Cambridge-Barbara Ring of Cambridge, passed away on Saturday, December 5, 2020 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease and a debilitating stroke.
Barbara was born on January 13,1939 to Barbara Healey (Welsh) and Anthony Healey in Manhasset, NY. She grew up on Long Island with her parents and older brother Richard (Dick) Healey. She spent a lot of happy time with her twenty-one first cousins on her mother’s side. She was an avid tennis player, a competitive swimmer, and a daring sailor.
She was a gifted teacher and student of education throughout her life. She obtained her B.A. from Regis College and a Master’s in Psychology from St. John’s University. She was a lifelong educator. She was beloved by her students from all levels, from a Florida kindergarten, to Head Start, to ACC, to the teachers, principals and school superintendents across New York State who took her groundbreaking graduate course in equity in education through the BOCES. In her 50’s she went back to school for a doctorate in Education at SUNY Albany.
Barbara married Richard James Ring in 1968. They moved north from Long Island to Washington County in 1974. They had two children, Richard and Siobhan. Barbara and Richard divorced in 1986. Barbara lived in Cambridge almost all her remaining years. She never ceased noticing and appreciating the beauty of the landscape here, especially her beloved Battenkill. She loved to sail, swim, dance, walk ocean beaches, and to take in the sunset by the pond atop Frog Way.
Her house in Center Cambridge hosted the neighborhood sledding hill. She welcomed all the kids on joyous snowy days and administered both hot cocoa and band-aids as needed. In her later years she took up writing, even chronicling Alzheimer’s disease in her poetry, both its losses and its unexpected blessings. She was active in writing, poetry, and meditation groups in Cambridge. She served for years on the board of Hubbard Hall, and loved spending time there and with friends at the Round House Cafe.
She loved music of many kinds and took great joy in singing with friends in the Battenkill Chorale. Barbara also sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s church in Cambridge, where she was also a congregant, for many years. An accomplished pianist, she still played Rachmaninoff by heart in her home long after Alzheimer’s disease took her ability to read.
She was an adventurer. At age 23, in 1962, she toured Europe with friends. After she retired, she took trips with friends and family to Ireland and a river boat cruise in Europe. Even as she was affected by Alzheimer’s disease, she carried on with trips to Cape Cod, and paddles down the Battenkill with her son.
She was an amazing Grammy to her grandson Xavier Katz. She took many trips to Seattle to visit him and Siobhan’s family, including when she cared for him during his first year. She shared with him her love of books, laughter, music, dancing and the ocean. For as long as her health allowed, she was always ready to take him on an adventure or snuggle him.
She taught her children and her friends the importance of seeking joy and beauty by example, her whole life.
In the last 6 years of her life, she lived with Alzheimer’s Disease. Through the challenges of a brutal disease, she was resilient, stubbornly independent, and graceful, still seeking beauty and humor. She was lovingly cared for and supported by her children, home care aides, neighbors and friends, and for the last two years of her life she received compassionate and skilled care from the dedicated staff at Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center memory care and Eddy Village Green nursing home in Cohoes, NY.
Barbara is survived by her son Richard Mallen Ring, daughter Kathleen Siobhan Ring, daughter-in-law Erin Katz, grandson Xavier William Ring Katz, cousin Ward Welsh and his wife Louise, and many beloved friends. Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her brother Richard Healey, her ex-husband Richard James Ring, her “niece” Cynthia Malara, (daughter of dear friend Cathie Malara), and many beloved cousins, including her cousin and friend Anne Rockett.
A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at St. Patrick’s Church, 17 South Park St., Cambridge with Rev. Thomas Zelker officiating.
Please where a face mask and practice social distancing.
A full memorial celebration of her life will be planned when it is safe to gather in the coming year. In lieu of flowers, her children ask for donations to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org), the environmental non-profit 350.org (www.350.org), or the Food Pantries of the Capital District (www.thefoodpantries.org).
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