Barbara Ellen Rogers Stinson, 90, of Warrenton, passed away on Nov. 18, 2014.
An avid musician, educator and conservationist, Mrs. Stinson devoted her life to celebrating and improving the world around her.
Born Oct. 27, 1924, in Lakewood, Ohio, to Lester Cushing Rogers and Lucile Pritchard Rogers, she spent her childhood years in Cleveland and Winnetka, Ill. As a girl, she was fascinated by nature and natural history, a passion that was indulged by her parents and that would continue throughout her life. She grew up in a musically-accomplished family that enjoyed singing and accompanying each other on piano, violin and other instruments.
In her high school and college years, she worked as a counselor at ranch camps in Arizona and Colorado. During World War II, she worked as a wrangler at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Mrs. Stinson was passionate about the American West and about Native American culture. As an adult, she spent many happy years traveling in the Southwest, cultivating her knowledge of Navajo and Hopi cultures and sharing the experience with her husband, children and friends.
She attended Smith College and the University of Wisconsin, where she earned a master’s degree in zoology and met her future husband, Dr. Henry Wade Stinson. While at the University of Wisconsin, she had the privilege of working for Dr. Aldo Leopold and was profoundly influenced by his concept of “the Land Ethic” and her friendship with the Leopold family. Her visits to the Leopold “Shack” inspired her to create a similar country haven later in life.
Mrs. Stinson was a talented guitarist and had an unforgettably beautiful alto voice. She loved both sacred and folk music, compiling a repertoire of folk songs that she shared in many venues. During the 1940s, she wrote and hosted her own television show, “Lady of the Mountain,” co-starring Tommy Sands, hosted two musical programs for radio audiences, recorded collections of folk music songs and guest starred on early television shows for young people.
She and her husband moved to Fauquier County shortly after their marriage in 1950. Over a 37-year period Mrs. Stinson shared her musical gifts with the Warrenton Presbyterian Church, directed the adult and children’s choirs, and founded and directed the handbell choir. She also served as a deacon and as an elder for the church. She directed and was the driving force behind the Warrenton Chorale’s “Christmas in Music” program, which continues. Over her 35-year association with the chorale, Mrs. Stinson enlisted more than 2,000 local participants and, with their help, gave a memorable gift of music to her community.
Mrs. Stinson was passionate about education. She founded and for several years directed the Fauquier County Public Library children’s story hour. She worked as an elementary school music teacher and taught in public and private schools throughout Fauquier County for many years. She enjoyed combining her love of music and nature. After her retirement from the schools, Mrs. Stinson hosted busloads of students on field trips to her country cabin, where she shared her love of bluebirds, poetry and folk songs.
A community servant, Mrs. Stinson was a member of the Fauquier County School Board from 1972 to 1982, served on the Fauquier County Public Library Board of Trustees for another 10 years and was a member of the board of the national North American Bluebird Society. She was an independent thinker and a thought leader. Her devotion to her children and to building a better world inspired her to organize musical exchanges between white and black congregations in Warrenton, to attend The 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, and to champion conservation causes.
Mrs. Stinson’s humor, intelligence, generosity and talent enriched the lives of her family, friends and community in profound ways. Hers was a life well lived. When asked in recent years to describe her proudest accomplishments, Mrs. Stinson commented that teaching music, raising her children and directing local choirs topped the list.
Mrs. Stinson was preceded in death by her mother and father; her siblings Lester Rogers, Lucile Orbison and Nancy Sala; her husband Henry Wade Stinson, and her infant son Wade C. Stinson.
She is survived and greatly missed by her children, Christine H. Stinson of Hatteras, N.C., David C. Stinson of Aiken, S.C., Elizabeth R. “Betsy” Stinson her husband Paul Angermeier of Blacksburg and their daughter Bonnie M. Angermeier, and Ann C. Stinson of Delta, Colo., and her children Heidi E. Stinson, Leda M. Stinson, Julia C. Stinson and Wade I. Stinson.
The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Moser Funeral Home in Warrenton. A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Warrenton Presbyterian Church, with reception to follow.
Memorial contributions may be made to the North American Bluebird Society, Bloomington Ind.; the Warrenton Chorale; the American Bird Conservancy, The Plains; the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, Warrenton; Warrenton Presbyterian Church, or the Barbara Rogers Stinson music education scholarship at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.