In Our Care

Barbara Mae (Navickas) Tessier, 90, passed away on August 19, 2020, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Born in Easthampton, Barbara was the daughter of Adam and Katherine (Gustavis) Navickas. She attended local schools, graduating from Easthampton High School in 1948 and Northampton Commercial College one year later. She married her husband, the late Louis Emile Tessier, in 1952.
Before leaving Easthampton in 2015 to move in with her daughter Kaydee in Waltham, Barbara was an indelible part of the town. For more than thirty years she helped clients at Boulanger’s Plumbing and Heating deal with their burst pipes and redesign their bathrooms and kitchens. She could be seen most evenings outside in the summer caring for her beautiful gardens at her Main Street home. Always eager to learn a new skill or further her creative endeavors, she was a mainstay at art classes from oil painting to theorem to paper quilling. Her work graced the walls of her own home as well as those of her family members and special friends. An avid seamstress and meticulous tailor and milliner, she created her family’s wardrobes with great skill and flair. She was never afraid to add color to any project she undertook.
She and her husband never met a dance floor they didn’t like, cutting a rug with the town’s square dancers or being the first couple to polka at a wedding of friends or family. Barbara was an enthusiastic volunteer on town committees, as a Girl Scout leader and a chaperone in the Junior Miss program. She raised her children to be like she was – giving back to the community that she cared so much about.
Fiercely proud of her Lithuanian heritage, she served in her early years in leadership positions in a variety of Lithuanian American organizations in Easthampton, Northampton and Westfield. In her last years, she was busy compiling a study of Easthampton’s Lithuanian immigrant history, documenting each family’s arrival and settlement in the town. Her favorite part of this project was reaching out to the family members who remained in Easthampton and making sure that she had captured their stories.
Allergic to the word retirement, Barbara worked in her later years with the Hampshire Council on Aging and the Springfield Urban League organizing programs for senior volunteers. She was passionate about helping the area’s senior citizens find meaningful ways to contribute their time and talent to children and families in need.
Predeceased by her husband and her daughter Paula, her memory will continue to be cherished by her daughters Missi (Jim Kulikowski) of McLean, Virginia, and Kaydee (Mark Powers) of Waltham, Massachusetts, her grandchildren Tess Kulikowski, Michael Murphy (Dominique) and Mary Kate Murphy Mammen (Pradeep), and three great grandchildren. Her warm smile and natural inquisitiveness made her an infinite number of friends throughout her 90 years – in western Massachusetts and then in Waltham. There will be a private remembrance until a later time when her many friends, colleagues, and family members can come together to celebrate her life. Those who wish to contribute to causes Barbara was passionate about can make donations to Massachusetts General Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, or the Easthampton Council on Aging.