Longtime Westport resident and former owner of the Mansion Clam House restaurant Barbara Saltus died peacefully on Tuesday in Marble Falls Texas, after a short illness. She was surrounded by family and her Yorkshire terriers Beau and Annie, who watched over her until the end.
Born Barbara Henry in Fairfield, she married Don Saltus in 1956. They purchased the historic Bennett House on South Compo Road, and settled in Westport.
After her 5 children were grown, Barbara resumed her education. She graduated from Sacred Heart University with a degree in teaching, and later received her master’s degree. She worked as a special needs educator in Darien and Wilton.
In 1987 Barbara left teaching. and with family members purchased the landmark Mansion Clam House. While operating the business end of the restaurant, she took on the task of restoring the family’s 1758 Bennett house.
Her restored historic home was the quintessential New England homestead: a magical place where she entertained her children, their spouses, grandchildren and friends.
Anyone lucky enough to attend one of her holiday parties or Sunday brunches appreciated her attention to detail. Barbara kept her large family and friends wonderfully amused and well fed.
Outside in the backyard her grandchildren climbed the large beechwood tree, and swung on the family swing, and enjoyed their childhoods.
Despite her busy schedule Barbara found time to travel, exploring the US and Europe with her husband and grandchildren. The teacher in her was always expanding their minds and providing a sense of exploration.
In 2000 she retired from running The Mansion Clam House and moved to the seaside village of Stonington Borough, where she opened a hat and gift shop called Junie Moon on Water Street.
Barbara’s son Matt calls her “the warmest, funniest and most caring person you could ever meet.”
Barbara is survived by her daughter, Bobbi; her sons Duke, Brett and Matt, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Don and eldest son Jocko.