This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Barbara June Stenning, a direct descendent of Captain John Luther who arrived in America in 1630, died peacefully at home on November 23, 2020. Married on June 28, 1952, she was the wife of Gordon J. Stenning. Born August 12, 1928, in Johnston, RI, she was the daughter of the late Howard C. Luther, Sr and Mildred (Graves) Luther.
Barbara attended the Providence and Cranston school systems. She Graduated Cranston High School in 1946 and went onto attend Bryant College. She was awarded the degree of PHT from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA.
Barbara contracted Polio in 1952, the first year of her marriage. Her polio developed into Post Polio Syndrome later in her life.
She worked as a Senior Bookkeeper and Payroll Clerk for Crown Worsted Mills in Providence, RI. Barbara then worked at the Baker Library at Harvard Business School from 1952-1955. She went on to work as a bookkeeper for Malcolm E. Berrett, PE, in 1968 -1975 and before retiring she worked for Wilby’s Fabric Store from 1975 -1988.
Barbara loved music and singing for thirty-one years in the St. Mary’s Choir in Portsmouth. She started the Bell Choir and their Thrift Shop. She also started the Country Store booth at St. Mary’s Annual Lawn Party and the Annual Parish Show at Saint Mary’s.
In addition to welcoming any and all to Saint Mary’s rectory, she held an Open House at the Rectory which developed into a Christmas tradition. Thirty-one were held while at the parish. She continued having Christmas Open Houses in Southport, Connecticut and into retirement.
Barbara was a member and officer of the Portsmouth Garden Club and for years she was the Hospitality Committee for the Pheasant Hill Neighborhood Association.
An excellent cook, she ran the food program of Trinity Church, Southport to feed homeless men in Fairfield, Connecticut. Besides cooking she enjoyed all forms of sewing.
In addition to her husband Gordon, she leaves her children Mark L. Stenning of Newport, RI and Pamela S. Caudill and her husband Charles of East Haven, CT. Barbara is also survived by her grandchildren, Christopher Stenning of East Greenwich, RI, Emily Hughes and her husband Matthew of Bristol, RI, John S. Callahan of Chestnut Hill, PA and Elizabeth Callahan and her wife MaryKate of Avenel, NJ as well as her beloved Molly.
She was preceded in death by her brother Howard C. Luther Jr.
Gordon asked the following old prayer end Barbara’s obituary as it sums up her life so well-
We thank thee, O God, for this thy servant Barbara patient in tribulation; rejoicing
in hope; continuing instant in prayer; not slothful in business; given to hospitality.
Having fought the good fight and kept the faith, grant to her, we beseech thee the
crown of life that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
“Due to Covid restrictions the Funeral Services will be private”
In lieu of flowers donations may be given to St. Mary’s Church, 324 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871 or St.Paul’s Church, 2679 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871
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