Claire Françoise (Simar) Barber, 77, of Enfield, CT passed away peacefully at home on June 2, 2018. Claire was born on January 17, 1941 in Bressoux, Liège, Belgium, the daughter of pianist, composer, conductor and professor León Jean Simar and pianist Andrée Blanche Defourny.
As a result of the 1940 invasion of Belgium by Germany during World War II, Belgium suffered tremendous destruction and economic uncertainty. So the family emigrated to South America in 1949, when Claire was 8 years old, and settled in Cali, Colombia, where Prof. Simar had been offered a position, and became a leading figure in the musical life of the region.
In 1958 Claire emigrated to the United States, where she earned degrees from Bay Path College, the University of Hartford, and Kansas State University. She taught business courses, French and Spanish at Bay Path, and also served as Registrar there, retiring in 1998 after 36 years, with the title of Professor Emeritus.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by a younger sister, Françoise, and by her son, Justin William Barber. She leaves her husband of 40 years, William B. Barber, as well as two brothers, Michel Simar and André Simar (and wife Maria Elena), of Cali, Colombia, her sisters-in-law Amy Lynn Barber and Beth Barber of Sandwich, MA, and 8 nieces and nephews – Juliana Simar, Miguel Esteban Simar and Hannah Kornberg in the US, Isabela Simar in Panama, Andres Jose Simar, Juan Felipe Simar and Ana Marcela Simar in Belgium, and Juan Sebastian Simar in Colombia.
With her fluency and interest in languages, Claire enjoyed traveling in Europe, as well as in the United States. Her favorite hobby was various crafts, especially knitting, and she was active in several knitting and craft circles, often knitting for charitable organizations.
After her son’s death, she served as president and newsletter editor of the Springfield chapter of the Compassionate Friends. She was a former member of the Agawam Methodist United Church, and participated for many years in their projects at the Eastern States.
Her husband wishes to express sincere thanks to the home health care workers who provided such wonderful care and companionship, and to Trinity Health At Home Hospice.
Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. A memorial service and celebration of Claire’s life will be held on June 24 at 2:00 pm at Empsall Hall on the campus of Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA.
Memorial donations in Claire’s name may be made to the Claire F. Barber (’61) and Justin W. Barber Memorial Scholarship at Bay Path University, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA 01106.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Leete-Stevens Enfield Chapels, 61 South Rd. Enfield. For online expressions of sympathy or directions please visit www.leetestevens.com