Barbara Matthews, loving mother and ‘Big’ grandmother, passed away at home on February 09, 2017, with her three daughters at her side and holding her hands.
Barbara was a lifelong Catholic who had a special relationship to the Holy Spirit. She had attended St. Mark Roman Catholic School, Bishop Egan High School (class of ‘64), Penn State University, and the University of Pennsylvania. She made the Dean’s list each semester at both colleges. Barbara was brilliant…. but fragile.
She was a litterateur and known for her superior intelligence. She was a gifted writer who loved word play, and liberally sprinkled her conversations with words of multiple meanings. She studied Shakespeare, could do mirror writing, could speak Latin, and was a poet. Barbara wrote personal poems for her children and family and friends. Her greatest pleasure was having meaningful conversations with the people she loved. The discussions often went deep, sometimes too deep, at times pushing the level of most people’s tolerance. She spoke the truth, but noted that “Truth is a tricky thing.”
Barbara loved books and movies, and delighted in repeating movie quotes. Here’s one from “The World According to Garp”: “You know, everybody dies. My parents died. Your father died. Everybody dies. I’m going to die, too. So willyou. The thing is, to have a life before we die. It can be a real adventure having a life.” And she’d add a line from another movie, “Meet Joe Black”:“If we lucky, maybe, we got some nice pictures to take with us.”A non-movie quote we all heard multiple times from our mother was, “Life is worth living if you have these three things. Someone to love. Something to look forward to. Something to do”.
As a young wife and mother, what Barbara mainly did for a living was raise her children. Once the children were in school all day, she joined her husband at Prior Industrial for ten years, as the office manager. She developed a proprietary database program long before packaged database software became available. She was always ahead of her time.
Barbara had studied Journalism in college, and one Summer she was a bi-weekly columnist for the Mount Holly Gazette. After being gifted with a camera a few years back, she discovered a new hobby for which she had a flair. She shared her new-found talent as a street photographer, chronicling the events on the Bristol Wharf and Mill Street from 2013 to 2015. You may have seen some of her photos on FaceBook, or even in a local magazine or two, reprinted with Barbara’s permission.
Barbara was born in Bristol on October 20, 1946,the firstborn of the late Daisy (Ennis) and Willard Matthews. Shewas also preceded in death by her son, Frankie Carrieri.
Barbara has 3 branches of her family tree that will yield ever growing sprouts: Three cherished daughters, Jacquelyn Hughes, Patrice Eltz and Barbara Leinheiser; Seven grandchildren, Josh, Tommy, Zach, Taylor, Alyssa, Blaise and Emmi; and one great granddaughter, Ava. She is also survived by her siblings, William and Daisy. As the matriarch of our family, Barbara could be counted on to recall all of the memories for all of us. It makes our loss of her a double tragedy; it will be much harder for us now to remember everything. But one thing we will never forget… is her.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Funeral Mass on Friday, February 17, 2017, 11:00am at St. Mark Church, 1025 Radcliffe Str., Bristol Borough. Interment, St. Mark Cemetery. Friends may call 9:30am until time of Mass at the Church.