MEREDITH — Longtime Meredith resident Barbara Woodward ended her journey as she lived it, gently and peacefully, on June 7, 2019, at the age of 98, at Golden View Health Care Center in Meredith.
For over 60 years, until they moved just up the hill to Meredith Bay Colony Club in 2013, she and husband Edsel “Woody” Woodward lived in the red house just above Hart’s Turkey Farm on Upper Ladd Hill Road.
Barbara lived through enormous change in her long life. When she was born on Jan. 12, 1921, women had gained the right to vote only months before, alcohol was banned under Prohibition, Woodrow Wilson was in his final months as president, and the price of a first-class stamp was two pennies.
When Barbara was born to Burleigh and Frances (Dame) Jones in a family home on White Oaks Road in Laconia, she was given a name she detested, Freda, so went by her middle name from an early age. The Jones clan later moved to Meredith Neck to a farm which they lost in the Great Depression, an event she remembered as “traumatic” for the family.
Barbara was valedictorian of the Meredith High School Class of 1939 and first in her family to go to college, graduating from Plymouth State Teachers' College in 1943. She taught and coached in Ashland for three years while waiting for Woody to return from service in the U.S. Army Air Force in the South Pacific. After they married in 1946, she left teaching to raise three boys, though was later a substitute teacher at Inter-Lakes High School.
She was an athletic girl and young woman who skied, skated, swam, and golfed. In later years, she avidly hiked the White Mountains with a group of friends Woody jokingly called “The Ladies' High-Speed Marching Society.” Barbara conquered all 48 New Hampshire peaks over 4,000 feet, earning her way into the Appalachian Mountain Club’s “4000-Footer Club” in her 60s.
She loved tending her vegetable and flower gardens, and roaming the woods and fields of Ladd Hill on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis with family dogs Satchel, Snooper and Penny. Indoors, she was busy with crafts like rug-braiding, knitting, and crewel embroidery. She was a longtime member of the Meredith “Early Birds” Extension group.
She was blessed to be able to live independently until last year, with excellent sight and hearing that greatly enhanced her quality of life. Simple pleasures in later years included lunches with visiting family, rides through the countryside, the Boston Red Sox, chocolate, and a discrete nightcap.
Barbara closely followed current events, boycotting grapes with Cesar Chavez and sporting a peace sign in the window of the family station wagon, not a common sight in Meredith in the 1960s. She was never without a book, newspaper or magazine at hand, and served several terms on the Meredith Public Library Board of Trustees. With two sons working for Jimmy Carter in 1976, she was elected in that year’s presidential primary as an alternate delegate pledged to Carter, attending that summer’s Democratic National Convention in New York, as well as a White House reception for New Hampshire supporters in 1978.
Barbara’s husband, Woody, died in 2015 at age 95. Her brother, Clarence “Russ” Jones of Meredith, died in 1998.
She is survived by sons Ellis Woodward of Exeter and Brad Woodward and husband Vuthy Sim of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. She also leaves her sister, Pat Moore, of Meredith. Barbara’s oldest son, Brian, died in 2014, and she is survived by his wife, Louise “Weezie” Woodward, and their sons, Jake and Cory Woodward, all of Holderness.
No services are planned.
It takes a village to get two old folks to nearly a century each, and for their help getting us there, the family thanks the professionals of the Meredith Bay Colony Club, Golden View, Lakes Region General Hospital, and Lakes Region Visiting Nurses Association.