Yesterday, in reading the Concord Monitor newspaper, I learned that a friend, Lea Stark has died. There is no obituary ever written that is long enough to encapsulate all of the activities of a relatively long life (80 years) that she lived. I hope to fill in a little bit of information so that you will get to know her better.
I met Lea during the early 1990s when I joined the local (NH) chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. She hosted many area meetings at her house, a large yellow home that sits across from the old Dewey School near White's Park. She once told me that during a Bridge party she was having there, a bat entered the room and began swooping here and there. Suddenly, her husband appeared on the scene and a shot rang out. He had grabbed a gun from his antique gun collection and inserted a blank. The loud noise interfered with the bat's radar, disabling it long enough for him to get a broom and sweep the creature off a small balcony of their home.
Oftentimes, when EGA meetings were held out of town, Lea and I would carpool. She really disliked paying a toll to get from Concord to Manchester via the super highway. She said she knew her father would not have succumbed to such nonsense. For that reason, we would take back roads instead of going through the toll booth.
Oriental scene by Lea Stark featured in the book Straight Talk about Quilt Care
Lea was frugal to say the least! It was an ingrained Yankee attribute. She once announced that she had never "worked a day in her life." Of course, I know what she meant, that is she did not work for hire for someone else. I would have to disagree that she "never worked." She worked very hard everyday, rising with the birds to do her embroidery and then take herself for a brisk walk. She held many leadership positions in a number of organizations, including being president of the E.G.A., if memory serves. She once was a NH state legislator.
After a trip to China, she began making scores of embroidered figures with silk thread on a silk background, surely collectors' items now that she is no longer here to make more of them. When I wrote my book Straight Talk about Quilt Care, she provided information and the photo pictured above. Lea was always one to encourage others and support them in their endeavors. In fact, I believe she must be one of the most positive people I have ever met. I spoke with her just recently and she seemed chipper as ever.
We will all miss Lea Stark who left a legacy of service to others in all of her volunteer work which included transcriptions of old documents at the New Hampshire Historical Society. A memorial service will be held at the Society on June 12 from 2-4 p.m. Rest in peace, Lea. We all love and miss you.