BELFAST – Nita Hale Barbour passed away peacefully on Feb. 4, 2017, under hospice care at the Waldo County General Hospital. She was 85. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Nita was a 1952 graduate of Colby College and went on to achieve a master’s in French language studies at Middlebury. Her passion for the French language and teaching it led to studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on a Fulbright scholarship. After some time out for a family, Nita went on to achieve a doctoral degree in early childhood education and development at the University of Maryland.
Nita had a long and distinguished career as a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County spanning more than 20 years. She was the co-author of three texts in the field of child development plus a number of professional papers and research studies.
Nita is survived by her husband of 57 years, Chandler Barbour, her daughter Valerie H. Mekras and husband, Gregory Mekras, of Sugar Land, Texas, her son Steven Barbour and husband, Thomas Ponti, of Boston, and her granddaughter Victoria G. Mekras of Sugar Land, Texas. Nita is survived by her sisters Marian Hale Fowler of Norcross, and Barbara Hale Powers of Auburn, plus sisters-in-law Joan Hale and Virginia Hale, as well as many nieces, nephews and their children. She was predeceased by her three brothers: Richard Hale, Alan Hale, and William Hale II.
Nita and her husband retired to Deer Isle and continued their professional interests through community involvement particularly in the areas of early childhood literacy and social justice. They also developed their last co-authored text, “Families, Schools and Communities,” which remains in print today.
In her later years, Nita suffered the devastating effects of progressive dementia, but did so with the grace and warmth that had marked her earlier life.
Memorial services will be scheduled in July at Deer Isle to celebrate Nita’s life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her honor to the Deer Isle/Sunset Congregational Church, P.O. Box 292, Deer Isle, ME 04627, or Colby College, www.colby.edu/give.