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Barbara J. MacDonald

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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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Memories & Candles

“I love Aunty Bobby SO much. She was like a mother to me, She always comforted me in times of pain and she never judged me for anything I privately ...Read More »
1 of 10 | Posted by: Renee Shahrok - Davis, CA

“Remembering her sweet home in Framingham, filled with family photos, memories, and homey touches. And especially remembering her amazing lily of the...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Joan Jolley - Boston, MA - Friend

“Lori, Kim, and Cindy,I have many fond memories of your mother.I was moved when I learned that Barbara worked with my dad (John Tam) and remembered...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: JOAN PIACENTINI - WAYLAND, MA

“Lori and family please accept our sincere sympathy with the loss of your mother. We remember Barbara very fondly and hope that the memories you have...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Heidi Cotoni - Watertown, MA

“I worked with Barbara for many years at Brighton Marine. She was one of my very favorite people there as everyone else's. Always a smile, always...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: Wendy Scott - Clinton, MA

“The story of your Mother's amazing life was beautifully written. Barbara was an Amazing and Lovely Lady. I loved receiving cards on my birthday that...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Nancy Kershaw - Belmont, MA

“Dear Lori, Cindy & Kim,We read about your mom's passing with sadness. We met Barbara and Jack in 1980 when we moved across their home in Gina Circle...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Henriette and Sorin Rosenberg - MA

“I WORK WITH BARBARA AT THE BRIGHTON MARINE SHE WAS A VERY SPECIAL PERSON ALWAYS SMILING AND A VERY CARING PERSON SHE WAS AWESOMEC8FBU ”
8 of 10 | Posted by: KATHY L CASCIO - CAMBRIDGE, MA

“Cindy and family,As I read your mothers life story I couldn't help but see the strong parallel between how she lived her life and how you live yours....Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Mark Williamson - Dorchester, MA

“Dear Lori, Cindy & Kim,We read of your mom's passing with sadness but memories of a very kind, graceful and lovely neighbor and woman.We were lucky...Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: Sue Gravina - Franklin, MA


Barbara J. MacDonald was born August 4, 1926 to Paul and Marie (Geinger) Madden in San Francisco, California. The middle child of 3 beautiful daughters, (Marie, Barbara and Virginia) she was known as "Bobby" which fit her inquisitive, exuberant and caring personality. Whatever she did, she did to the fullest. She entered nursing school at St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing and graduated with a bachelors degree in nursing – an unusual degree for nurses at that time. She married Jack A MacDonald and raised 3 daughters of her own in San Bruno, California (Cindy, Lori and Kim) while working nights at the Peninsula Hospital in the neonatal unit. She was "the nurse" in the neighborhood that everyone turned to and provided hospice care to three of the neighbors when hospice care was barely heard of in the US. She was the camp nurse for 3 summers at the Easter Seals Camp for disabled adults and children where she ministered to even the farm animals that lived on the campgrounds.

The family moved to Framingham in 1962 when Jack's company (Chevron Oil) transferred him to the Boston area. Barbara was a bit daunted by the winters in New England but it didn't stop her from planting 40 hybrid roses in her garden and nurturing them through snow and ice to bloom spectacularly every spring. She quickly resumed her nursing career at Cushing Hospital where she added home like touches to her unit (aquariums, plants, music, and pet visits) well in advance of the current "Eden Alternative" movement in nursing homes today. She took driver's education after her daughter Cindy learned to drive and headed for a job in Boston at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.

She became the head nurse of the Levine Cardiac Unit working with some of the pioneers in cardiac care and surgery , one of whom became a long time friend and colleague, Dr. Bernard Lown, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 as a founder of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Dr. Lown was an early adopter of defibrillator machines and teaching Barbara and other nurses at the bedside to administer it as first responders. He inspired Barbara to learn more about the Eastern medicine approach to the mind/body connection to healing and her patients near death experiences broadened her search for the spiritual connection to life and death. In her quest for knowledge and understanding she incorporated teachings of all religions whether from the Swami Sai Baba or Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

She went on to work at the Brighton Marine Hospital and St. Elizabeth's Hospital after her retirement from the Brigham, in cardiac care outpatient services and in hospice care. She never stopped seeking more knowledge much of which came from listening carefully to her own patients. Even as she herself was a patient, she never stopped worrying about the "patients" surrounding her. She was always first and foremost a nurse.

She loved musicals and surrounded her children and grandchildren with songs from Rogers and Hammerstein and Disney. Ballet, art, literature, classical music, travel – she embraced them all. And her eternal inner child created magic and mystery in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who called her Granny and "Tinker Bell". "Pixie dust "after all could fix any problem."

The wife of the late Jack A MacDonald, she leaves her children Cynthia M Walsh and her husband, Thomas of Hull, Lori A Mazzarelli and her husband, Paul, of Waltham and Kimberley A Holden and her husband, Hartley, of Charlton; her sister Dr. Virginia A Shahrok, of San Mateo, California; her grandchildren, Dylan Walsh and his wife Justine, Abigail Walsh and her husband Frank Stewart, Ronald Bernard and his wife Thuan, Jennnine Tambio and her husband Allan, Joseph Mazzarelli and his partner Jackson McCard, Sam Mazzarelli and his husband, Jonathon Soroff, Brendan McGrath, Eric Holden and his wife, Samantha, and Christian Holden; and her great grandchildren, Jack, Winnie and Kieran Walsh, Christopher Bernard, Noah and Miles Tambio, and Kya Bolivar. In addition, she leaves several wonderful and caring nieces and nephews and their children and many, many friends and former patients.

Family and Friends will gather to honor Barbara's life by gathering for calling hours at The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street, Waltham (Rte 20) from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday December 27th and again on Wednesday December 28th when her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. followed by burial at Edgell Grove Cemetery in Framingham.

Memorials in her name may be made to Easterseals, 141 W Jackson Blvd, Suite 1400A, Chicago, Illinois 60604.