Friday, April 29, 2016

Remembering Barbara Kingsbury

It is with deep sadness that we learned of Barbara Kingsbury’s passing on April 7 in South Dakota.

As many people connected with Cavendish know, Barbara’s book “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont” is one of our most important "go to" reference guides. In fact, as Coordinator of the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS), her book sits right next to my computer always at the ready for quick consultation.

What I appreciate  about Barbara’s history is not only the incredible research and interviews, but it’s the juxtaposition of the town’s history next to Kingsbury family history. It provides a unique perspective and in the ensuing years since she wrote and updated it, we have found the diary entries from her husband’s family important in understanding current events.

One year everyone was complaining about “sugar season” being “off.” Reading Barbara’s book, which contains the maple sugar production of the Kingsbury Farm for many years, we quickly could see that some years were short, some rather long, with quality and quantity varying. In short, there really isn’t a “normal” season.

Barbara was also part of a group that met weekly to cut out newspaper and magazine articles pertaining to Cavendish. Thanks to this activity,  CHS has a very detailed record of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s time in Cavendish, which was an important reference when writing the children’s biography, “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History.”

When I first started working for CHS, Barbara and her husband Paul were stopping a lot of their volunteer activities. Barbara’s eyesight was failing and one afternoon she wistfully told me how she wanted to be 65 again. “Oh what I could do. There is so much more to write about Cavendish history.”

Barbara you gave Cavendish a great deal, much more than you probably realized. 

On behalf of CHS we extend our deepest sympathies to the last remaining relative on the Kingsbury Farm, Olive Kingsbury, and to Barbara’s family and friends.

Below is the obituary from “The Brookings Register” 

Barbara Kingsbury - Brookings: Nov. 3, 1928 – April 7, 2016

Barbara Kingsbury, 87, died Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the United Living Community in Brookings.

No local services are planned. Eidsness Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Alice Barbara Burkholder was born on Nov. 3, 1928, in Chicago, to Samuel and Grace (Ritchie) Burkholder. She attended schools in Chicago, earning degrees from Northwestern University and McCormick Theological Seminary. Barbara did short-term mission work in Puerto Rico, where she met her husband, Paul Kingsbury from Vermont. After returning to the States they were married on May 20, 1952.

Barbara and Paul became missionaries to South Korea with the United Presbyterian Church. Because this was right after the Korean war, civilian women from the U.S. were not allowed in Korea, so Paul went ahead and Barbara joined him there a year later, sailing out on a freighter ship in 1953. Paul focused on agricultural work and Barbara helped with an orphanage, taught Bible classes and English. She later taught French in the mission school and kept busy raising four daughters. They lived in South Korea for 29 years, most of this time living in Taejon, Andong and then Kangwondo.

Barbara and Paul retired from the mission field in 1982 and moved to Paul’s home farm in Cavendish, Vt. They were active in the Cavendish Baptist Church and local community for many years, feeling blessed to be able to live there and become a part of that church and community. Barbara enjoyed teaching Bibles studies, and being involved with Good Neighbors and the Cavendish Historical Society as well as other local organizations. She did much research and wrote a book on the local history of Cavendish and the Kingsbury family , entitled Chubb Hill Farm. She continued to enjoy bird watching, and identifying wild flowers in the woods of Vermont, as she had done in the mountains of Korea. She made beautiful quilts, enjoyed gardening, visiting her children and grandchildren in various parts of the country, and faithfully kept up with correspondence to friends and family until her eyesight failed. Her deep faith and positive attitude were a blessing to those around her.

Barbara is survived by her four daughters, Ellen (Rob) Stearns of Canterbury, Conn.; Grace (Mike) Muzzo of Downingtown, Pa.; Esther (Peter) Sexton of Brookings, and Alice Kingsbury of Keene, N.H.; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews; and by her sister-in-law, Olive Kingsbury of Cavendish , Vt.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Paul, in 2013, and by her three sisters.

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