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Barb grew up in Bucksport, the 5th and final child of Morgan F. Leach and Eleanor R. Lozier. She had fond childhood memories of time spent at Mt. Tuck Farm in Prospect, where her maternal grandmother Sabra Stinchfield worked each summer. She graduated from Bucksport High School in 1970 and attended the University of Maine. After the birth of her first daughter, Barb taught childbirth classes in Blue Hill and served as a birth coach for many area women. In 1980 she began her 30 year career as the secretary at the Adams School in Castine, a job she was well suited for and very much enjoyed. She nurtured and shepherded children and their families from Kindergarten step up day through 8th grade graduation, applying countless band-aids along the way. She was honored to witness over 240 students graduate from Adams School. Parkinson's forced her early retirement in 2010, otherwise she would likely still be the secretary today. She had many close friends among her colleagues at the school including Marj Babcock, Wally O'Brien, Kristina Ryeberg, Julie O'Neil, Ginger Manna, Jeanna Tuell, Cheryl McFadden, Cheri Pelletier, Tracy Lameyer and Todd Nelson.
Music was an important part of Barb's life. When her children were young she entertained them and herself by playing guitar and singing Beatles songs. She was a lifelong flute player, performing in Adams School concerts, and was a founding member of the Castine town band. She will be forever grateful to the late Dick Starke for his enthusiasm for music and his ability to convince people to join the band.
Barb was a great cook, feeding her family home cooked meals and all manner of goodies baked from scratch. For many summers she cooked breakfast at the Castine Inn, for both Mark Hodesh and Tom Gutow. She also worked in the kitchen at Kneisel Hall for Nancy Carr. Her work ethic and careful attention to detail instilled confidence in all who worked with her. These qualities also made her an excellent seamstress; her children and grandchildren never went without hand made flannel pajamas.
Barb was happiest in the garden, growing both vegetables and flowers. Countless jars of beans, tomatoes, jam, and pickles were put up over the years. She inherited Louise Biggie's flower cart and sold flowers at the end of her road for several years, taking great pride in the arrangements.
When Barb's children became active with the Cold Comfort Theater company, Barb jumped in to support them, joining the board of directors and serving as secretary. When she married an avid cyclist she started riding too, and could often be found completing the eight mile circuit around 'the square' off neck in Castine. She and her family completed several Tour de Cure charity rides on MDI as well and enjoyed biking the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. When her balance deteriorated and it became hard for her to ride a regular bike, she switched to an adult sized tricycle and rode the one mile dirt road where she lived virtually every day.
Barb's first marriage to William O'Malley Jr. gave her two daughters, both of whom went on to become educators and of whom she was very proud. She always maintained a good relationship with her former mother in law, Lib O'Malley and sister in law Jane O'Malley. Barb went on to marry Rob Thomas, who remained by her side through thick and thin and was with her at the time of her passing. Of all of the important people in her life, the most delightful to her were her two grandchildren, Caitlin and Will. They were the lights of her life and the apples of her eye. 2:30 in the afternoon was the most important time of the day for Barb, when the school bus would pull up and her grandchildren would climb off and run up the drive way to where she sat waiting their arrival on the porch, rain or shine.
She is survived by her husband Rob; daughters Sarah Jane O'Malley and her husband Dick Chasse of Sedgwick, and Mary Elizabeth Tobey and her husband Todd and their children Caitlin and Will of Castine; brothers Albert F. Leach and his companion Charlene Hunter of Orland and daughters Dianne and Joanne, Dennis F. Leach and his wife Ronnie of Homer Alaska and daughter Anna; sisters Venora Cote of Bucksport and her children Debbie, Jim, Bruce, Karen, Kevin and Cheryl, Faylene Cunningham and her husband Jim of Searsport and sons Mark and Daryl; sister in law Laura Sullivan and her husband Jim of Tucson Arizona; special cousin Sabra Dow of Newburyport Massachusetts; and devoted canine companion Maple. Barb was predeceased by her father Morgan, her mother Eleanor, her stepfather Stafford Lozier, mother in law Lillian Thomas, aunts Venora Dow and Josephine Matthews, nephew Radford Dunbar and two devoted canine companions Kenai and Sapphire.
Barb asks that you not be sad, but rather happy for her. She was able to live out her days in her home thanks to the efforts of her husband Rob, daughters and team of attentive caregivers including Stormi Wentworth, Lori Zaehring and Liza Kling. Please find comfort in the knowledge that she is now released from the injustice of her illness. She requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation (https://www.michaeljfox.org/) in hopes of one day finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease. A celebratory service will be scheduled in the spring. Arrangements in the care of Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home and Cremation Services Bucksport. www.mitchelltweedie-young.com
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