Meredith Barnes Babbott died in her room at Wake Robin in Shelburne, Vt. on April 2, 2017 with family at her side. She had recently celebrated her 88th birthday. “Mermer” died peacefully early evening after a spring day and lovely sunset over Lake Champlain highlighting the Adirondack Mountains. She was born Meredith Diane Barnes in the territory of Hawaii, in Honolulu on March 3, 1929, the eldest daughter of Clara Mildred (Hicks) Barnes and Arthur Dayton Barnes, Lieutenant Commander, USN Submarine Service. As a child of a navy officer, Mermer with her family moved every two years, alternating between sea duty and shore assignments. Thus, moving and putting down roots were the norm during her growing-up years.
Mermer and her husband, David Babbott, met on a blind date Jan. 10, 1948 while she was a freshman at Smith College, Northampton, Mass. and he was a freshman at Amherst College, Amherst, Mass. They graduated from their respective colleges in 1951 and were married in Glencoe, Md. on June 21, 1952. They shared a long and supportive life of 63 years. With their five children, they moved from West Harford, Conn. to Burlington, Vt. in 1967. This was the best move of her life!
She received great joy and pleasure from living in this beautiful state. In her middle years, she bicycled the length of Vermont, and completed The Long Trail end-to-end in 1996 at the age of 69! -an exhilarating achievement. Mermer enjoyed biking, hiking, swimming, skiing, tennis, fly fishing, and knitting. She was passionate about her gardens and gardening, marveled at nature’s beauty from oceans to mountains, and took great pleasure in sharing these experiences with others. Her long-distance travels included Antarctica, Baja, East Africa, the Galapagos, and multiple one-hundred-mile raft trips.
She was an active hospice volunteer with the VNA for 25 years starting in 1981, and a caretaker of gardens and grounds for several churches. Mermer was committed to both Greenwich Academy and Smith College because they shaped and focused her life. In later years, 1981-2009, she was class representative for the Planned Giving Committee. She served on the Smith Alumnae Association Board, and received Smith’s Planned Giving Volunteer of the Year Award.
There were three chapters to Mermer’s life: her early years through Smith College; the middle years which included marriage, Dave’s medical school, and motherhood, and later years which included Dave’s retirement, marriages of her children, and time with eleven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Her grown children, their spouses and their children, and close friends were all family to Mermer. This extended family enriched her life and made life’s beautiful journey more complete.
Several years ago, when still living in their home on Lake Champlain, Memer was asked, “How does life look?” She answered, “Beautiful. Fragile. Forgiving. I look westward out over Lake Champlain and see in it the reflections of life – beams of light through the clouds, crystal-clear days, howling winds and ferocious waves, sunsets and evening stars. The setting sun is both the end of the day and a promise of a new one. Thank you, Dave, our children and grandchildren, family clan, and dearest friends.” Her husband, Dave predeceased her in 2015. Mermer leaves four surviving children: David and wife Nancy of Shelburne, Vt.; Frank and wife Aimee of Hinesburg, Vt.; Katherine and husband Tom of Weston, Mass., and Arthur and wife Heather of Flagstaff, Ariz.
A Circle of Remembrance will be held at Wake Robin in Shelburne on Sunday, May 7 at 10:30am. Please, instead of flowers, contributions may be made to the Green Mountain Club (The Long Trail Protection Fund), Hospice of the Champlain Valley, c/o the Visiting Nurses Association, or the United Way of Northern Vermont.
Stephen C. Gregory and Son cremation services assisted in fulfilling the family’s wishes.