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Barbara Beaton Cotton

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Laconia----- Barbara Beaton Cotton, 96, of Laconia, died on Thursday, September 15, 2005 at the St. Francis Healthcare Center. She had lived in Laconia since 1933.

Barbara was born in South Ryegate, Vermont, the daughter of Alex and Cecil (Buck) Beaton, a granite quarry owner and postmistress, respectively. She boarded in Barre to attend high school, and received a BS degree in Library Science from Simmons College in 1930. She was a librarian at Mt. Holyoke College until she married Merton Cotton of Laconia in 1933. Barbara was Director of the Gale Memorial Library from 1944 to 1979. She spearheaded the 1957 addition to the library, and in the new auditorium, she created the Saturday children’s’ film series and the senior citizen program that is still active. She initiated the bookmobile program in 1958 and purchased the second bookmobile in 1974. She was a leading participant in revitalizing the Laconia Historical Society.

Barbara was honored by the New Hampshire Library Association in 1976 and was presented with the “Key” to the City of Laconia. In recognition for her service to the library, the Trustees planted white birches on the front lawn of the library in 1981. Barbara also assisted her husband in the operation of the Opechee Trading Post, a fishing and hunting store opened in 1944, and assumed ownership upon his death in 1985. An avid fly fisher, she had many newspaper and magazine articles written about her. A surprise celebration of 50 years of store operation and fish stories was held by some of her loyal customers and friends in 1994. A streamer fly, created and named for her, won an original fly competition in 1997 and is now a formal, published fly pattern.

Barbara is survived by her son, John, daughter-in-law, Tina, and grandson, Jonathan, all of East Andover.

Mrs. Cotton was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Merton L. Cotton, who died March 26, 1985.

There will be no calling hours.

A Streamside Graveside Service will be held at the family lot on Durkee Brook in Union Cemetery, Laconia, NH on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 at 11:00 AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Gale Memorial Library, 695 Main Street, Laconia, NH 03246, Community Health and Hospice, Inc., 780 North Main Street, Laconia, NH 03246 or St. Francis Healthcare Center, 406 Court Street, Laconia, NH 03246.

Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH is in charge of the arrangements.

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