Barbara Jo Peppey



Obit Barbara PeppeyWherever a beautiful soul has been there is a trail of beautiful memories.

SILVER CITY, N.M. — Barbara Jo Peppey died suddenly in an accident involving black ice on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. She was a loving and much loved wife, mother, sister, aunt and grandmother. She is fondly remembered by her many loyal friends as a vivacious person and eager advocate always available and ready to help in person. She was dedicated to getting things done in many large or small humanitarian causes. Barbara was a highly regarded, gifted social worker fully engaged in the lives and challenges of many people. She was also a devoted teacher of social workers who helped many others carry on her life’s work.

In addition to her many dear and grieving friends, Barbara leaves bereft and behind her loving husband, Gerald (Gerry) Bryan; her son, Liam McSweeney and his wife, Sarah Staples; Sarah’s parents, Peggy and Dick Staples; her daughter-in-law, Dr. Heather Bryan and her husband, Patrick Gillen; and their children Clodagh, Annie and Finn Bryan-Gillen. Also, her sister Lynda Wiltse and dear partner William Webber; her brother, Mike Peppey; Peppey nieces and nephews, Amber, Robyn, Dylan; and Wiltse nephews, Brian and Steven. Also, her sister and brother-in-law, Janet and Paul Raffensperger; and her former husband and Liam’s father, Edward McSweeney. Barbara’s private live was dedicated to her family, starting with her treasured son, Liam, born in Bangor, on Feb. 26, 1984. Connecting with her wonderful family and many friends filled her up. Lovely visits, cards and phone calls to them filled her spare moments and her heart.

Barbara was born April 3, 1950, in Detroit, Mich., to the late Robert and Gloria Peppey. She graduated from Albion College with a BS in biology, also gaining a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Bowling Green State in Ohio and a MSW, Masters in Social Work, from the University of Maine.

Barbara ran Head Start in Aroostook, Washington and Hancock counties, a large sector of rural Maine, for many years. She also taught graduate classes in social work at the University of Maine in Orono. In 2001, she was hired to create, direct and shape Healthy Peninsula, which she did for more than 10 years. Her many achievements set standards of excellence throughout the state and beyond. Even while retired, Barbara wasn’t done. Western New Mexico University, in Silver City, hired her to teach social work part-time statewide. She is fondly remembered by all who worked with her as the person who could get things done brilliantly. She cared! Her loving work sparkled and inspired all around.

Barbara and Gerry were delighted to be married on Aug. 21, 2009, in Silver City, N.M., and built a sweet cabin on Cross Mountain in beautiful Pinos Altos next to the Gila National Forest and a few miles from Silver City. They loved holding each other in awe of surrounding beauty, stunning wilderness, curious wildlife, eye-popping sunrises and sunsets. Their time together in the New Mexico, at the Lords Cove cottage in Brooksville, and in Berry Cove in Lamoine nurtured them and filled them with gentle joy and fun. They loved sharing with each other and others and just kept grinning, walking, jogging trails, floating in the ocean, climbing mountains, biking, paddling, watching sunsets and cooking delicious meals together and sharing it all with friends and family.

Barbara was a twinkle. She built sweet and colorful flower gardens accented with subtle and surprising shrines that peeked out of corners, nooks and crannies. These mimicked the twinkle in her eyes when others noticed them. Eye twinkling was a trait of Barbara’s that made everyone who knew her want to twinkle back. What a joy was Barbara Peppey to all her family and friends!

“Amelie” was Barbara’s favorite movie. The main character and Barbara shared quiet do-gooding, sweet grins and shy twinkling glances.

Barbara loved many people and many things. She had fun with family and friends in person and on the phone. She loved to share dreams, play Scrabble to win, watch the weather everywhere, connect with ideas, tides, stars, art and every curiosity in sight. She adored sitting still with a good novel or just sitting quietly and mindfully at dawn and dusk. In New Mexico, she loved being with friends and Gerry, making beautiful pottery in the ceramics program and learning to weave at WNMU. She was an avid student there for several years.

Our beautiful, slightly or slyly shy, sometimes enigmatic and quietly private Barbara is terribly missed and greatly loved by those she left behind in the prime of her life.

There will be celebrations of her life. The first will be in Silver City, N.M: a christening of the urn that is being created by teachers and close friends Jessica Wilson, Blythe Whiteley and Phoebe Lawrence. The celebration will be Saturday, April 16, 2016, at the ceramics studio of WNMU in the McCray Art Building (next to the tennis courts) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will be moderated by Claude Smith who got her started with making pottery. There will be finger foods and an open mike for those who care to share Barbara thoughts and stories. The family requests in lieu of flowers that friends consider a donation to Friends of Clay and/or its scholarship program. Send to Western New Mexico University Expressive Arts Department, Attn: Jessica Wilson, PO Box 680, Silver City, NM 88062.

A second celebration will be in held in Brooksville at David’s Folly Farm on Sunday, May 29, 2016, from 2 p.m., 1390 Coastal Road, Brooksville, ME 04617. Anne Ferrara and Gary Vencill will moderate. Many preparations are under way thanks to Healthy Peninsula and the Reversing Falls Sanctuary. There will be snacks and an open celebration as we share memories, reflections and stories about Barbara. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Healthy Peninsula and/or Reversing Falls Sanctuary and their efforts to help everyone thrive in place.

As per her request, Barbara’s ashes will be in beautiful places she cherished here and abroad, especially in Maine, New Mexico and Michigan, where she lived. Many little celebrations will accompany the scatterings conducted by Gerry and her loving family.

Know when to pay your respects.