Obituary: Barbara Small, 92, formerly of Ridgefield

Barbara Small, of Clinton, and New Haven, CT, died on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at her home in New Haven, at the age of 92.

She is survived by her children, Robin, Gregory, and Nancy; her granddaughter, Marissa, son-in-law, Michael, and daughter-in-law, Claire.

Barbara was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May, 28, 1925, daughter of Marjorie Totty Brock and Charles Brock. She was predeceased by her brother Charles Brock, Jr. She graduated high school in the midst of World War II and went to work as an executive secretary at Fisher Aircraft, Cleveland division, manufacturer of B-17 bomber parts. It was the first of many executive secretarial positions she would hold over the years and her employers never wanted to see her go.

After the war, she became a staff writer at American Greetings, headquartered in Cleveland, and freelanced as a greeting card writer for many years. She met her husband, Milford Small, who was home from the Seabees, on a blind date. They married and left for Los Angeles where Milford attended photography school on the GI bill. She loved California, but after graduation, they moved to New York City where she supported her husband in establishing his career as an advertising photographer.

Barbara was among the first group of skin divers in California, and later, become a member of the Long Island Dolphins chapter of the Empire State Diving Association. She described those early days with joy and enthusiasm. She said that although they had no money, they were young and vibrant and everyone treated them like gold, as the country was so grateful that the war was over.

Yearning for the country, the family moved to Ridgefield, CT in 1966, where she initiated a successful local movement to prevent the commercial development of Seth Low Mountain State Park. She attended Western Connecticut State College. If a person gets credits for being self-taught — she would have several PhD’s. Barbara became a licensed massage therapist at the age of 65, and volunteered for California Hospice. She worked as an administrative assistant for the EPRI Corporation, an energy research company, based in Palo Alto, CA.

Barbara had an especially youthful, open spirit, a resilient strength, and the work ethic and good health that allowed her to continue to work full-time until the age of 80. She and her husband, now deceased, shared a love of nature, the ocean, camping and diving at Montauk, and vacationing at Lake George. Barbara was an avid reader, lifelong yoga practitioner, and wrote poetry for pleasure. She was a cat lover, devoted to her beloved Maine Coon rescue cat, Shanti. She leaves the world better for her presence.

Private Family Service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Salvation Army.