THOMASTON — Elizabeth (Betsy) Longmaid Barnard, 82, of Thomaston, Maine passed away peacefully at the Sussman House in Rockport, early morning March 24, 2020 after a long battle with emphysema.
Betsy was born August 1, 1937 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Mary Stokes and Sydney Esterbrook Longmaid. Her dear sisters, Mary (Sunny) E. Erwin and Diane Kelly, predeceased her by several years. She graduated from The Agnes Irwin School, the University of Michigan ’59 (BA in Education) and Indiana University ’76 (MA in Special Education.)
Betsy is survived by her partner Harold Willey, Sr. of Thomaston, Maine, and her four children: Sarah C. Barnard of Millinocket, Maine, Peter S. Barnard of Tamworth, New Hampshire, David E. Barnard of Essex, Massachusetts, and Laura C. Stelmok of Whitefield, Maine.
She was a devoted grandmother to her seven grandchildren: Isabelle Claire Barnard, Chloe Hoehl Shapiro-Barnard, Isaiah Stokes Barnard, Emma Esterbrook Shapiro-Barnard, Ruth Gallagher Shapiro-Barnard, Finian Joseph Hunter Conte and Harriet Conley Shapiro-Barnard; as well as her five nieces and nephews and their children who remained a close part of her life until the end.
Betsy is also survived by Harold’s two sons, Harold Willey, Jr. and Robert Willey.
Betsy had a very successful and enthusiastic career as a high school English teacher in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she lived and raised her family. She developed an acclaimed English program at Cathedral High School for children with learning disabilities. She was an eternal advocate for anyone for whom school was challenging, bringing hope, great humor, learning styles and needed skills to children and families alike. She maintained connection with many of her students well past her retirement. She loved her work and gave herself fully to the futures of her kids. Retirement was not really in her nature, but her call to live in Maine was stronger.
At the age of 9, shovel in her hand, she declared to her family that she would be buried in the soil of Maine, the place she always felt was her home. She moved to Maine full time in 1999 and to Thomaston in 2000. And like spring flowers, her life bloomed here. She came to Maine in part to live in closer proximity to her four children and the raising of her grandchildren. And to her great surprise, the great joy of her life arrived. She and Harold
Willey, Sr., of Rockland, partnered for the rest of her days. Together they built a beautiful life with family and dear friends, gardens galore, travel and a loving home. True companions, the gift of a lifetime, Harold cared for her with steady grace at home until her last few days.
Betsy was most proud of her life as a mother, raising her four children. Her home was always filled with her children and their friends, welcome to all, full of adventure. She was the first one to set out on sledding escapades in blizzards on snow days! She looked forward to summer vacation more even, than her children, loving to spend time together. She gave tirelessly to the passions and challenges of her children. She instilled a deep reverence for the Earth in them, valuing family experience in the wild far more than material things. Through example she showed them all how to surmount great difficulties. She loved all things green and growing and taught her children how to work, how to value others and always how to have fun when the work was done. She adored each of her four children, and she was heard to say repeatedly how deeply she respected and loved them and their children.
At the center of her daily life and the beauty that arrived in her later years, was her devoted participation in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. This community gave deep solace, friendship and support through thick and thin guiding her to a very peaceful last years. And for this she gave eternal thanks.
A celebration of life will be scheduled sometime in the coming months when the weather warms and we are free to move about again.
Family and friends are invited to remember Betsy in her online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com, where they may leave a condolence, share a story or view a pictorial Memorial Video.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.