FALMOUTH – The center of family life was at the home of Virginia Lorraine Barchard. That was where her clan gathered to laugh and reminisce over the holidays, where her children would be spellbound as she told them stories and where her grandchildren went for regular spaghetti dates and after-school tea and toast.

Mrs. Barchard leaves behind a family grateful for the love and care she bestowed on them as well as the opportunity to witness her optimistic spirit. Mrs. Barchard died Thursday at the age of 92.

“She just had a wonderful life — a full life,” said Sally Barchard of Falmouth, one of her three daughters. “She had so many people who were in awe of her, really, I think, because of her whole nature, her positive, loving warm nature.”

Born in Portland to Ruth (Nichols) and S. Arthur Paul, Mrs. Barchard went to school in Portland and graduated from Deering High School. She was on break from Colby-Sawyer College when she met her future husband, Rex W. Barchard.

Their romance began at a party at a home at Woodford Street and Stevens Avenue in Portland. They were both going up the porch steps when they locked eyes.

It was love at first sight for Mrs. Barchard, a beauty with a social and happy demeanor, and Mr. Barchard, who was very warm and loving and a little shy, according to their family. The couple married on Sept. 1, 1939.

The two were inseparable. When Mr. Barchard had to work at night, the two wrote lovely notes to each other to keep one another apprised of their days, recalled Linda Pyles of Falmouth, another daughter.

Their relationship was such that their family felt the love affair continued even after Mr. Barchard’s death in 1980.

Mr. Barchard’s hobby was furniture restoration and remodeling, interests that his wife shared.

The couple funneled that energy into fixing up their first home, an old Cape Cod on Yarmouth’s Pleasant Street that needed tender loving care.

Like everything else, the two did the work together and involved the girls.

The daughters describe the family as a jolly team, whether it was stripping multiple coats of paint off the wainscoting, standing on chairs to hold the sheetrock their father was nailing in or hammering away like a little demolition crew.

Mrs. Barchard was able to extend her warmth and guidance to a large extended family.

Her survivors include five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren — with another due to arrive on Christmas, and two great-great-granchildren. She took enormous pride in them all.

“She loved family around,” Sally Barchard said. “When there was a holiday, it was at my mother’s house. It was always there, it was the center. It was a magnet.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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