Sarah Ann (Adkins) Macfarlane Wilbur

October 28, 2022


Sarah (Sally) Ann Macfarlane Wilbur

Sarah (Sally) Ann Adkins Macfarlane Wilbur passed away peacefully on Monday October 17, 2022 at age 97 in her home in Jamesville, NY.  She was born 1925 in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, where her parents were missionaries. After her mother Caroline’s death when she was two and a half, she returned to the US.  Her father remarried and was sent to Syria.  During her time in Syria, she spent a year in Beirut attending the American Community School, which she remembered fondly.  At age 10 her parents left Syria, eventually settling in Beverly, MA.  After graduating from Bates College in 1946, she took a job with Houghton-Mifflin in Boston.  There, a chance encounter on the steps of the State House with Robert (Bob) Macfarlane, whom she had known briefly at Bates, led to her first marriage. They spent nearly 48 years together, most of them in Kensington (Berlin), CT.  Five years after Bob’s death in 1995, Sally was fortunate to meet and marry Dr. C. Keith Wilbur, which whom sheenjoyed 10 years of active travel and warm companionship.

Sally was a strong, loving, inquisitive and generous woman.  A life-long learner who loved to read and travel, she also enjoyed theatre, art, tennis, cards and, most of all, visiting family and friends around the world.  An avid genealogist, she traced down the graves of many of her, and her husbands’, ancestors in New England and Great Britain.  She served on several nonprofit boards, was the first woman lector at St. Mark’s in New Britain, and founded and led an architectural design review committee for the town of Berlin.  An enthusiastic correspondent from a very young age, she kept in touch with family and friends, including childhood friends from Syria and England.  Fond of sharing interesting stories about her life, she began to put them down on paper in her seventies and, after ten years of writing, published them as her memoir, From There to Here: My Journey from Constantinople to Fayetteville NY. 

Sally is predeceased by her parents, Caroline SanborneAdkins and Lesley John Adkins, second mother Edith Sanderson Adkins, brother Winthrop, sister Beverly Wells, first husband Robert A. Macfarlane, Jr., and secondhusband C. Keith Wilbur. 

She is survived by her brother Douglas, sisters-in-law Sue, Rapee and Caroline, sons Bruce, Scott, and Kirk, their wives Monika, Marlene and Marilyn, grandchildren Fiona, Lasse, Sarah, Hannah, Abby, Paul, Tyler, Colin, andClaire, and five grandchildren. 

For those wishing to honor her memory with a donation, a gift donation can be made to the Senior Center of Manlius, NY or the American Community School in Beirut (3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 8th Fl, New York, NY 10017).

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