Torrington- On Friday, October 1, 2021, a sparkling early autumn day at the beginning of her favorite season, Barbara Jensen (Plante) Starr passed away after a brief stay at Wolcott Hall Nursing Center, Torrington, CT, at the age of 90. She had resided at The Workman, Torrington, since 2014, having lived in Torrington most of her life.
Barbara was born in Winsted, CT, on October 27, 1930, daughter of the late Arthur N. and Anna C. (Jensen) Plante. Arthur had emigrated from Quebec, Canada, and Anna was a first-generation Danish American. Barbara was raised on a farm on land her parents bought and cleared to create that farm in the late 1920s. She worked alongside her parents among thousands of chickens, and when her father passed away when she was 13, Barbara and her mother continued to run the farm for many years until she went to nursing school.
A proud graduate of Torrington High School, Barbara also graduated from St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Hartford, CT, and Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted, CT. She worked as a staff nurse at St. Francis Hospital, Winsted Memorial Hospital, and retired from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington in 1993, after 25 years of service, continuing there as a per diem nurse for another 12 years.
She was a member of the Alumni Association of the SFH School of Nursing, SFH Woman’s Auxiliary, the CT Society of Genealogists, the French-Canadian Genealogical Society of CT, and the Sullivan Senior Center in Torrington as a member of the choral group, Silver Belles and Beaux, for many years.
Barbara is survived by her dearly loved children, daughters MaryJane Quarti and husband Ken of Columbia, CT, Nancy Stephenson of Centennial, CO, Frances Lappe and husband Doug of Arvada, CO, and daughter-in-law Winifred Lawler of Wethersfield, CT; grandchildren Eric Lappe of Arvada, CO, DeNeige Darr and husband USSF 1st Lieutenant Kelly of Colorado Springs, CO, Andrea Stephenson of Denver, CO, and Sarah Lawler of Boston, MA; step-granddaughter Janet Calder and husband John of Warren, CT, and their son, great-step-grandson, John Thomas; many cousins and step grand and great-grandchildren; grand dogs Buddy Stephenson and Charlie Quarti and great-grand cats Denver and Boston Darr.
In addition to her parents, Barbara was predeceased by her second husband and soulmate, John Starr, her first husband, James H. Lawler, her beloved son James H. Lawler, Jr., and her son-in-law, Roy Stephenson.
There were so many people who provided joy, wisdom, solace, support and love throughout Barbara’s long life. She and her family would like to acknowledge: best friend and nursing colleague for over 30 years, Terrie Smith, RN, and husband Allan of Torrington; best friend, neighbor, and co-conspirator at The Workman, Millie Keller; Mary Floyd, choir mistress of the Silver Belles and Beaux; the late Agnes and Henry Murphy of Meriden, CT, and their surviving families; and the late Sis and Jim Kelly of West Hartford, CT, and their surviving families.
The family would also like to thank the devoted staff of Wolcott Hall Nursing Center and The Workman; the entire staff of Litchfield County Visiting Nurse and Hospice, and the ER Department at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital for their loving and empathetic care; and Barbara’s physicians, Stacey Taylor, Joseph Abreu, and dentist, Kim Wasko.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 10:00a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 160 Main St., Torrington, CT. Burial in New St. Francis Cemetery, Torrington, will be private. Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington, is in care of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice, or to The American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Dr., Wallingford, CT 06492 (heart.org/donate)
A long life, well-lived, was a gift not only to Barbara, but to the countless people who knew, worked with, and loved her. She was grateful for everyone and every day. She will always be in our hearts.