Obituary: Christine Barnes, 1943-2022 | Obituaries | Seven days

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  • Christine Barnes

Christine Barnes, of Northfield, Vermont, died peacefully at her home on March 27, 2022, with her husband, Gordon Perkinson, by her side.

She was born in 1943 in New London, Connecticut and grew up in Glencoe, Maryland in a country home with birds, wildlife and gardens. She was the daughter of Arthur Dayton Barnes, an administrator and engineer at Johns Hopkins Hospital, also a graduate of the Annapolis Naval Academy and a submarine commander during World War II. His mother was Mildred Clara Hicks, a real estate agent, largely in Greenwich, Connecticut. Christine attended Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland, then returned in 1956 to Greenwich, where her father joined the staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She graduated from Greenwich Academy, active in sports and choir, and later earned a degree in sociology at Syracuse University in New York.

In 1965 she married Robert Lorenz, and in 1969 she moved to South Burlington, Vt. Christine worked at the Baird Center for Emotionally Disturbed Children, where she became director of education. She and Robert divorced, and in 1974 Christine married Henry “Hank” Kite. She earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Vermont, worked on the Consulting Teacher Project, and also earned a master’s degree in education and a graduate certificate in administration and planning.

In 1974, Christine moved into the public school system, becoming Federal Curriculum Coordinator at Essex Junction, then Special Education Coordinator, followed by Director of Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation at U-32 Secondary School. For many years, she was principal of Jericho Elementary School and later principal of Twinfield Union School. She retired from Twinfield in 2006 but returned for a year as acting manager in 2012.

In 2006 Christine moved to Northfield and married Gordon Perkinson, who is active in canine therapy, primarily at Veterans Administration Hospital in White River Junction and Veterans Place in Northfield. Like his wife, he is also a master gardener.

At Northfield, Christine served on both the Conservation Commission and the Energy Committee. She became an active master gardener, taking the course in 2009 and volunteering countless hours at plant shows and creating and maintaining numerous gardens – some at the University of Vermont, but most at Northfield. Along with other master gardeners and volunteers in Northfield, she has led the work in 17 public and private gardens around Northfield.

For 15 years, she was an ad litem tutor in central Vermont, working on behalf of no less than 15 children at a time – exceeding more than 100 young people between the ages of 7 and 15. In addition to being a family advocate, due to her expertise in education, she has also served as an education surrogate in the school setting. She was constantly focused on the well-being of the children and their needs and desires, both personally and educationally, so that they could reach their full potential.

Additionally, she and Gordon, for about a decade, volunteered at National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and Florida — sometimes for months at a time. They have participated in bird counts, organized ornithological tours and given talks in schools on the environment and climate change. In Florida, Gordon also served as a lighthouse keeper on some of these visits. She has been a lifelong sports enthusiast – most recently, hiking, bird watching, skiing and snowshoeing. She was one of the architects of Northfield’s Town Forest Stewardship Plan.

While married to Hank Kite, the two lobbied the Vermont state legislature for dignified death legislation. It wasn’t the law when Mr Kite needed it in 1998, but now Christine has been able to choose that option after a long battle with cancer.

Christine is survived by her husband, Gordon Perkinson; stepchildren Kim (Kiley) Kite, Kenric (Colleen) Kite, Kirsten (Alan) Kite, Mary Kathryn Perkinson, Steven Page (Karen) Perkinson and Ruth (Heather) Perkinson; step-grandchildren Adrian, Tristan and Alison Donlan-Kite, Ethan and Isaiah Donegan-Kite, Taliesin and Tanwen Stokes, and Chad and Kyle Perkinson; and many friends.

The family thanks Green Mountain Family Practice, especially Dr. Meehan, and Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice.

Arrangements have been made by Kingston Funeral Home in Northfield.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, May 14, 1 p.m., at Northfield United Church and remotely via Zoom for those unable to attend in person. For more information on the Zoom option, send a request to [email protected] Memories can be shared in the Celebrating Christine Barnes Facebook group.

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