Obituaries are a fact of life for weekly newspapers. In them, we note the passing of friends and neighbors, of people who served us or cared about us, and of folks we never knew but wish we had. As publishers, we take them all seriously. These are, for most, the last words that will be written about the lives they lived. We share the sadness of those who were closest when we put their words and pictures to page.
Some weeks it is harder than others. And is some weeks, we note patterns, or cultural touchstones that bear mention over and above the obituaries from families and funeral homes. This is one of those weeks. Five women passed away in the last week or so, four of them whose obituaries appear here and one being mourned without a formal obituary.
Peg Barnes was known and loved by all who encountered her. An Arkville elder, she lived a quiet life, but touched hundreds in her orbit with the care she delivered for their children or the cakes she made for their events. We almost never saw her without her husband Bud. It was a legacy marriage lasting nearly 70 years. She will be missed dearly.
Unlike Peg, Kichi Baker was not out and about in recent years but like Peg, she made her mark on the community. After marrying an American soldier, Kichi came to this country to live out her life, raising three children and working as a nurse at the Margaretville Hospital. She was a “nurses nurse,” working alongside a generation of legends in the field that included among many others, Bucky George, Betty Griffin, Barbara Kapitko and Kaye Grocholl. Kichi was kind, compassionate, and fiercely independent.
Lise Berg lived an adventurous life, starting college at 16. Traveling the world, hiking, skiing, and enjoying everything from music to medieval history. Doris Remensnyder Ballantyne Wilkie, also known as Debby was twice a widow and remembered lovingly by her children.
Like others in the region, we at the News were saddened to hear of the death of Ann Epner, earlier this month. Though there has been no formal obituary, Ann was remembered by dozens and dozens of friends and family members for her joy, sense of humor, strength and intelligence. Ann served the area with passion and devotion through both the Roxbury Arts Group and the Pine Hill Community Center, as well as WIOX Radio and with Writers in the Mountains where she was President for five years. Ann brought incredible intellect, a quiet strength and total determination to every project she undertook and made a positive impact through her work.
Five women, who all had starkly different journeys, spanning two different centuries in which the expectations of, for and about women changed drastically during their lifetimes all passed away this month. We are all better for the lives they lived and diminished by their passing.