William Bill Churchill Barrett, 64 of Keene and formerly of Swanzey died on Sunday, January 5, 2014 in the comfort of his home with loved ones around him.
Bill was born in Keene on February 1, 1949 the first of five children of Joye (Churchill) and Ellis Barrett. He grew up at Bretwood Farm on East Surry Road, Keene and was a farmer all his life. Bill attended Fuller Elementary School, Keene Jr. High School, and Keene High School graduating in 1967. He was President of his class for three years and President of Student Council his senior year. Bill attended Cornell University and served for a year as an International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) to Finland. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BS in plant and soil science.
On August 19, 1972 he exchanged vows with Deborah Shepard at St. James Episcopal Church. They were married for forty one years. The Barretts are the proud parents of three children, Hannah, Elijah and Ethan Barrett. They owned a dairy farm in West Buxton, Maine before returning to the Keene area where they began a PYO strawberry farm at their Sawyers Crossing Road Farm in Swanzey. Bill worked at Bretwood Golf Course, the family business, for several years. Then he started Barretts Greenhouse in Swanzey Center.
Over the years, Bill established a reputation of growing high quality flowers and vegetable starter plants at Barretts Greenhouse. Customers have benefited from Bills knowledge and his passion to share what he knew about plants and gardening. He was intuitively skillful at teaching others what he knew and had the patience to explain information in a way that others would understand. Growing vegetables and working in the field was what Bill enjoyed most but he also enjoyed working with family members logging and cutting cord wood, making maple syrup and cider and pruning apple trees. At age six Bill was chosen as Chippa Granite by the N.H. Dairy Council and was pictured on billboards around the state promoting farm life in NH.
Bill was a man of faith and member of St. James Episcopal Church in Keene. His hobbies included photography and woodworking. He was a member of the N.H. Farm Bureau, N.H. Plant Growers Association and Keene Farmers Market. Bill was also a Little League Coach and President of the Swanzey Little League Association for several years. Bill served as a Cheshire Fair Director. He was President of the Monadnock Regional High School Boosters Club when his children were students at MRHS. Time spent with family was of the utmost importance to him.
Bill is survived by his wife, Deborah of Keene; daughter, Hannah and her husband, Harvey of Emporia, VA. His son, Ethan of Keene and granddaughter, Kalynn of Georgia. His parents, Ellis and Joye Barrett, of Keene. A brother, Matthew Barrett and his wife, Laura of Surry. Sisters: Rebecca Barrett of Surry, Kathryn Blair and her husband, Michael of Keene, Julie Barrett and her partner, Kevin of Keene. A brother-in-law, Timothy Shepard and his wife, Jean of Grand Isle, VT. Nephews and nieces: Jason and Lucas Barrett, Benjamin and Kaisa Jarrell, Christina Blair, Jordan and Paige Shepard in addition to aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and friends. His son, Elijah Churchill Barrett, died in August, 2007.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, January 10, 2014 from 6 to 8pm at Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel. An Episcopal Service from the Book of Common Prayer will be hosted at the United Church of Christ, 23 Central Square , Keene , N.H. Saturday, January, 11, 2014 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent in memory of Bill Barrett to the Elijah Barrett Scholarship Fund at Surry Village Charter School, 449 Route 12A, Surry, NH, 03431, or to Home Healthcare Hospice and Community Services, P.O. Box 564, Keene, NH, 03431. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel, 44 Maple Ave., Keene, N.H. 03431 . www.cheshirefamilyfuneralhome.com.