Barbara Wilson (left), who launched or promoted many cultural programs in northern Warren County, receives the North Warren Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 V.I.P. award from chamber president Barbara Thomas (right) during the chamber’s annual banquet last year. Wilson passed away May 18 at the age of 65. Calling hours and her funeral are set for Thursday May 24 at Barton-McDermott Funeral Home, Pine St. Chestertown.
Barbara Wilson, a woman who devoted years of her life enriching the lives of others in northern Warren County, passed away Friday May 18 at Glens Falls Hospital after fighting cancer for about three years.
Whether it was establishing history or cultural programs, or organizing fundraisers, Wilson worked with dedication to make life in the North Country more fulfilling for all, her friends and associates recalled this week.
For her work, she was honored in 2011 as North Warren Chamber of Commerce’s V.I.P. of the Year.
Alma Alvarez, Director of the Town of Chester Library, observed that Wilson launched “History Alive,” a series of presentations and events over a weekend in 2005 celebrating veterans, and she organized the 2007 “Stitches in Time” quilt exhibit held at the North Warren High School. The History Alive concept was awarded as Program of the Year for 2005 by the Southern Adirondack Library System.
“Barbara Wilson was one of the most prominent cultural influences in the area,” Alvarez said. “She was always a tremendous help in projects, volunteering to do menial day-to-day work.”
Wilson delivered diligence with enthusiasm, Alvarez added.
“Barbara was always very cheery, organized and super-enthusiastic,” Alvarez said.
For years, Wilson served as co-chair of the Friends of Chester Library, sharing the duties with her counterpart Mary Lou Smith.
Smith said May 23 that Wilson was innovative in formulating new ideas for the Friends group in raising money for the Chester Library.
“I was so impressed with her vigor, creativity and wit,” Smith said, recalling the enthusiasm with which Wilson tackled the History Alive programming. “Barbara was so talented.”
Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe recalled how many years ago, Wilson had worked hard in community theater, particularly on a play in which he was an actor.
“Barbara was very involved, dedicated and hardworking,” he said. “She was great to work with, and you could always count on her to help.”
Also, Wilson helped facilitate a visit of Russian librarians to the area in 2008.
Wilson also served as a Charter member of the History Through Voices committee which created a local history audio program that is part of the Chester Library’s website. She was also active with the Chester Historical Society, assisting with publicity — a role she also performed on behalf of the Art in Chester Gallery.
In recent years, Wilson’s artistic creativity took center stage, her friends recalled, as she developed considerable skill at the centuries-old art of chip carving — a northern European craft which she pursued with Dennis Wilson, her husband of 40-plus years.
Wilson was a retired elementary teacher from Indian Lake Central School where she taught second and fourth grades. She and Dennis spent ten years teaching and living abroad before moving to the Adirondacks.
A celebration of her life is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24 at Barton-McDermott Funeral Home Inc., 9 Pine St. in Chestertown. Relatives and friends are invited to call on family members there during the two prior hours.
Memorial donations may be made to Friends of the Library, P.O. Box 423 Chestertown, NY 12817 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.