Obituary: Tiki Amber Meaker Ward, 1976-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Tiki Amber Meaker Ward, 1976-2022 

Barre native created magic for herself and those she loved

Published September 26, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated September 26, 2022 at 10:39 a.m.

click to enlarge Tiki Amber Meaker Ward - COURTESY
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  • Tiki Amber Meaker Ward
Tiki Amber Meaker Ward, 46, of Barre, Vt., died peacefully in her home on August 30, 2022, her intense and beautiful life cut short by a rare cancer she fought for almost a decade. As she held the hands of her brother Walter Ward and her great love, Terry Wendelken, her spirit passed into a sunny, blue-sky Tuesday afternoon. Also at her side were her best friend of 40 years, April McCandless, and dear friends Candice Greaves and Heather Milne Ritchie — the “Tiki-Team” — who kept close vigil over her for her last days, helping her be where she needed to be: in her home.
She was surrounded all around with the colors of her large flower paintings, her lush and verdant plants, the jewellike fish swimming nearby in their bubbling aquariums, her photos of family, river stones, crystals and vintage books. Every corner of her world was bohemian, whimsical and cozy. This was her stronghold and her greatest medicine. She created this magic for herself and her beloved son and daughter, Kelman and Evie, into whom she poured every ounce of her love. She created this magic because that was her way. She was magic, pure and simple.

She was a Barre native, born on February 23, 1976, to Walter Ward Sr. and Kristin (Ward) Haskins. She was always fiercely independent, a rough-and-tumble Pippi Longstocking meets Alice in Wonderland.She graduated from Spaulding High in 1994. She worked in the service industry, in thrift retail, as a residential counselor and mentor for local mental health agencies, and as a nanny in California. In recent years, she focused great time and attention on her budding talent as an aquarist and was most proud being an artist. Her shows were few, but they were intensely beautiful and very personal victories. She defied her illness with her paintings of bright, glowing flowers, stars and astral schools of fish — all floating in vivid neon swirls of light.
Full of wanderlust, she would gather all of her energy to take her kiddos on vacations, making sure to give them many memories to draw from. Holidays and birthdays meant piles of thoughtfully wrapped gifts in vintage paper and ribbons. She liked to give things that helped you be cozy.  A step ahead, she would get you things you didn’t knew you needed but now can’t live without. That was her way. Her voice was sweet and musical; her green, listening eyes would draw you in; and she had the sweetest smile — a woman all sparkle and effortlessly "cool." Tiki knew how precious life was and made sure to tuck every ounce of beauty, love and color into it. She was a kindred spirit to so many. An amazing mother, devoted friend, companion and fighter, our Tiki was one of a kind, so humble and powerful. She lived twice as bright. She loved fully. She painted stars and flowers into the hearts of all she knew and will live there always.

She is survived by her children, Evie and Kelman Pirie; her soulmate, Terry Wendelken; her parents, Walter Ward Sr. and Kristin Haskins.; her brothers, Walt Ward and Del Haskins; her aunt and uncle, Diane and Alan Williams; her cousins Abbey Meaker, Cristy Jo Ward and Sonya Ward Tobin, among many others; her children's father, James Pirie, and their Topsham grandparents, Sue and Ed Pirie; her stepmother, Becky Ward; and her stepbrothers, Aaron, Ryan and Travis. She was predeceased by her heroes, Grampa Sheldon Meaker, Grammy Bonnie Meaker and Uncle Kip. And special nod to all of her fish, her plants, her garden fairies and her Siamese cat, Kittn'.

A celebration of life will be held at Hugo’s Bar and Grill, 118 Main St., Montpelier, VT on Saturday, October 15, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Donations for her forever memorial at the Green Mount Cemetery can be made to Heather Milne Ritchie, 2780 Country Club Rd., Barre, VT 05641.

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