Barbara Stahl Edwards, 80, of Essex, Conn., died unexpectedly June 15, 2014, at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn.

She was the daughter of Canning and Edith Stahl of Chappaqua, N.Y. and Waterford, Va. A 1951 graduate of Horace Greeley High School, she also attended Randolph Macon Woman’s College graduating in 1955. In 1956 she married her beloved husband Lt. David F. Edwards, U.S. Army. A devoted army wife, she took great pride in making each house a home through many assignments, and she would recall with good humor having moved 14 times in the first 16 years of their married life.

Upon David’s retirement from the Army in 1971, the family moved to Hamden, Conn., where Barbara’s volunteer instincts brought her to Ridge Hill Elementary School where she served as a president of the PTA. As an account executive of Southern New England Telephone Company she traveled statewide successfully marketing the company’s communications products and services. Moving to Essex in 1981, she became a member of the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church as well as of the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurses of the Connecticut Valley.

An active participant in environmental causes, Barbara joined the Board of the Essex Land Trust and served as its president for several years. Under her dedicated leadership, the Land Trust acquired numerous new properties and expanded its membership; she continued this service over the years, counseling and sharing her experience with subsequent members of the Board. During the summer months which she and her family spent in Friendship, she expanded her interest in land preservation through active involvement with the Medomak Valley Land Trust.

A twice cancer survivor, Barbara was co-founder of Essex’s Breast Friends cancer support group. She spent countless hours bringing members together for fellowship as well as for educational meetings with cancer care professionals. Recently, she added the Shoreline Soup Kitchen to her list of volunteer service activities.

Barbara approached her enthusiasm for gardening through the Essex Garden Club, as well as in nurturing her family properties in Connecticut and Maine. She particularly enjoyed offering saplings from her property to other gardeners, and these trees now adorn numerous landscapes far and wide. A lifetime lover of the outdoors, Barbara and her family made countless ski trips both in Europe and America. She was a member of the Pettipaug Yacht Club and in years past could be seen rowing her recreational shell on the Connecticut River in the early morning hours. She was a reliable helmswoman on the family cruising yawl, Evensong, sailing back and forth from Maine to the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club. More recently, in Maine she was the fearless first mate on Old Glory, the family Rhodes 19.

Besides her husband David, she leaves her children Kem Edwards of North Kingstown, R.I., Mary Edwards Mather and her husband Michael of Lyme, Conn., Sarah Edwards Feeney and her husband Robert of La Jolla, Calif., as well as her grandchildren Robert Feeney III, Caroline Feeney and Grace Feeney, all of La Jolla. She also leaves her brother Edward Stahl of Los Gatos, Calif. and his children and grandchildren, as well as her brother- and sister-in-law R. Kemerer Edwards and Phoebe Edwards of New Haven, Conn. and their children and grandchildren.

Her family and friends remember Barbara for her deep Christian faith, encouraging spirit and enthusiasm, warm and winning smile, abiding kindness and generous offer of friendship to all whom she knew.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 23, at 11 a.m. at The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist located at 200 Main St. in Thomaston. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Barbara’s memory to any of the many organizations that she held so dear.