Barbara Vassar

Obituary of Barbara Henderson Vassar

Barbara Henderson Vassar, age 95, died on June 26, 2020 at Gordon Manor in Redwood City, CA from Alzheimer’s Disease. Barbara was born on May 15, 1925 at the family farm near Clover, VA, the next to the youngest of 10 children. She graduated from Clover High School in 1943 as valedictorian of her class. She attended Mary Washington College (Fredericksburg, VA) and majored in Commerce. In 1949, Barbara and Clarence Vassar began their 58-year marriage in Richmond, VA. She worked as a buyer at Thalhimers Department Store in Richmond followed by a similar job at Sanger-Harris in Dallas, TX.


Barbara was the loving mother of three boys: Richard, Hugh, and Robert. To them she passed on her passion for learning and love of nature. She was an excellent seamstress and made many of her own clothes. As her children grew-up, she returned to college for a B.S. in Elementary Education at University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL) and M.S. in Elementary Education at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Barbara was passionate about her second career teaching children.


After retirement, Barbara and Clarence lived fulltime at Crow’s Nest, their beloved mountain home in western North Carolina near Asheville. They enjoyed the view from their home and taking walks to “Trillium Gap”. Barbara could identify all of the plants and flowers to be seen along the way.  In their mid-70s, Barbara and Clarence achieved a life-long dream by hiking with a group of friends to the summit of Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both Clarence and Barbara were active members of First Baptist Church in Asheville. They taught separate Sunday School classes and looked in on their church friends in times of need.


After, Clarence’s death in 2008, Barbara moved to California to be near her two sons and their families. Although Barbara was sad to leave her many dear friends in Asheville, she enjoyed having her family nearby and made new friends with her easygoing southern charm. She enjoyed swimming at the YMCA, tending to the garden at her residence, and afternoon cookies.


Barbara was predeceased in death by her son, Bobby Vassar, her husband, Clarence Vassar, and all of her siblings. She is survived by her sons, Richard Vassar and Hugh Vassar, her daughters-in-law, Janet Vassar and Xiu Juan “Mary” Zhang, and her granddaughters, Rachel Vassar and Theresa Wang.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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