than for her to accompany him on his travels throughout Maine and Canada. Formerly both a Girl Scout leader for her daughter, and a Cub Scout leader for her son, she loved camping, and she and Manny spent as much time as possible in various remote locations listening to loons on a lake and fly-fishing. Like any marriage, it was not without glitches, but at last she felt cherished again.
She lived in their home for 18 years after Manny died, taking care of herself and the property, just fine thank you! Following rehabilitation after major surgery, she spent the last three years of her life at the Boardman Cottage on Islesboro. Nothing could measure up to her own home, but she liked Islesboro and enjoyed making new friends, exhausting the library's collection of large print books, and sitting on the porch in the summer, as she said "watching the world go by." Having never missed a vote, she was delighted when one of the Town clerks made a house call for the residents so she could vote against Donald Trump who she labeled a "disgusting liar."
Barbara was predeceased by her two younger sisters, Bea and Margaret; her husband of 25 years, Manny Gilbert; her stepdaughter, Betty Aston Reid; and stepson, Gordon Aston and his wife, Janet. She is survived by her sons, Donald Aston (Christine), Derek Aston and Warner Aston (Laureen); her daughter, Maggy Aston Willcox (Peter); and her beloved grandchildren, Jeff Andrews (Gloria), Michael Andrews, Kathy Andrews Walker, Margie, Jim and Ken (Sharon) Aston, Donald Aston Jr., Cheryl Aston Gardiner (Peter), Nate Aston (Cinnamon), Cristine Aston, Christopher Aston and Skylar Purdy (Marianne). She is also survived by a growing flock of great-grandchildren, David Andrews, Jillian Andrews Dubois (Brandon), Sarah Walker, Dan Walker (Roxanne), Mariah Aston, Deanna Aston, Makayla and Natalie Aston, and Benjamin Aston. She narrowly missed her first great-great-grandchild due to arrive in March.
Arrangements were through Burpee/Strong Funeral Home in Rockland. At her request, no funeral service will be held. A private scattering of Barbara's and Manny's combined ashes will occur in the spring.
Those wishing to honor Barbara can send a donation in support of Boardman Cottage, 131 Main Road, Islesboro, ME 04848.
Published on  January 14, 2017 in
Bangor Daily News
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