Benington, Vermont – Barbara Ann Downing, long-time resident of Houran Road, Bennington, died on February 22, 2023, following a brief illness. She was the second oldest of five children born to Alfred H. and Marguerite (Higgins) Taylor and grew up on Lincoln Street in Bennington. She attended St. Francis de Sales Academy and graduated from Bennington High School with the Class of 1951.
During high school, Barbara worked at the New York Store on North Street and for N.E. Tel. & Tel. Following graduation, she was employed at BenMont Papers and then as secretary at Bennington Catholic High School.
Following her marriage to Charles A. (Chuck) Downing on July 13, 1957, at St. Francis de Sales Church, she stayed home raising two children. As they got older, she resumed part-time employment at Tansitor Electronics and Vermont Container Corporation. In 1968, she became a full-time employee at the State of Vermont at the Bennington State Office Building where she worked for 27 years. During that time, she served the public at the Departments of Social Welfare, Social Service, Health and the Department of Employment and Training from which she retired in July 1995.
Barbara enjoyed caring for her home and helping Chuck with the flower and vegetable gardens. She also was an excellent cook and baker and shared her baked goods with family and friends. On two occasions she won blue ribbons for her apple pies in area contests. She also liked to sew, cross-stitch and quilt. She was a library volunteer for many years at the Bennington Museum and enjoyed doing genealogy research for her Taylor families.
She is survived by her husband Chuck; a son, Taylor A. (Tad) Downing (Jennifer Parker) of Bennington; a daughter, Tracy A. Bessette (Michael) of Vergennes; grandchildren: David M. Bessette, Molly A. Downing, Owen P. Downing, step-granddaughter, Caroline Parker, and great-grandson, Harley LeSage. Siblings surviving include Beverly T. Feeney of Bennington, and Marguerite (Peggy) Jones of Locust Grove, VA. She is also survived by sister-in-law Jane Taylor and special nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is predeceased by a brother, Charles D. (Pete) Taylor; sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Edward Frasier, brother-in-law, James E. Feeney; brother-in-law Robert Jones; and by sisters and brothers-in-law, Elizabeth and Kanaan Kano; Myrtle and Howard Corey; and Jean and Bruce Smith.
At Barbara’s request, there will be no calling hours or formal services. Burial will take place in the family lot at Park Lawn Cemetery, Bennington. There will be a Celebration of Life at a later date.
If friends should desire, contributions in memory of Barbara may be made to SWVT Regional Cancer Center or Sacred Heart School, through the office of the Mahar and Son Funeral Home 628 Main Street Bennington, Vermont
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