The Westbrook Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Barbara was born and raised in Westbrook. Her father was Elliot Spencer, who built a large family home on Seaside Avenue. The house is there today. Barbara always wanted to be a teacher and attended college at Rollins, in Florida. Following graduation, she returned to Connecticut and began her career in Norwalk, in Fairfield County. It wasn't long before she came home to Westbrook as an elementary teacher, first at the Mulvey School, then at Daisy Ingraham, where she was beloved by students and parents alike.
With teaching her life's work, when Barbara's father died in the early 1980's, she had an idea to use some of the inheritance to establish a scholarship in her father's memory for a high school senior. She was advised instead to consider creating a Foundation that could provide a broader outreach than financing a single scholarship. She did just that, forming a Board of Directors in 1984 that included then First Selectman Don Morrison, who joined prominent residents and family friends Judy Lowe, Ed Binder, Mike Wells and Alberta Woodstock. The initial sum was $20,000 and its interest funded an annual scholarship, just as Barbara planned. Barbara retired from teaching in 1992 and then died suddenly of a heart attack in July of 1993. But her love for her town and its children live on, as she left a sizeable portion of her estate to the Foundation, with the intent of providing the greatest possible benefit to Westbrook residents. Her memory in the Children's Room at the Library is a lasting tribute to this unequaled generosity.