Concord---Esther Elizabeth Barney Clark Watson went home to be with the Lord Jesus Christ on September 13, 2005 after a long illness. She died peacefully at Havenwood Nursing Facility in Concord, NH. Esther was born on February 22, 1916 to Felix Barney and Agnes Simmonds Barney, in Laconia, NH on 35 High Street, the youngest of four children. She had a sister, Hattie, who was a great influence in her life and was born on the same birthday 16 years prior. She also had another sister, Gladys, and a brother, Maitland (Mickey). All her siblings were several years her senior. She, in a sense, was an only child with two mothers, Agnes and Hattie. Hattie and husband, Harry, lived at 31 Elliott Street (hospital hill in Laconia) only on the next street over and one yard away.
Esther was an outgoing child who frequented many of her French neighbor’s homes. Consequently she learned to speak Canadian French and loved the language, people and the culture. Hattie and Harry paid for her to take piano lessons in her childhood and she played into older adulthood. She dropped out of school in her sophomore year to go to work in Newberry’s. She was dating Everett Clark by now and promised her parents to wait until her eighteenth birthday to marry him. They were married at the Baptist Parsonage on March 1, 1934. The couple moved to an apartment on Messer St., in Laconia when Everett took a job as a substitute mail carrier.
In 1935 they bought their first home on Jamestown Rd. in Lochmere, NH and Everett went to work full time at Scott and Williams. They purchased the land from Ora and Solon Simmonds (Esther’s maternal grandparents). Mona was born in 1936 and they lived in Lochmere until Mona was five. Then in 1941 they moved to 60 Avery Street. Mark was born in 1947, Miles in 1949 and Myla in 1950. Esther was a member of the Laconia-Gilford First United Methodist Church for 60 years; there she participated in several of their events, plays, suppers, scout troops and other activities. She was Cub Scout Leader, Brownie Leader, Girl Scout Leader, PTA Member, and MYF & Band Parent Advisor. She was always supportive and involved in the activities of her children from grammar school through high school.
She worked for several years as a sales clerk in Matheson’s Nuflooring Company on Main Street and The Mill Shop on Union Ave. owned by Myla and Alan Beauchaine.
In 1985 after 51 years of marriage Everett died. Esther cared for him in their home at 9 Pine Street for one year before his death. Their marriage was quite a love affair. As a testimony to their love and the many years they spent together researching family history she had his genealogical records compiled and published. The book is still being distributed to libraries in the US today.
Esther was a member and officer of the Order of the Eastern Star, a member of the Grange, and a Christian Women. She also served on the board of the Salvation Army in Laconia and served meals to the homeless. She cooked and delivered meals to many of her elderly neighbors. Only her closest friends were aware of her generous but silent ways of serving friends, neighbors and even strangers. She visited those that were lonely, shut-in, and elderly and she was always the first to volunteer to serve at church or on any other committee she was involved in.
In 1986 she married Rev. Orin Watson, a retired Methodist pastor. Although they resided at 35 Mechanic Street, in Lakeport, NH the newlyweds spent their first summer at Geneva Point Christian Camp as Camp Counselors. Orin was asked by the Methodist Church to come out of retirement and pastor a church in Weirs Beach, NH. Esther thrived as a pastor’s wife and the church felt blessed to have this couple pastor their small congregation.
In 1993, they moved to the apartments at Heritage Heights Retirement Facility in Concord, NH. Here they enjoyed a small apartment within a close knit community of retirees with many activities at Heritage Heights. They were active within the many churches they were involved with throughout the years, and with family and friends in and around Concord and Laconia. For the past twelve years she had been a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord.
They continued to host and teach Christian gatherings and Bible studies until Esther’s stroke in January of 1996. She worked very hard in rehabilitation efforts and although she did not regain all her prior functioning, she always maintained her loving and caring spirit. She did return to their Heritage Heights apartment after the stroke for several years, and eventually moved to the Havenwood Heritage Height Health Center.
A true Christian who accepted Christ as her Savior and lived every day of her life as a testimony to his love for mankind.
She is survived by her husband, Rev. Orin Watson, of Concord, NH; her son, Miles Clark, of Northfield, NH; two daughters, Mona Dore of Hernado, Florida and Myla Crouse of The Woodlands, TX; sixteen grandchildren; eighteen great grandchildren and two step children, Harriet Wilson of Melborne, Florida and Lynn Anthony of Evansville, Illinois. Her first husband, Everett Clark, died in 1985; one son, Mark Clark, of Keene, NH died in 2002 and her grandson, Jonathan, died in 1987 at age 16.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, September 23, 2005 from 2:00-4:00PM and 6:00-8:00 PM at the Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH.
The Celebration of Life Service will be Sunday, September 25, 2005 at the First United Methodist Church, 500 Gilford Avenue (Rte. 11A), Gilford, NH at 1:00PM. Burial will follow in the family lot in Union Cemetery, Academy Street, Laconia, NH
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Laconia Salvation Army, 177 Union Avenue, Laconia, NH 03246.
Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH is in charge of the arrangements.