Barbara Jo Newport

Barbara Jo Newport, 82, of Southbury, died on October 2, 2020, from complications related to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). 

Barbara will be remembered as a friend to all. She lived by two mottoes: Everything happens for a reason and Enjoy the journey.

Barbara was born in 1937 in Lyons, Kansas, to Merlin and Zelda Myerley. She was predeceased by her husband, James, who died in 2010. Over their fifty-two-year marriage, they lived in Virginia and North Carolina.

Barbara and James met when he first entered the Air Force. He was to attend a military ball early in his career and his mother paid for six ballroom dance lessons and, lucky for James, Barbara was his dance instructor. After leaving military life, Jim became a commercial pilot. The couple raised their family in northern Virginia, then retired to Lake Gaston, North Carolina. 

Barbara was a social butterfly and felt she never met a stranger. She collected friends wherever she lived, including North Carolina, Virginia, and Connecticut, and maintained contact with them throughout the years. She considered her friends her lifeline. A true advocate for the arts, she loved music, theater, and a good book. 

Barbara moved to Connecticut in 2016 to be with family; shortly thereafter came her diagnosis. IPF is a progressive and generally fatal disease characterized by scarring of the lungs that thickens the lining of the lungs, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to transport oxygen. IPF ultimately robs a patient of the ability to breathe. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of IPF cases has more than doubled in the last decade. Barbara was determined to learn as much as she could about the disease and participated in a drug trial for the purpose of helping those with future diagnosis of IPF.

Barbara’s family and friends were so important to her. During her final years, her greatest joy was being part of the lives of her great-grandchildren, who called her GiGi. She will be greatly missed by friends and family.

Barbara is survived by her two daughters Rebecca (Becky) Butler (Paul) of Southbury, and Brenda Eck (Earl) of Leesburg, Virginia; grandchildren James (Jimmy) Butler (Jenny), Erin Brandt (Brian), Lindsay Touhy (John), Cameron Eck, Amy Eck, and Jessie Eck; and great-grandchildren Allie and Jack Butler, and Aiden and Owen Brandt. 

A Mass will be held on October 19 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia. Burial will take place at the Culpeper National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers. the family asks that donations be made to the IPF Foundation in memory of their mother. In-memory donations can be made at https://ipffoundation.org/donate/