Barbara Virginia Hermance DeMers, 93, of Linden Ponds in Hingham, MA, passed away on April 29, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. A loving and unassuming person, Barbara was born in Boston, MA, on November 6, 1925, to Lewis and Isabelle Hermance.
She grew up in Nashua, NH, and graduated from Duke University in 1947. After college, as a receptionist the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston, she recalled meeting Judy Garland, and later as secretary for the Dean of Registrar at Harvard University she fell in love with William Henry DeMers II, a handsome officer in the U.S. Navy stationed on the USS Worcester. She often commented that she thought that he was wealthy because he had a gold Ensign’s stripe. They were married at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Nashua, NH on April 27, 1952.
As a Navy wife, she tended to family duties while her husband was at sea on naval operations, and made a home for her family in cities along the Atlantic coast, including Norfolk, VA, Charleston, SC, Newport, RI and Washington DC.
In addition to being room mother and Scout leader for her three children, she volunteered for the American Red Cross and the Navy Relief Society. She loved her “job” as docent for 17 years at the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, where she took great pleasure in making museum visitors who came for tours feel welcomed. Barbara was a gracious volunteer wherever she lived.
Family and traditions were important to Barbara. Summers spent at a rustic cabin at Newfound Lake, NH, created “roots” for her family during their many years of transient military life, and which continue today. The “Ker plink, Ker plank, Ker plunk” sound of picking wild blueberries with her grandchildren brought her great joy. She created numerous things homemade and from the heart: Christmas stockings of red felt and glitter, “Grammy’s” cookies, holiday decorations and counted cross-stitch pictures for grandchildren.
A desire to know more about her family history spurred a lifelong interest in genealogy – she had descendants from the Mayflower and was also a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln.
People were more important to her than things and making memories with family was more important than material possessions. She was not one to criticize gossip or judge. She enjoyed spending time with those she loved in her own quiet way. Her essence can be remembered in these simple but meaningful words from the poem, “The House by the Side of the Road,” by Sam Walter Foss:
“Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.”
She leaves behind her beloved husband of 67 years, Capt. William Henry DeMers II, USN, Ret.; her children Diane (Dave Ballantine) DeMers, Robert DeMers and Carol Anne (Ricardo) Aguayo; and her beloved grandchildren Alisha (Alex) Semprebon, Pooja Ballantine, Keerti Ballantine, Ariyana Aguayo and Mariel DeMers. She was preceded in death by her grandson, Kevin Ballantine, and her brothers Donald and Robert Hermance.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 22, 2019, at the First Trinitarian Congregational Church, in Scituate, MA. Burial will be at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH at 11:00 a.m. on Monday June 24, 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kevin Ballantine Memorial Scholarship Fund at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 Dekalb Ave, Sycamore, IL 60178.