GRAY — Patricia Barter, 82, died Monday, Feb. 26.

Born in Gray on Feb. 10, 1936, at the home of her grandmother, local midwife Bessie Burns Libby, Patricia Barter was the second child of Ernest and Hazel (Gilpatrick) Libby (later Mrs. H. Norman Cole).

Pat graduated from Pennell Institute in 1953. She excelled in athletics and academics, in addition to part-time jobs in the town of Gray office and at Cole Farms Restaurant. Upon graduating from Husson College, she started her career as a legal secretary at the firm of Bernstein and Bernstein in Portland.

She married her Pennell classmate Richard Barter in 1958 at the Sacred Heart Church in Yarmouth. She continued her legal career with the firm of Harley, Whettle & Victor when they moved to Baltimore, Maryland.

Following the birth of her children, Richard Jr. (1960) and Kim (1961), she began her career as a mother and homemaker. She remained actively involved in a variety of administrative roles, first at the McDonogh School in Baltimore County, Md., and later at the Pebble Hill School (now Manlius Pebble Hill School), in Syracuse, N.Y. She was active in the Brownies, Welcome Wagon and other community groups.

In 1972, the family moved to New York City when her husband was appointed headmaster of the Collegiate School, the oldest school in the United States. Pat made their family home at 160 Riverside Drive a center for educational, social, and cultural events for the Collegiate community (where her son attended school), for the Marymount School communities (which her daughter attended), and for the Calhoun School, as well as hosting many family visits to enjoy the sights and sounds of New York City.


Starting as a parent volunteer in 1976, Pat maintained an association with Marymount School that lasted more than 30 years, well beyond her retirement in 2001. She sustained an active role as the Head of School’s partner, and became very professionally involved at Marymount School as a parent, school trustee, president of the Parents Association, chair of a very successful capital campaign, director of finance and development, and associate headmistress. In 1984 she served as the acting headmistress, notably and probably the only time in NYC when a husband and a wife each served concurrently as the head of a leading NYC independent school.

It was during her tenure at Marymount that the historic Vanderbilt Mansion on 5th Ave was renovated and expanded, student enrollment increased, the school debt was eliminated, a nearby townhouse was purchased and converted into the Middle School, and a local Catholic School was leased to accommodate the expanded school program and growing enrollment. Of her many extraordinary contributions, her energetic, loving, and devoted work for Marymount was captured best by a Marymount student upon her retirement: “Mrs. Barter was really the glue of Marymount School.” Her time at Marymount held a special place in her heart for the rest of her life.

Pat assisted Richard for 19 years as co-director of opening summer academic programs for American high school and college students to attend European and African universities. Travel was an especially important part of Pat’s life. She traveled widely in Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world, both for personal pleasure and for the cultural enhancement of American students. She developed a deep and abiding love of East African culture and art, and made lasting friends worldwide as a result of these trips.

Pat was always the hub of professional and family life. Many of these travels included not only her own children, but many nieces and nephews who were always encouraged to broaden their horizons and to gain a permanent and lasting personal world perspective. Later in life, her horizons broadened even further, visiting her son in Europe and the Middle East, and even including jaunts to the North Pole and the wilds of Antarctica. She literally went to the ends of the Earth, and always brought home many happy memories to share.

Upon her return to Gray, she became an active member of the Gray Public Library Association. The Pat Barter Lecture Series was founded and endowed to extend the outreach of Gray Public Library to the greater community, providing support and encouragement and to advance lifelong learning for all town residents. Her daughter, Kim Libby Barter, who predeceased her, was a teacher and youth worker with a special connection to children who were physically, mentally, and emotionally impaired. Fittingly, there is a plaque in the new Children’s Wing of the library honoring Kim and making her legacy one of caring and learning. Like mother, like daughter.

Pat is survived by Richard, her husband of 60 years, and her son, Rick Barter (of London, England). She is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Joanne Libby of Mount Vernon, Wash., and her sisters- and brothers-in-law: Diane and Merle Tarr of Venice, Fla.; Constance and James Hall of Auburn; and Jean and Kenneth Webb of New Gloucester.

“Aunt Patty” is also survived by 13 nieces and nephews, and many, many great-nieces and great-nephews.

The family extends deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the kind staff of Legacy Memory Care at OceanView, Falmouth, for their compassionate and loving care at the end of her life.

Patricia Barter

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