Barbara Cleaves Cole


Barbara Cleaves Cole, known as “Bobbie,” passed peacefully in her sleep on Oct. 15, 2018, at the age of 90. Born Feb. 12, 1928, in Charleston, S.C., to Col. Haskell Hadley Cleaves and Geraldine Hamor Butterfield Cleaves, both of Bar Harbor, she traveled widely during her youth, due to her father’s military career. She graduated from Bar Harbor High School in 1945 and briefly attended Radcliffe College before transferring to the University of Kansas, from which she graduated.

She worked for a time at the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor to the CIA, before marrying Malcolm Guy Stewart of Bar Harbor. They had three children together. After that marriage ended in divorce, she later married Allen E. Cole, who had two daughters from a prior marriage.

After retirement, the couple moved to Bar Harbor, where Bobbie became involved in many activities. They both enjoyed tennis and were active in doubles and mixed doubles groups on the Island and in Ellsworth. She continued her involvement in Democratic politics, attending the Maine State Democratic Convention several times as a delegate, as well as working on several candidates’ campaigns.

In Bar Harbor, she volunteered for and served as president of the Village Improvement Association and on the vestry of St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church.

Her most enduring work and interest was in the Wild Gardens of Acadia at Sieur de Monts Springs, where she wielded hoe and shovel, as well as serving on its board and for terms as president and treasurer. Even well into her 80s, she continued her routine of collecting the public’s donations at the Gardens’ entrances.

She is survived by her daughter, Sara Stewart Wach, of Dover, N.H.,; son, Alan Stewart, of Florence, S.C.; son, Duncan Stewart of Lexington, Mass., and stepdaughter, Cathy Cole, of Iowa City, Iowa, as well as grandchildren Abigail and Beatrix Wach; Ian, Adrian and Emma Stewart; Shawn and Allison Cole; and Michelle and Alex Zabaneh; and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in the spring. Please express condolences through donations to the Wild Gardens of Acadia, at or P.O. Box 45, Bar Harbor, ME 04609.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at


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