Mary Barnard, 89, Was Charming, Caring Person

Mary W. (Merritt) Barnard died Jan. 2 in Bloomfield, Conn., after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. She was 89.

Mrs. Barnard was born Bertha Mary Skeats in Pittsfield, and later moved with her family to New Jersey. After attending college at Bryn Mawr, she moved to Hartford, Conn., where she met her husband, Philip (Pete) Merritt, while they were working on a disaster relief program aiding victims of the 1938 hurricane. They were married for 31 years until his death in 1971. Later she married Leon Barnard, to whom she was married for 26 years until his death in 2000.

Mrs. Barnard had been a summer resident of the Vineyard since 1950 and an active member of the East Chop Beach Club, the East Chop Tennis Club, the East Chop Yacht Club and the Vineyard Garden Club.

To know Mrs. Barnard was to know the original, sensitive, competent and caring woman she was. She was delightful, intelligent, charming and asked after by friends for whom she had done services, both small and monumental. She was charitable and thoroughly Christian. She valued integrity and community and delighted in her work. She expressed simple gratitude for her gifts, feeling that she only held them in custody while they endured. Mary Barnard was loving and principled and service is her legacy.

She is survived by her children, Polly M. O'Leary of Framingham; Michael P. Merritt of Sandgate, Vt.; Susan M. Robertson of West Falmouth, and W. R. Tucker Merritt of Mansfield, Conn. She leaves six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.