Hiram W. Barber III

July 6, 1933 ~ June 15, 2022 (age 88)


Hiram William 'BIll' Barber III Obituary
June 15, 2022

“I will never leave you nor forsake you…”
·Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6

Forever the devoted husband and caregiver, Hiram William ‘Bill’ Barber III, 89, quickly and willingly joined his wife of 69 plus years, Barbara (Waite) Barber, in their eternal journey to reunite with their Heavenly Creator together on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. He peacefully passed away in Westerly with family members at his bedside less than three weeks after fulfilling his promise to his love to pass away under the same circumstances on May 28, 2022.

Born July 6, 1933, in Westerly, Rhode Island, Bill was the son of Hiram W. ‘Bud’ Barber Jr. and Catherine (Nichols) Barber. He graduated from Westerly High School, Class of 1951. Bill married his love, Barbara (Waite) Barber in December of 1953 and graduated from the University of Rhode Island, with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1955. Following graduation, he was a proud participant in a three-year advanced engineering program sponsored by General Electric in various locations in New England and New York State while spending weekends with Barbara and his young children building their ‘Homestead’ with their own hands. With a growing family, he joined General Dynamics, Electric Boat a few years later where he later retired 33 years later. Bill was instrumental in the ‘Boomer’ submarine program, receiving awards for some of his innovative solutions. Meanwhile, he was a lifelong member of the Pawcatuck Seventh Day Baptist Church in Westerly, serving in many roles including President as an influential member of the Board of Trustees and was very involved in the Boy Scouts. 

Bill was always the engineer. He carefully fashioned every drawing, whether it was house plans or driving directions to quilt shows/antique shops for “his sweet”. They were always to scale and always accurate; and many renovations - home additions, garages, decks, stairwells, patios and church projects are still the beneficiaries of his work. Bill brought the Yankee “can do” approach to all his projects big and small. He could fix most anything with a healthy application of planning, trim-head screws and E-6000 industrial strength adhesive.

Family and friends close to Bill, appreciate his passion for expressing his faith into encouraging personal responsibility and walking with Christ. One of his greatest joys in life was proudly and enthusiastically supporting Barbara’s creative and whimsical evangelism through her art of quilting. In this fashion, their personal evangelism was intertwined. While she focused on the next inspiration and her joy of sharing her faith through speaking engagements, he’d handle behind the scenes logistics of ensuring safe passage of both his bride, her treasured artwork and their testimony. He’d keep details of her engagements and which piece was being displayed at which show, museum or library this month, while helping to coordinate future dates. Truly a match made in heaven.

As Barbara’s health declined in recent years, Bill’s love and devotion to his wife was demonstrated at an inspirational level that simply amazed. She always wanted him near her side and he always was. He’d over promise and overdeliver time and time again until the very end. When Barbara passed, he felt she did so because she lovingly understood he wasn’t far behind. Bill was witty and steadfast to the very end ensuring scripture, hymn and family memory accuracy while encouraging the caregivers around him with love.

Sorely missed by children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and three brothers.

He leaves six children, daughters: Deborah (Dr. Bernard) Keown, and Jo Anne (Stan) Soper, both of Ord, Nebraska, and Jennie Lou Barber, of Alameda, CA; and sons: Stephen (Diane) of Preston, CT; Brian (Debi) of Grafton Ma, and Hiram W. Barber, IV (Taylor) of Lincoln, RI.

Also surviving are three brothers - Denison, James, and Jonathan and a brother-in-law: James Loren Waite.

Thirteen grandchildren - Balie, Craig, Lisa, Laurie, Peter, Daniel, Tyler, Clayton, Simon, Spencer, Isaac, Emily, and Helen.  

Three great-grandchildren - Natalie, Owen, and Ibi. Along with many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life & Love will be held at the Pawcatuck Seventh Day Baptist Church on 120 Main Street in Westerly for both Bill and Barbara on Saturday, July 9th at 2pm. The family intends to provide inspiration with photographs, quilts, memorabilia and scripture special to their relationship, please bring your memories and stories to celebrate and share their lives with us. 

There will be no calling hours.

A small burial service will be held for immediate family members at the First Hopkinton Cemetery at a later date.



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