She was born April 16, 1924, the second child and only daughter to Ellery Redfield (later Vermont Senator Purdy) and Katharine Aldrich Purdy. Barbara was the wife of the late Frederick A. Johnson, Jr. with whom they had a son, Frederick A., III.
She graduated from Rutland High School, Rutland, Vermont in 1942 and attended Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts for a year and then enlisted in the Woman’s Army Corp (WAC) toward the end of WWII. After basic training at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia she served in the Base Ops office at Herington Air Force Base in Herington, Kansas and was discharged in November, 1945 after the war ended. Back in Rutland, she worked as a Flight Attendant for a commuter airline to New York City and Boston. Once, in flight, the door blew open and she reached out and pulled it back shut.
She married Johnson September 25, 1946, and lived in Chicago, Illinois for five years while he worked for his Masters and PhD in Petroleum Geology at the University of Chicago. They moved to Midland, Texas where he was employed by the Humble Oil & Refining Company. She worked as a secretary at SOHIO Oil Company, and later as secretary at the original Episcopal Church in Midland. She was also a Water Safety Instructor and gave swimming lessons to youngsters at her home. Their hobby was breeding and showing German shepherd dogs around the country for many years. They moved to Houston, Texas in 1966, and transferred to Denver, Colorado in 1968. They divorced in 1980 after 34 years of marriage.
Barbara, over the next ten years, lived in Kanab, Utah, Tucson, Arizona, Eagle River, Alaska, and Carson City, Nevada before returning to Colorado. She always loved the mountains and the great outdoors. She enjoyed skiing, swimming and horseback riding most of her life and was a great animal lover, becoming quite an accomplished artist with animal portraits using pastels.
She relocated to Mountain Home, Arkansas at the urging of her son in 2003, and lived out her remaining years there. She loved the area because it reminded her of her home state of Vermont. She loved the lakes and she loved the company of her son and son’s wife, Dorothy. Her last year was spent in the loving and capable hands of the staff at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Mountain Home. She slipped into a coma quietly and painlessly with Dorothy at her side on Tuesday, February, 26th and passed shortly thereafter. Her son was at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, his place of work for 37 years at the time, but was able to return home on February 27th.
She is survived by her older brother, 92 year old Ellery Redfield Purdy, Jr. and wife Elaine of Rutland, Vermont; five granddaughters and one grandson, Krysta I. Johnson of Bremerton, Washington, Setanya Snover and Lela Raymond of Ketchikan, Alaska, Carolyn Malcolm and Kathleen Vest both of Anchorage, Alaska, and William Loyd Herren of Mountain Home; sixteen great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren and another on the way.
Barbara accepted Jesus into her heart just over a year ago, so now we all know where she’s at today.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until service time on Sunday, March 3, 2013, at the Twin Lakes Baptist Church. The funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday with Dr. Sam Bailey officiating. Burial will be private under the direction of Conner-Hankins Funeral Home.
The online obituary and guestbook are available at www.conner-hankinsfuneralhome.com.