Barbara M. Spalding, age 61, a longtime resident of Princeton, New Jersey, died Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at home surrounded by her loving family after a long and valiant battle against breast cancer.
Barbara will be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, and friend, who loved life and refused to be defined by the disease she spent almost two decades fighting. Barbara’s determination to overcome challenges was lifelong and her greatest joy came from helping others overcome obstacles in their own lives.
Barbara encouraged others to start businesses, return to school, live healthily, and stay positive even in the most trying times, an example she set for herself.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master's from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Barbara moved to Princeton in 1986 with her husband Keith Spalding. While balancing the demands of life as a young wife and mother, Barbara founded and grew her own Princeton-based insurance brokerage. Some of her children’s earliest memories are of sleeping on the floor of the “CEO’s” office when they were too sick to go to school.
Barbara was a successful local entrepreneur by the time she was first diagnosed with cancer. After beating the disease, she was inspired to sell her business in 2004 to return to university in mid-life to become a registered dietician, a career that married her twin passions of cooking and healthy living. Despite being more than 25 years older than many of her classmates, Barbara graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers and went on to also earn her master’s degree from the university.
As a dietician, Barbara combined her training and personal experiences to help other cancer patients stay healthy and resilient during recovery. She ran two blogs, Second Act Kitchen and Breast Cancer Wonderland, where she shared recipes she loved and gave advice to others struggling with their health.
Barbara loved spending time with her family at Lake George where she shared her passion for the natural world with her husband and children. Having grown up in Westport, Connecticut, Barbara loved sailing and swimming in open water and long hikes through the Adirondack forest. Most of all, she loved cooking and sharing a meal with family and friends on the dock, which she considered one of life’s simple but great pleasures.
Although she is gone far too soon, Barbara’s determination meant she was able to attend her daughter’s wedding and son’s college graduation, all while battling metastatic cancer. Her endless energy, resilience, and courage will always serve as an inspiration for her family, especially in this time of deep grief.
Barbara is survived by her husband of 34 years, Keith R. Spalding, son Holt Spalding of Princeton, NJ, daughter Rebecca Spalding and son-in-law Alexander Plough of New York, NY, and brothers Brook Manville of Bethesda, Maryland and Reed Manville of Paradise Valley, Arizona. She is predeceased by her father, Richard Manville, and mother, Mary Harbord Fox