Barbara Wassell Goldsten, 89, of Lexington died Nov. 30

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Barbara Wassell Goldsten, 89, of Lexington died Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at LewisGale Medical Center with her family by her side.
Born in Andalusia, Ala., on Sept. 30, 1930, the daughter of Robert and Alma Burgess, Barbara was raised in Opp, Ala.
She was educated in Opp City Schools before graduating from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia in 1952 where she majored in drama.
Barbara met her husband James Winchester Wassell, a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, and they were married in 1952.
She enthusiastically embarked on a new adventure as a Navy pilot’s wife. They moved often as their family of daughters grew, but no matter where they were stationed Barbara always planted a rose bush and quickly created a happy, loving home surrounded by friends.
Following her husband’s retirement from the Navy, the family moved to Long Island, N.Y., where Barbara volunteered at the Stony Brook museum, taught colonial fireside cooking, coordinated the Early American Fall Festival and developed special interests in New England history and the restoration of colonial houses.
Later, she and Jim relocated to Hope, N.J., where Barbara founded the organization H.O.P.E. (Help Our Preservation Effort) to preserve the town’s historic buildings.
After Jim’s death in 1983, Barbara began a career as a professional storyteller, specializing in stories of her Southern childhood. She moved to Lexington in 1992 where, once again, she quickly established a community of close friends and became involved in the town. She was an active member of the Blue Ridge Garden Club, grew dozens of roses, was a tour guide at the Lee Chapel and Museum, and was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church.
Life took a happy turn in 1998 when she met and married Joseph Goldsten of Lexington, a faculty member at Washington and Lee University. Barbara moved once more from her house in Rockbridge County to Jackson Avenue in Lexington, where she embraced Joe's children and grandchildren. Thanksgivings became a time for blended family reunions at their house with as many as 36 around the table. 
She continued telling stories to children at the Roots and Shoots program at Waddell Elementary School and was known to many local youngsters as Mrs. Santa Claus and as the scary Halloween witch of Jackson Avenue. Barbara read widely, entertained enthusiastically, had a marvelous sense of fun, and never missed an opportunity for a party.
She is predeceased by her husbands James Wassell and Joseph Goldsten; daughter, Priscilla Yarnell Wassell; and brother John Alwyn Burgess.
Barbara is survived by her three daughters and their families: Carson “Missy” Foote (and her husband Richard) of Middlebury, Vt.; Rebecca Murphy (and her husband Bill) of Albuquerque,N.M.; and Elizabeth Sauder (and her husband Lee) of Lexington.  She also leaves behind grandchildren Robert Hopkinson, Anne Hopkinson, Katherine Murphy Sanchez and James Murphy and great-grandchildren Theodore Robert Hopkinson, Matilda May Hopkinson and Carson James Hopkinson.
In addition, Barbara is survived by her stepchildren and their families: Carol Fruhwald (and her husband Donald) of Richmond; Janet Cantler (and her husband Will) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Adeline Penn (and her husband Paul) of Diamond Springs, Calif.; Audrey Becht (and her husband Paul) of Atlanta, Ga.; and John Goldsten (and his wife Rachel) of Bethesda, Md., and their children and grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, Dec. 6, at Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington at 2 p.m. followed by a reception at her home. A private graveside service will be held at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.
In her memory, donations may be made to the Waddell Elementary School Roots & Shoots Garden Program, 100 Pendleton Place, Lexington, VA 24450.

 

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