Barbara Molander Warner, a lifelong resident of Middletown, died peacefully on February 15, 2019 at the age of 97. Barbara was born at Middlesex Hospital on July 9, 1921, and was the youngest of two daughters of Robert and Frances (Mann) Molander. She grew up in a charming Gothic Revival cottage on South Main Street, from where her father walked each day to The James H. Bunce Company, Middletown’s premiere department store on Main Street, where he served as president for many years. Barbara attended the South Main Street School and Central School for her elementary school years and Middletown High School for three years. In 1938 she enrolled in the Northfield Seminary for Girls (now Northfield Mount Hermon) in Massachusetts. Within days of arriving at boarding school, the campus was hit by the Hurricane of 1938. The chimney in her dining hall collapsed, killing her roommate and two others. Barbara suffered head injuries that resulted in an inner ear imbalance that plagued her throughout her life.
After graduating from Colby Junior College for Women (New Hampshire) in 1942, Barbara returned to Middletown to plan her future, but her options were limited by the U. S. entry in World War II. While out with friends at Cypress Restaurant, she met Clint Warner, a Middletown native serving in the navy. They married in June of 1943 and eventually had four children: Clinton H. Warner III, Susan, Cynthia, and Elizabeth. After the youngest entered school, Barbara returned to work and held positions as a realtor and administrative assistant. From many years, she worked for Hill Development Corporation, helping to oversee the development and sale of houses for Wesleyan Hills. She retired in 1987 from the Rockfall Corporation where she worked for many years.
Barbara and Clint were married for more than fifty years when Clint died in 1994. They lived for most of that time on Hunting Hill Avenue where Barbara remained until 2005, when she moved to Stonegate Apartments. She died at One Macdonough Place after residing there for five years. Barbara was known to her family and friends for her unwavering optimism, her sunny disposition, and her goodwill toward all people. She had a flair for style and never left the house without looking spectacular.
She is survived by her son Clint (Bud) Warner of Middletown; daughters Cynthia Knight and her husband Aaron of New Hampshire, Susan Warner-Prouty and her husband Bill of Middletown, and Liz Warner of New Orleans and her former husband Alberto Najera of Florida. She is also survived by her much-loved grandchildren Abe Warner-Prouty of California and Addy Najera of New Orleans and many nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren. Barbara was predeceased by her sister Alice Halstead.
A Celebration of Barbara’s life will be held on Friday, February 22 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the DeKoven House, 27 Washington Street, Middletown. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Middlesex County Historical Society, 151 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.