Barbara Eldridge Messere, 78, of Marco Island, Florida and South Kingstown, Rhode Island, passed away peacefully at her home on Marco Island on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 15, 1940, to Robert Forester and Dorothy (Burgess) Eldridge. She was the loving wife of Earle L. Messere for over 56 years whom she affectionately referred to as Buster. Together, they travelled the world.
Barbara grew up in the Edgewood neighborhood of Cranston, Rhode Island, attended Cranston High School East and Roger Williams Nursing School. Rhode Island always had a special place in her heart, and she was happy that the last four digits of her phone number coincided with the year that her ancestor, Gregory Dexter, first came to Rhode Island as the printer and a signer of the Charter for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Barbara was a beloved wife, mother, cousin, aunt, and friend who made sure that everyone remained connected. She valued all relationships, and loved to organize gatherings, which typically included great food, fun stories, hydrangeas and champagne. Everyone who joined one of these gatherings has their favorite Barbara story that immediately brings a smile to one’s face. She was generous with all of her friends, from kindergarten to South County, and the strong bonds she established since moving to Marco Island in 1996.
There were also lots of photos to capture the important moments of our lives. Although she strategically made sure that she was in very few of them. Many will also remember that her great sense of style was always topped off with one of her signature bee pins. While most will remember her beauty, she would always tell everyone that it is more important to be beautiful on the inside.
Another way to stay connected was to use her New York Times crossword puzzle hobby to play Word with Friends.
Barbara was always the first to volunteer for a cause she believed in and take on a leadership role, whether it be running the candy striper program at South County Hospital with her friend, Carol; selling lollipops for the American Heart Association; or being involved with the Junior Woman’s Club, becoming its president, and then subsequently joining the Women’s Club of South County.
Upon moving to Marco Island, although a long-time member, Barbara decided to get more directly involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she very quickly became regent of the local chapter, and actively recruited many new members. She was particularly passionate about any activity or event that related to the American flag. Barbara recently celebrated her 40-year anniversary with the DAR. Her passion for genealogy translated into helping others discover their own lineage. She was also an active member, taking on officer roles, within other societies, such as Colonials Dames of America and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
In addition to Barbara’s many civic responsibilities, she also had a very diverse career. After graduating from nursing school, she worked as an R.N.; was a manager of a jewelry store; she helped her childhood friend, Judy, at her lamp store; she was the dining room manager of the former Larchwood Inn in Wakefield, Rhode Island; and a realtor at Denelle Realtors in South County.
Barbara is survived by her husband, Earle, her brother, Paul R. Eldridge and his wife Joetta of Wenonah, New Jersey, and her three children: Carolyn Messere of Naples, Florida; Stephen Messere of Newport, Rhode Island; and Suzanne Messere of Palo Alto, California.
A private family service was held at Fuller Funeral Home in Naples, Florida. Two separate memorial services are expected to be held, one in Rhode Island this summer and another on Marco Island this fall. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that donations be made in Barbara’s name to one of the following: New England Historical Genealogical Society, the Marco Island chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, or the Rhode Island Historical Society.