Barbara Ann (Mills) Tobey

November 21st, 2021

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 Chicopee 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 will gather 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.


17 Entries in Guest Book for “Barbara Ann (Mills) Tobey”

  1. Carolyn Stanhope says:

    “Learning our Motto and Living our Creed.” What a fine example Barbara set in “Every Good Deed.” I am proud to have been a part of her marvelous life. Sending my love and sympathy to all of her family and I pray you will find the peace that passes all understanding.

  2. Galen Younkin says:

    One in a million!!!
    Peace & Love

  3. Gayle &Gil Barr says:

    Always a smile and funny. A gracious and outgoing friend whom we had the fortune to know on the golf course and in the “pub”. You will be greatly missed, Barbara! You made any day a “Beauteous Maximus” kind of day! Our hearts send prayers for Peace to Al and Family.

  4. Vida Thorkelson says:

    Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved mother. Although we only met her once, it was apparent she exemplified the role of a nurturing, kind and devoted wife and mother. May she rest in God’s Loving Care.

  5. Chuck Carnell says:

    Dear Joanne:
    My sincere Condolences to you and your Dad on the passing of your Mom. I worked with her at the NERH on nights as a Respiratory Therapist. May she rest in God’s Peace. Also, Thank You for teaching me how to Play the Pipes. I was fortunate to have played them for 20 years before hanging them up for good in 2014 when I retired from the FD! Peace to your Family!

  6. Justine Covault says:

    She was a very special, strong lady. I will always see her outdoors, it seems that every time I saw her she was laughing with friends in the fresh air. Much love to the entire family.

  7. Tom Pelletier & Barb Fox says:

    We’re so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you. A gift has been made to the MSPCA in Barbara’s name. Tom & Barb

  8. sylvan toombs says:

    i am so sorry for your loss. i enjoyed golfing with them and had many great times visiting and sharing their company. i will miss barb for as long as i live.she will be in my memories as i think back to our good times. God be with you al.

  9. Sharon Zothner says:

    It was so nice to meet your mom and dad when they came here and your mom was such a lovely lady and so nice to talk with. She is with you always in your heart and memories and is watching over you now from Heaven. God bless you and hugs.

  10. Karen Graham says:

    My deepest condolences to all of Barbara’s family. I have good memories of her with Al when they visited Dianne and family in Cleveland Heights. I pray for God’s comforting peace to be with you.

  11. Jane and Joan Thorkelson says:

    Words simply can’t convey the sorrow and shock hearing of your dear mother’s passing. She made friends wherever she went with her smiley personality. She was a blessing to so many and her love was felt by all who knew her. May God’s peace and promised comfort be with you and your family at this difficult time.

  12. Pam Carey says:

    Words can not describe the wonderful times with her. Scouts would never have been the same. She taught us how to be young ladies and gave us good strong values. I will miss her . Prayers sent from the MacKinnon family.

  13. Doug Winner says:

    Prayers for you and the family

  14. Nora Pelletier Zinan says:

    Thinking of you all today and wishing I could be there. I am so happy to have many fond memories of Barbara. Hoping for comfort and care as you move through the next days and more.

  15. Jan Evans says:

    Sending sincere condolences at this sad time. Barbara was a well- liked member of our nursing staff at New England Rehabilitation Hospital, both by patients and co-workers. May your memories help ease the pain of your loss.

  16. Margaret and Ron Covault says:

    We are so grateful for having Barbara in our lives. The mere mention of her name brings a smile and many rich memories. Among those memories is recalling our rendezvous at Ga campgrounds for great campfire chats, golf (of course) and time with our mutual grandchildren. Treasured times!! She was as gentle and caring as anyone we have ever known and will be greatly missed.

  17. Paula & Mike Dolan says:

    We just learned of Barbara’s passing. She is such a big part of our history. Having her as a neighbor, was like having a sister living across the street. Among many other great things, we learned so many parenting skills from Barbara and enjoyed many, many, wonderful times with Barbara, Al, Joanne and Dianne. Barbara will forever be in our hearts and prayers. Love and Peace to Al, Joanne and Dianne.

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