Barbara's Story

CASTINE - Barbara Young Tenney, of Castine, passed away peacefully on December 3rd at age 91. Barbara, fondly known to friends and family as Beebs or Beebe, was born on June 1, 1923 in Lawrenceville, NJ, and grew up with three older brothers in a lovely home called Rosedale, in Princeton, New Jersey.

Her family visited Castine for the first time in 1928. It became their beloved summer retreat. There she met her future husband, David Tenney, whom she married in 1945. Living in Milton, Massachusetts, they raised four sons: David Jr, Donald, Peter and Bradford.

Barbara had many talents and interests. She delighted in singing show tunes (My Fair Lady,Camelot, The Sound of Music, The King and I) and her lovely voice, always on key, is remembered fondly by her family, even when it was Oklahoma's rousing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" with which she would awaken her sleeping teenage sons on summer mornings. Barbara also had an artistic flair, whether it was creating a watercolor painting in a Frank Hamabe workshop, or decorating a birthday cake, she was always able to capture an image in lovely detail.

Barbara was enthusiastic about seasonal sports. She enjoyed golf, tennis, swimming, sailing, figure skating and alpine skiing. Many of Castine's younger baby boomers fondly remember taking swimming lessons Barbara offered at the Castine Swimming Pool on the Back Shore. As a popular classmate and leader at the Westover School in Connecticut, Barbara had become a captain of her field hockey team.

Barbara's volunteer spirit was exemplary and extended beyond her immediate community. She was active in St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Milton, and also devoted many volunteer hours at Sherrill House, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Boston, as well as at Massachusetts General Hospital working out of the chaplain's office. A special focus of hers was the Roxbury Community School, an independent elementary school dedicated to improving the quality of early education for inner city children. There she served as a tutor, advocate, and benefactor for several years.

Another special interest involved the youth prison population, and her concern that incarcerated individuals were unjustly denied the means to prepare for post-prison careers. Barbara worked, with support from St. Michael's, to become the patron for an aspiring young artist named Alan who was serving a brief sentence. His studies at the Massachusetts College of Art led to a very successful career as an artist and commercial illustrator. To this day, he recalls her role in his life with devoted affection. Summer vacations in Castine provided Barbara with more volunteer opportunities. She was active in the Castine Golf Club and Yacht Club, and worked with the women's committee in organizing the annual Rummage Sale, as well as the golf club's Field Day, a day for children featuring sports and games of skill and coordination.

An enduring memory family and friends recall is of Barbara's cheerful kindness, and the comforting hospitality she extended to everyone. She always enjoyed a social gathering (as well as a good debate), and never hesitated to invite a new acquaintance into her home.

Barbara leaves her sons David and his wife Catherine of Kennebunkport, Maine; Donald and his wife Marty of Castine; Brad and his wife Laurie of Castine; and Peter and his wife Alexandra of Lyme, New Hampshire; three granddaughters: Sarah Stammen and her husband Jeff of Woburn, Massachusetts; Leah Keating and her husband Eamon of Arlington, Massachusetts; and Lauren Tenney and her husband Bryan Flewelling of Kennebunkport; and one great-grandson, Alden Stammen, of Woburn.

A memorial service is being planned for early August of 2015.

Contributions in Barbara's name may be made to The Hatch Community Youth Fund, at P.O. Box 195, Castine, ME 04421. The Fund was created in 2012 to develop and financially support a wide exposure of sports opportunities for the children of Castine, and those of neighboring towns.

Arrangements are under the care of Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home and Cremation Services Buckport.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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