After a sudden and brief illness, Barbara (Adkins) Mitnik of Deerfield died peacefully, surrounded by members of her family, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at the age of 94.
Barbara was born on Jan. 20, 1918 in Cleveland, OH, grew up in Westfield, MA, and graduated from Westfield High School. In 1934, she was married to a young aeronautical engineer, William Mitnik, also of Westfield. They lived in Deerfield for 40 years.
Being energetic and fit was always important to Barbara. At an early age, she enjoyed ice dancing with her husband and skiing with her family. Later, she enjoyed gardening and swimming at the Deerfield Academy pool. An avid golfer, she was a lifetime member of the Country Club of Greenfield.
Barbara was a Master Weaver, graduate of the Hill Institute in Florence and an accomplished seamstress. She and her sister, Ruth Localio, formed the Indian House Weavers in Old Deerfield. With true entrepreneurial spirit, at the age of 93, she started the Cottage Studio of Creative Weaving and Inspired Sewing with her friend Kathy Hartshorn.
When she was in her 60s, she learned to play the cello and performed as part of the Four Seasons Orchestra. Her other musical talents included singing and playing the piano.
She is survived by her three children, William Mitnik of Westfield, MA, Robert Mitnik and his wife Mandy of Salem, MA, and Elizabeth Doriss of West Barnstable, MA. She was very proud of her talented grandchildren: Justin Mitnik, a musician of Boston, MA, Kolby Mitnik, a marathon runner of Philadelphia, PA, Lisle Mitnik, a musician and composer of Chicago, IL, Oliver Doriss, a glassblower of Tacoma, WA, Rachel Doriss, a fabric designer and her husband Joel Hamilton of Brooklyn, NY, and Nicholas Doriss, a sculptor of Boston, MA. She is also survived by her one great-granddaughter, Coco Doriss Hamilton of Brooklyn, who was the apple of her eye, her beloved nieces and nephews and countless dear friends.
She was predeceased by her husband of 72 years, William Mitnik; her brother, Robert Adkins of Ojai, California, and her beloved sister, Ruth Localio of Deerfield.
Donations in her memory may be made to the First Church of Deerfield.
A memorial service is planned for March 24 at 11 a.m. at the church.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Wrisley Funeral Home, South Deerfield.