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Barbara Joyce

April 22, 1935 – December 6, 2018

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Barbara Melchiskey
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home

Obituary for Barbara Joyce Melchiskey

CAMDEN, MAINE - Barbara Melchiskey, age 83 (born Barbara Joyce Petrasek 4/22/1935), for 62 years the loving wife of her husband Steve, passed away on December 6th in Camden, Maine.

Born in Troy, NY, as the eldest of six children, Barbara (always called Babs by her family) enjoyed playing a maternal role to her siblings. Her father's job as an RCA engineer and executive required that the family move frequently. As a result, Barb attended 8 different schools before graduating from Westfield (NJ) High School in the class of 1952. She then attended Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), where she met fellow student and future husband Steve while she was serving ice cream in the college dining hall. She graduated with a BS in Elementary Education in 1958.

Barbara and Steve moved for his work in education and began their family, living in East Orange NJ, Verona NJ, Chittenango NY, and Jamestown NY. Along the way Barb worked energetically and enthusiastically as a mother, homemaker, teacher, librarian, records manager, and toy department manager.

Barbara was both an amazing homemaker and pioneer for women in the 1970s. From enthusiastically embracing vegetarian cooking (which her family learned to love) to being the first woman elected to the Chittenango School Board, Barbara was a passionate advocate for healthy eating, children and education. She provided a loving second home to AFS and Rotary foreign exchange students from Argentina, France, and Brazil.

In retirement in Camden since 1996, Barbara continued developing her artisanal talents in cooking, baking, watercolor, sewing, and quilting, with an infallible eye for color and shape. She was part of the staff of Quilting by the Lake for 12 years and has been a long-time member of the Coastal Quilters Guild. She was a baker extraordinaire, knowledgeable birder, and was admired for her amazing chocolate cake, sky-high biscuits, a pie crust envied by her daughters-in-law, and an eye-popping Christmas Eve seafood fondue.
Barbara and Steve traveled extensively in later years, making annual biking trips to Acadia National Park but also taking in Italy, Hungary, France and Germany. Always active and productive, Barbara’s passion was riding her bikes and she also delighted in Alpine and Nordic skiing, camping, and cruising Penobscot Bay in the BARBU, their 30-foot Cape Dory.

Outgoing and committed to community, Barb served several times as delegate to the state Democratic Convention, was an active member of Knox County Democrats, and enthusiastically supported local and national candidates. She was a dedicated volunteer in the AIO Backpack Program, preparing backpacks with meals for over 300 food-insecure school children around Knox County and knitting Listening Friend dolls for the younger students.

Proud of her 5'11" height, she was noted not just for her stature and prominent cheekbones but for her self-described "Jersey mouth." She gave generously of her time, help, and opinions and was fiercely loyal to her friends and family, who loved her back with equal fervor.

A joyful, grand, and eminently useful life has ended. Those who knew and profoundly loved Barbara will carry her memory in their hearts and memories.

In addition to her husband Steve, son Stephen, daughter Mary Joan, daughters-in-law Nanci and Marcia, and grandchildren Jesse, Chloe, and Phoebe, she is survived by brother Geoffrey and his wife Judy, sister Elaine, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Aural and Joyce Petrasek, her brother Richard, and sisters Joan Grubb and Joyce Middleton.

A celebration of her life for family and dear friends will be held at a date to be announced. Memorial gifts may be made to the AIO Backpack Program, PO Box 113, Rockland ME 04841. To share a memory or story with Barbara’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com. Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.

Service Information

To Be Announced
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Service Extra Info
A celebration of her life for family and dear friends will be held at a date to be announced.