Barbara G. Klemens, 94, well-known owner of the Yarn Shop in Canton where she assisted thousands of North Country knitters for 50 years, died Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at the LaPoint Adult Home in Hermon.
A memorial servicewill be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug 31 at First Presbyterian Church in Canton after which the family will receive visitors in the parish hall. Barbara donated her body to science. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to First Presbyterian Church or to TAUNY.
She is survived by a daughter, Ann (husband Greg) Sloan, Heuvelton; a son, Mike (wife Natalie Davila), Springfield, IL; six grandchildren, Jeffrey Klemens, Philadelphia, PA, Megan Klemens, Portland, OR., Sara Sloan, Malone, Jonathan Sloan, Boston, MA, Amber (Rood) Bice, Heuvelton, and Trey Klemens, Russell; four great grandchildren and three nieces. Two sons predeceased her, Richard who died as an infant and Robert (Bob) who died in 2000.
Born October 13, 1924, in Gouverneur, daughter of David and Marion Blood Griffiths, she became lost in the woods as a young child, events chronicled in the book “The Incident at Massena” that claimed to document anti-semetic hysteria sparked by her disappearance and the only incident of blood libel on American soil. She graduated from Massena High School and later from St. Lawrence University in 1947 with a degree in physics. At St. Lawrence she was on the women’s ski team, belonged to the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and sang with the Laurentian Singers.
She married John F. Klemens in Massena on June 10, 1948. He died June 3, 2017.The couple lived in Lake Placid and Troy before returning to Canton in 1955. After her return, she was for 50 years the proprietor of the Yarn Shop, first located on an enclosed porch at 55 Court St., and later sprawling through a 14-room house at 10 Church St. She seldom turned away a customer at any time of the day or night and helped numerous North Country knitters select yarn and patterns and to untangle problems they encountered. She taught free knitting classes at the Village Hall and at Partridge Knoll for many years.
In 2002 TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York) awarded Barbara one of its North Country Heritage Awards and cited her as “a knitter’s best friend to at least three generations of residents in and near Canton.”
Barbara was an avid outdoors person. She and Jack enjoyed cross country skiing in the winter and on summer weekends could be found canoeing and camping in the Adirondacks, occasionally even closing the Yarn Shop early on Friday to do so. She was an avid birder. She participated in exercise classes well into her 80’s.
Barbara was a knowledgeable hockey fan who attended thousands of games during her lifetime. She held seasons tickets for St. Lawrence Hockey and attended both men’s and women’s games.
She was also a committed evening bridge player and tackled the Sunday New York Times crossword each week.
She was a member of First Presbyterian Church.