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Barbara Lynn Devers

SPENCER, N.Y. — Barbara Lynn Devers passed away unexpectedly on January 30, 2023, at her home in Spencer, New York. She had lived there for thirty years on a hundred-acre farm where she took in horses rescued from those who abused them and from those who would sell them to slaughterhouses.

Barbara was the daughter of Charles Edward and Mary Elizabeth Devers, born in Sharon, on July 19, 1956. She attended Saint Joseph’s Parochial School,  followed by four years at the Millbrook High School, Class of 1973, and graduated from SUNY Plattsburg with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977. She obtained her Master’s Degree in teaching at Boise State University.

Barbara’s professional career saw her teaching in Idaho’s Grand View Elementary School during her decade there, the Upton Lake Christian School for several years, and finally in the Ithaca City School System where she taught elementary grades.

Her great love was her unbridled passion for horses. While in high school she and her neighbor Patrice O’Neill pooled their funds to purchase a small pony named Simmy at Luther’s Livestock Auction in Dover Plains.

The first of her rescue horses, Simmy lived to be 42 years of age, decades longer than would have been possible had the girls not rescued the little brown pony from the dog food companies bidding against them.

Barbara never had less than twenty horses on her farm. She bought and sold scores of horses over the years, all with a contract stating the purchaser could never sell them to butchers and would keep them safe for the entirety of their natural lives. She was part of a network of like-minded women and men who shared her feelings about preserving the lives of all the steeds they could. As a friend wrote, “Who else would accept the crazy idea of a strange rescue from Texas to help a herd of feral horses of over 75 head without question? Barb.”

Barbara also had a great fondness for cats. Her family always had a cat or two living with them and Barb carried on with this tradition — but in a larger manner. With the purchase of her farm Barb acquired a half dozen barn cats that made their lives in the lofts of the stables and she welcomed them as family. Her felines Dooley, the loving matriarch of all the cats that lived on Old Crow Farm, and Pistol Pete, the large black protector of her cat tribe, had outstanding personalities and were loved by her and her brother and sisters greatly.

Barbara is survived by her siblings Peter, Deborah, and Sheila Devers; her Canadian cousins the Mactaggarts; and her American cousins the O’Connors and Parrishes. She leaves behind many cherished Millbrook, college, and Spencer friends who enriched her life with their caring ways.

In accordance with her wishes, there will be no wake or formal services. Her ashes will be spread on her farm in Spencer, on a lake in Canada where she visited most all the years of her life, and in Nine Partners Cemetery beside her mother and father. A few Irish tunes will be played on a silver whistle, poems by Yeats and Frost will be read, and a prayer of thanks will be spoken for the life of many kindnesses that she led.

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