Barbara Rausch Priester Deely 12/19/2014 Natick, MA

Barbara Rausch Priester Deely 10/29/20 – 12/19/14 Barbara Deely, age 94, died early Friday morning in Natick, Massachusetts, two weeks after suffering a fall and breaking her hip. She always knew this was the hazard to avoid and could only think to apologize. Barbara was born in Plainfield, New Jersey to Roswell H. and Louise Cornell Rausch on October 29, 1920 and grew up there, the oldest of four daughters. She graduated with a BA from Smith College (Northampton) in 1942, and earned a Masters in Fine Arts at University of Iowa in 1986. She married Peter F. Priester of Davenport, Iowa, in 1943, and raised her family of five kids there, while making art that dazzled us and her many admirers. She was a potter, a printmaker, and a painter working with encaustics during her later years, because she could do it in a small room in her apartment. She joked that it was a bit too late in life to worry about inhaling fumes, but she left the window wide open and shivered away in a down coat, just in case it mattered. After the untimely death of Peter in 1973, she continued to dress and set the table for her dinners alone, and threw herself into a life of entertaining, traveling, and refining her artistic vision and skills. Mom married John M Deely, Jr. of Stockbridge in 1988. They spent thirteen happy years together at home on Rattlesnake Mountain Road, before Jack’s death in October of 2000. Fiercely independent to the end, she never would have thought to move to where her far-flung kids lived, but rather chose to stick close to her life and friends in the Berkshires. She moved to Kimball Farms in Lenox, saying “I don’t want my five kids voting on this.” We, her kids, feel lucky to have had such a smart, gifted, funny and fun party girl of a mother. She leaves behind her sisters, Nancy Epley and Virginia Boothe, her sister Elizabeth Karlow having pre-deceased her. Also her kids Fred Priester (Pat) of Long Grove, Iowa; Betsy Lahaussois (Jacques) of Colpetrazzo, Italy; Jim (Rahima) of Kuala Lumphur, Malaysia; Helen Love (Arvid Koppang) of Grand Junction, Colorado; Dick Priester (Iryna) of Wayland, Massachusetts; step-son Philip Deely (Hilary) of Stockbridge. Seventeen grand-children who loved her, and now 6 great grands with two more expected in the coming weeks. Memorial services will be 2 PM, Sunday, December 28th, at Church on the Hill in Lenox. If you are moved to memorialize Barbara, please consider the Clark Museum, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA 01267.

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