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Barbara L. Wilson

Dec 19, 1918 - Jul 24, 2017

Barbara's Story

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Waterville - Barbara L. Wilson, 98, died peacefully in her sleep on July 24, 2017.
She was born in Bangor on December 19, 1918 to Cecelia and James Welch. Barbara graduated from Bangor High School in 1936. Since she knew that she wanted to be a Social Studies Teacher, she attended Farmington Teachers College from 1936 to 1938, and the University of Maine, graduating in 1940. Later she took courses in education at Harvard University and the University of Maine, earning her Masters in Education in 1948.
Barbara got her first teaching job in part because of her effort in getting a group of Girl Scouts out of a forest fire. During the brief interview, the principal of Limestone said, "Anyone who can get a group of Girl Scouts through a forest fire should have no trouble with a classroom of students." She taught in Limestone in the 1940's, in Stearns from 1941 to 1943, and at Bangor High from 1943 to 1948. In 1948, Barbara married W. Malcom Wilson and they moved to Oregon where she taught for two years. While there, she and Malcom adopted two boys, David and Randy. In 1957, a daughter Susan was born.
Barbara is an example of what a full, active life can look like. She was a patron of the arts, and enjoyed the Portland State Company. As a life-long learner, she audited courses at the University of Oregon, University of Washington, and Colby College. As a volunteer, she organized support for families living with mental illness. These efforts led to the State Alliance of the Mentally Ill, and was instrumental in organizing the "High Hopes" clubhouse which helps people with mental illness reclaim their employment skills. She was on the Board of Visitations at the Augusta Mental Health Institute, being appointed by the governor. She was also active in the Washington Children's Home and the Emergency Food Bank.
Barbara was also involved in the University of Maine Alumni Association, the Waterville Woman's Club and various book groups. She was a faithful member of the Congregational Church where she has been a long time member of the Women's Fellowship.
She was predeceased by her husband William Malcom Wilson, daughter Susan, son David, two brothers Edgar and Paul, and a sister Evelyn. Surviving are a son Randolph of Everett Washington, sister Suzanne Cole and husband Galen, niece Ann Parks and husband George, niece Janet Cross and husband Bill, longtime friends, Caryl Malloy and Devin Seel.
A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, August 13 at the Waterville United Church of Christ, 7 Eustis Parkway, Waterville.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make donations to High Hopes Club House c/o Kennebec Behavioral Health, 67 Eustis Parkway, Waterville, ME 04901 or to Waterville United Church of Christ, 7 Eustis Parkway, Waterville, ME 04901.
Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers-Wheeler, 26 Church St., Oakland, ME.
An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.lawrybrothers.com
Published on  July 27, 2017
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