RICHFORD: Barbara “Nana” Whitney, age 99, passed away on Thursday, April 27, 2023, surrounded by her family.
She was born in Richford on March 3, 1924, to the late Joseph and Virginia (Fontain) Guilmette.
Barbara was a lifelong resident of Richford and grew up on the family farm on Guilmette Road with her 12 siblings. She attended school in a one-room schoolhouse where she and her siblings walked every day, regardless of the weather, and graduated from Richford High School in 1943 where she was a proud member of the FFA. On December 3, 1947, she married Francis M. Whitney Sr., after he returned from the war and was honorably discharged. Shortly after they began raising a family and purchased a farm of their own in South Richford. Barbara and Francis had a love of farming that they shared with their daughter Linda.
Barbara was very independent and hardworking while raising her family, she had several jobs throughout her life and was still working until the age of 92. She worked for Fonda Container for many years, Alpine Haven, The Wedel Inn, Community Action, and cooked for numerous local businesses including The Black Lantern, Corky’s Night Club, Jay Peak, and the Richford Country Club. She also enjoyed working at the Thrift Shop in Richford where she could continue visiting and catching up on the latest news.
Barbara loved maintaining her massive garden, canning, sewing, and in her later years having local history read to her. But above all, Barbara looked forward to Sunday Suppers and spending time with her family. Sundays were filled with family, delicious food, softball, and conversations. Barbara was a phenomenal cook who excelled in every single dish she made. She had a knack for keeping up with multiple conversations at a time and looked forward to her daily tea.
She instilled her caring, hardworking, independent personality in all of her children, along with the ability to respect others while standing up for yourself. Although she was not one to ask for help, she was usually the first person to offer help to anyone in need.
Barbara is survived by her loving children, Judy & Stephen Jacobs, Francis M. “Franny” Whitney Jr. & his significant other Kathy Martin, Jill & Tim Comes, Barbara Jean Whitney, John Nutting and his significant other Kellie Thompson, Jackie & Dan Larivee, and her nephew, James Guilmette who was like a son to her; grandchildren, Melissa, Stephanie, Amy, Peanut, Jessica, Jennifer, Kylee, Jaime, Tyler, Jeannette, Megan, Sarah, Katie, Adam, Kayleigh, Nicole, Kaitlin, Rafael, Breanna, Autumn, Nikolaus, and Owen; 28 great-grandchildren, especially Elena whom she shared a special bond with; and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents, Barbara was predeceased by her husband, Francis Whitney Sr.; daughter, Linda Whitney; daughter-in-law, Lora Whitney; grandchildren, Jeremy Jr., and Kurt William Jr.; great-grandchild, Prestyn; and her 12 siblings.
Family and friends are invited to Barbara’s Life Celebration events including a visitation on Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 4-7:00 pm at the Goss-Spears Life Celebration Home, 96 Dickinson Ave., Enosburg Falls, VT 05450, and a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, May 5, 2023, at 1:00 pm at All Saints Catholic Church, 152 Main St. Richford, VT 05476. Interment will follow in the Richford Center Cemetery on South Richford Road.
Barbara’s family would like to thank all of the healthcare workers for the exceptional care she received.
Condolences, photos, and favorite memories may be shared through www.gossfs.com