SHARON — Graveside services will be held for immediate family for Barbara Yvonne Chase, 88, who passed away on August 15, 2011 at her home in Sharon, where she lived for over 65 years.
Born a single child in 1923, “Barb” was raised in Pomfret. She attended schools in Pomfret and Woodstock and pursued academics at various institutions.
Barbara was married to the love of her life, Kenneth Chase, on January 15, 1942.
In 1943 she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where she served in both Florida and D.C. Barbara attended the Marine Corps Institute in addition to her assigned duties as barracks NCO. She achieved the rank of Sergeant in charge of 1,200 female marines. Returning from the military she and her husband became “stockholders” (as she put it) in Sharon.
Barb dedicated her life to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family was more important than anything. She and her husband ran a garage on Route 14, while their children grew up. She was also a Licensed Master Mechanic. Once her children were grown, Barbara began working for the Vermont Department of Corrections, where she eventually became the first female Superintendent of an all-male Correctional Facility in the United States. She retired as the Chief of Training for the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Barb’s greatest joy came from the simple moments she spent with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her insight into children’s creative minds, sports psychology, complex theories or just the simple events of daily life, meant she was a best friend and guide a person could have.
Whether she was composing offbeat cartoons about “Toads warming their bellies in the middle of the road,” drawing caricatures of nature’s various little creatures on any available surfaces, mowing with her John Deere tractor or interacting with people at the local diner, Barb’s unique personality moved us all.
She is survived by her two children, Rhoena Pillsbury of Orford and Michael Chase of Hartland; her nine grandchildren, Rhonda Walz of Sharon, Terri Pillsbury of Boston, Karen Baravella of Canaan, Zina Dana-Howe of Randolph Center, Kelly Dana of St Croix, Robbin Conway of Sharon, Tarken Chase of Williston, Keith Dillon of Wilder, Leah Dillon of Hartford; and her 14 great grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Kenneth Chase.
Barb will be remembered for her honesty, compassion and sense of humor. Even if you didn’t agree with her, she always encouraged you to embrace different ideas or rethink, research and challenge your own beliefs. Her advice for others: “Don’t forget to live. Look at the face in the mirror – smile,” and, “If you can’t – get help.”
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to The Sharon Academy PO Box 207 Sharon, VT 05065 or Hospice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Boardway & Cilley Funeral Home in Chelsea, VT.
This obituary first appeared in the August 25th print edition of the Vermont Standard.
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