Barbara Cegelis

Obit- ISL- CegelisSOUTHWEST HARBOR/FORT MYERS FLA. – Barbara Cegelis, 68, passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 6, 2016.

She was born on Sept. 3, 1947, in Fayetteville, N.C. In 1959, Barbara and her family moved to Fort Myers, Fla., from Cullowhee, N.C. Barbara graduated from Fort Myers High School in 1965, attended Edison Junior College and received her bachelor’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University.

She later earned a master’s degree in special education at University of Maine-Orono and also studied at New England Montessori Institute in Beverly, Mass.

As a young adult, Barbara developed a passion for education. There was nothing more exciting for her than to see a young mind opened to discovery and understanding. Her pride and joy was Island Montessori, of which she was owner and director for 16 years from 1991-2007. It was here that she found her true calling and fully embraced the Montessori philosophy and her belief in the inherent abilities of children. She herself was a student of life and was always eager to learn new things.

Barbara first saw Mount Desert Island in 1971 and immediately knew in her heart it was home. It was here that she cultivated her deepest friendships and love. In 1984 she met her future husband, Rick, while she worked on the outer island schools for Union 98. On Sept. 19, 1987, they were married on board the Sea Queen off of Bear Island Light. For evermore Barbara referred to the vessel as the “Love Boat.” Over the years their love endured many trials and sorrows and enjoyed many triumphs and successes. Although separated at the time of her death, they remained deeply in each other’s hearts.

Barbara loved life. Her many interests included dancing, travel, her kitties, writing, painting, camping, cooking and gardening. She was a fierce and loyal friend and she treasured her many friendships. Barbara had the world’s most beautiful smile, a generous spirit and a loving heart. She was also a deeply spiritual person and her natural curiosity led her in a search for inner peace. Her faith was a sustaining force in her life. She found a home amongst friends at Cypress Lake United Methodist Church in Fort Myers.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Rick Cegelis, and her stepdaughters, Carrie Cegelis and her partner Taylor Hatcher; Meg Clixby and her husband, C. Spencer Yeh. Uncle and Aunt Jay and Beverly Buston; cousins Anne, Alice and Jameson; brothers-in-law Frank Cegelis and wife Marcia; Bob Cegelis and wife, Phyllis, Ed and sister-in-law Mary; many nieces and nephews; close friend Carol Metz. Barbara was predeceased by her parents John and Elaine (née Buston) Booker and her brother Michael.

In lieu of flowers, gifts of memory may be sent to:

Tremont Congregational Church, P.O. Box 6; Bernard, ME 04612.

Cypress Lake United Methodist Church; 8570 Cypress Lake Drive; Fort Myers, FL 33919.

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