Landscapes 17

Barbara (Spencer) Ryan

February 17, 2023

Barbara (Spencer) Ryan Obituary

Barbara Ryan, 91, died Friday, February 17, 2023. She was born to the late Joseph and Helen Domaleski of Bloomfield, NJ on March 7, 1931. She lived in New Jersey for the first half of her life, and then relocated to Vermont. She loved both locations, enjoying the best of both worlds; the beaches in New Jersey and the beautiful mountains of Vermont.

Barbara graduated from Clifford J. Scott High School, and then attended Berkeley Secretarial School, both in East Orange, NJ. After graduating she worked at Western Electric in New York City as a secretary. During this time, she met her first husband, Albert E. Spencer. Barbara also worked as a legal secretary for law firms in both Freehold, New Jersey and Vermont. While living in New Jersey, she met her second husband Francis Terrance (Terry) Ryan. They fell in love with Vermont and bought the Country Store in Reading, VT. They proudly owned and ran Ryan’s of Reading for over 8 years.

Barbara remained in Vermont and over the years engaged in a variety of occupations: a dispatcher for the Ludlow PD, a realtor, an administrator for a solar store, and at one time, she was the sole proprietor of a cleaning business, Disco Dirt, in Ludlow. Barbara lived in many of the beautiful towns in central Vermont before finally settling into her cozy, modest home in Ascutney. She made many friends along the way.

One of Barbara's greatest passions was music. She played the piano, viola, and the violin, and loved to sing. Classical music could always be heard throughout her home. She also loved animals. She owned a horse named Fred and loved to ride him whenever she could. She also adopted many pets; her home was never short on cats and/or dogs that she deeply adored. 

Barbara treasured spending time with family and friends and loved gardening or reading in her beautiful yard in Vermont. She also loved to watch the multiple varieties of birds that visited her many bird feeders. To satiate her adventurous side, she would often be seen cruising around town in her convertible with the top down, or tooling around on her motorcycle. 

Barbara was creative and talented. Her calligraphy was second to none and in her later years, she lovingly spent hours crafting beautiful, elaborate, pop-up cards which she gave to family and friends to celebrate special occasions. They were a wonderful treat to receive, and spectacular keepsakes. Her talent for visual arts wasn’t limited to crafts; she designed and brought to fruition incredible living spaces in Vermont; from a ski house in Ludlow, to a creatively modified version of a cookie-cutter condo floor plan, to her final project, a lovely home among the Elms in Springfield. 

In Barbara’s younger years, she delighted in spending time on the Ocean Grove beaches in New Jersey where she would swim and play with her children and collect seashells that they would turn into art. After moving to Vermont in 1975 she immediately fell in love with the magnificent Green Mountains and all of its seasons and that is where she remained. 

Barbara is survived by three biological children, Felicia Sartell and son-in law Ted, Temple, NH, Craig Spencer and daughter-in law, Ann Marie, Sebastian, FL and Andover, VT, and David Spencer and daughter-in law Debra, Little Silver, NJ; two adopted children, Jerry Ryan and daughter-in law Kathleen, Huntingdon Valley, PA and Laural Ryan Mendes, Ascutney, VT. Barbara leaves behind 13 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Barbara had an enormous heart and fostered many children throughout her lifetime, one of whom, Josephine Matsutani, came into Barbara’s life as a teenager and was like a daughter to her always. Barbara was also survived by many friends she loved dearly. She is predeceased by her parents, sister, and two husbands. 

Barbara lived life to the fullest for nearly 92 years and is loved and missed by so many. She will always be in our hearts, and our special memories of her will serve to remind us of her unending compassion and vitality.

Knight Funeral Home was entrusted with her cremation. Condolences may be expressed in an online guestbook found at

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