OBITUARY: Barbara Ann (Mills) Tobey, 83

Below is an obituary from Nichols Funeral Home:

WILMINGTON, MA — Barbara Ann (Mills) Tobey died suddenly on November 19, 2021, after a short hospital stay.

Barbara was born on September 28, 1938, to Bertha Louise (O’Connor) Mills and James F. Mills of Fairview, Massachusetts. She was welcomed by her older brother Bobby. They were joined a few years later by a sister, Christine. Childhood was filled with many pets, love, and laughter. The family grew up in Fairview and Barbara graduated from Fairview High School in 1956, a National Honor Society student and athlete, starring in basketball and softball.

Barbara entered nursing school at the Holyoke Hospital School of Nursing after high school, graduating with her nursing degree in 1959. She then moved to Brookline, where she worked at New England Deaconess Hospital. At Deaconess, she met an orderly who was the son of one of the charge nurses and the brother of another nurse. She caught Al’s eye when she began hiding his supply cart and laughing when he couldn’t find it.

Barbara and Al were married on April 27, 1963 and were delighted to welcome daughter Joanne Marilyn in January of 1964. Dianne Louise came along two years later, and a year after that the family moved to Auburn Avenue in Wilmington, where they lived ever since. Barbara worked as a mom and homemaker in the best sense of the word, doing everything from carpentry to painting, cooking, sewing, and playing with her kids. Before her girls even started school, Barbara began her work as a Girl Scout Leader and made some very special friends including Jean Foley and Carolyn Stanhope. She continued in Scouting for many years moving up from Juniors to Cadettes to Senior Scouts with the girls.

As her girls grew, Barbara returned to work at New England Rehabilitation Hospital, working nights as a charge nurse. She would often return from work, pack up the car, and head off on weekend camping trips with the family. It’s not clear how she survived those years on so little sleep!

Barbara and Al enjoyed life with their furry grandkids and then three adored grandchildren. Whether furry or human, these were the apples of her eye. When Al retired in 2001, she and he camped across the country, and then began spending winters in Georgia. Wherever they went, they made many special friends.

Golf was Barbara’s passion. She was club champion at Pelham Country Club, Billerica Golf Course, as well as several times at Meadowbrook Golf Club. She played at St. Andrews in Scotland with Al for their 25th and went again with her great friends. She had a tee time set for the week of her death and had regripped her driver the morning she went to the hospital. She made many friends in her leagues and she and Al greatly enjoyed their time at Meadowbrook. She was also a wonderful coach and did her best to teach Dianne. She was delighted when granddaughter Estelle took up the game.

Barbara loved her friends, her wonderful neighbors on Auburn Ave, and especially her family- both animal and human. The love of her life for more than fifty-eight years was Al. Every day at 4 o’clock for the past 20 or more years, they would stop their daily activities and sit and enjoy “teatime” together. She will be terribly missed by Al, daughters Joanne Tobey and Diane Tobey Covault (Jane Thorkelson), grandchildren Leo, Glennis (Sammy Rawson) and Estelle Covault, furry grandchildren Chloe, Roo, Kizzy and Josie, brother Bob (Kiyoko) and sister Chris (Mike), and many nieces and nephews.

May her memory be a blessing to all.

Family and friends gathered for Visitation at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Tuesday, November 23rd from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will take place in the Wilmington United Methodist Church, 87 Church St. (Rte. 62) Wilmington on Wednesday, November 24th at 1:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Monadnock Humane Society (, Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve (, the MSPCA ( or the animal related charity of your choice.

Barbara Tobey

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