Reverend Barbara Field West, age 86, peacefully passed on Sunday, February 26, at the Seabury Retirement community in Bloomfield, CT. Born Barbara Ann Field in Manchester, CT, she was the daughter of Dr. William John and Florence Field of Manchester, CT. Barbara was a distinguished graduate of South Manchester High School in 1954, where she excelled at both academics and athletics. She attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, graduating in 1958 as a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude as a Biology major. After working in the Harvard School of Public Health in the search for a polio vaccine, she married Robert Allen West the III, in January, 1960.
After relocating to Dallas, Texas in 1966, Barbara graduated from the Perkins School of Theology at SMU in 1972 at the top of her class. She was ordained as a deacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas in 1975, one of the first women to do so. She worked as a Chaplain at Parkland Hospital and served the Episcopal parish of St. Johns in Dallas. Her family returned to CT in January 1977 where she served the congregation of St. Marys in Manchester. In 1980 she was ordained to the priesthood at St. James Episcopal Church, Glastonbury CT, again one of the first women to do so. She ministered to the parish of St. James for several years. She ended her career by serving with the Greater Hartford Regional Ministry, composed of four church congregations in central Connecticut.
Barbara leaves behind a daughter, Susan West Brockman of Avon and a son Christopher Field West of Winchester. She was a loving grandmother to James J. Brockman of Hoboken, NJ and Matthew Robert Brockman of Farmington, CT. Her sister, Virginia Field Chu and husband Dr. Theodore Chu live in Los Altos Hills, CA. Their children, Jennifer Barbara Chu Kaelin and David Field Chu also reside in CA.
Barbara was a lover of cooking, gardening, puzzles, genealogy, and traveling to Maine, California, and Europe. She particularly loved France and went on a sabbatical to study the French miniature clay figures called Santons which tell the nativity story through the eyes of the villagers of Provence. She will be remembered for her intelligence, strength, grace, and beautiful smile.
A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at St. James Church, Glastonbury, CT on Saturday, March 4th at 11:00, with a private burial service to follow in Manchester. Donations in her memory may be made to the Seabury Charitable Foundation of Bloomfield CT, 200 Seabury Drive, Bloomfield, CT 06002, or online at seaburylife.org.
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