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Barbara E. Henderson

Dedicated teacher, avid gardener, active in church

Barbara Henderson. (Courtesy photo)

Barbara E. (Adams) Henderson, 87, a resident of Harvard for more than 30 years, passed away Saturday, May 30, 2020, at RiverCourt Residences, West Groton, from complications of COVID-19.

Barbara was born in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 1932, the daughter of Clifton K. and Elizabeth M. (Woodward) Adams. Her father served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in various parts of the U.S. and internationally, including China. The family moved to Belmont in the 1950s, where Barbara graduated from high school.

Barbara attended Lesley College in Cambridge, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She financed her college education working as a switchboard operator at the telephone company. Following graduation, she traveled Europe with a youth bicycle touring group. Barbara began her career teaching at the Perkins School for the Blind. She loved children and taught preschool and elementary students for many years. One of her favorite teaching jobs was directing a preschool arts class in West Groton in the 1970s. She was a member of the National Association of the Education of Young Children and was actively involved in the Massachusetts chapter.

She met Warren Henderson through mutual college friends and they were married in 1959. They raised four children together while residing in Acton and Groton, and eventually retired in Harvard, where they lived for the past 30-plus years.

Barbara was an avid gardener. Her vegetable gardens grew to include flowers and fruits, which she raised organically. She passed on the love of plants and gardens to her children. She was an early supporter of food coops and was involved in several over the years.

She and her husband were active members of the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church for many years. She was involved in the Women’s Alliance, the bell choir, Loaves & Fishes food pantry, and teaching Sunday school. She loved the Mummers play, the annual auction, and the Sunday morning fellowship.

Barbara is survived by two sons, Keith S. Henderson and his wife, Michelle, of Ayer, and Stan R. Henderson and his wife, Robin, of Chelmsford; two daughters, Gail L. Henderson-King and her husband, Daniel, of Shelburne, Vermont, and Lynne V. Henderson Searle and her husband, Keith, of Pepperell; three grandchildren, Benjamin King, Travis Henderson, Eric Searle and his wife, Jessica; and two great-grandchildren, Conrad and Corbin Searle. She is also survived by her sister, Karen Matteson of Bath, New York. She was predeceased by her husband Warren, who passed away May 10, 2020; her parents; her brother Clifton P. Adams Jr. of South Carolina; and sister Mildred Brydon of Grafton, New Hampshire.

Due to restrictions imposed by the current health crisis, a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Contributions in Barbara’s name may be made to Loaves & Fishes, 234 Barnum Rd, Devens, MA 01434 or the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, 9 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA 01451.


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