Obituary for Barbara J. Muldoon (Mooney)
Barbara J. Mooney Muldoon, 79, formerly of Dorchester and West Roxbury, later of Arlington and Rockport, passed away peacefully at her home on November 12.
Barbara was a member of the Girls Latin School Class of 1956, and was awarded the Latin Prize at her graduation. Barbara was proud to be an alumna of the Boston Public Schools, and with her fellow GLS classmates helped to create a scholarship given to a BLA student who is the first in his or her family to attend college. She attended Manhattanville College, where she majored in Economics and minored in Art History.
After college, Barbara completed the Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, and subsequently earned her certificate as a Chartered Financial Analyst. She worked at Loomis, Sayles & Company and was among the first women in Boston to be employed as a CFA.
In 1966 Barbara met Robert J. Muldoon, Jr. then a young attorney at the firm of Withington, Cross, Park & Groden; they were married in 1968. Their son Andrew and twins Catherine and Timothy were born in rapid succession and in 1971, the family moved to Arlington, where Barbara and Robert Muldoon have lived ever since. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Barbara could be found working on Brackett School PTO projects and Arlington League of Women Voters initiatives. She was a dauntless sports fan and spent countless hours bundled up on the sidelines or stands of every soccer field, baseball diamond and hockey rink in town.
From 1984 until her retirement in 2016, Barbara was a member of the Arlington Public Library Board of Trustees. She was resolute that libraries should promote equality by providing free resources for all members of the public. (She didn’t even want the library to charge $1 for DVD rentals.) Barbara worked on securing state funding for the Robbins Library renovation that was completed in the mid-1990s, and she used her financial acumen to the library’s benefit in myriad ways.
When her children were more or less launched, Barbara joined the Ladies Committee at the Museum of Fine Arts and later chaired the MFA Gallery Instructors. Barbara also co-chaired the committee that planned and produced “The Boston Tea Party: Brewing Innovation,” the 2005 National Docent Symposium. While Barbara had amazing organizational talent, her favorite activity was guiding students on specialized tours in the museum and helping them formulate questions and insights about the artworks. Barbara was greatly beloved by her many colleagues and friends at the MFA and continued to take part in activities there until only a day or two before her final illness.
The late 1990s and turn of the century found Barbara caring for her parents, John and Agnes Mooney, and her aunt, Alyce Lane, all of whom predeceased her. Her stamina, compassion and commitment to caregiving set a standard that her own children could only aspire to when Barbara herself began to experience the effects of age.
Whatever the circumstances, Barbara had an unparalleled gift for friendship. Even in her final months, Barbara connected with her wonderful home health aides and companions Agnes Nagawa, Allen Namugga, Carol Burroughs, Josephine Conneely, Maria Kobusingye, and Nicole Daukas. The Muldoon family wishes to thank all of them, as well as Celtic Angels, Inc. and Beacon Hospice, for their care and love for Barbara. Barbara’s great friend and caregiver Stephanie Tocantins was the perfect coconspirator for outings to the beach, the museum, and Mahoney’s, where they would buy every flower that caught their eye and then spend the day gleefully planting. She helped fill Barbara’s final months with joy and laughter.
Barbara’s joie de vivre never diminished. She loved reading and listening to audiobooks, especially mysteries and Jane Austen; she enjoyed reminiscing about the heady times in the 1960s when she lived on Marlborough Street in Boston with her best friends and getting together with her high school classmates to plan reunions. She loved Japanese art, lilacs, the beach, lobster rolls, football, the Red Sox, cocker spaniels (well, one cocker spaniel in particular), the Museum School Christmas sale, and following the stock market. When balance troubles made it hard for her to go swimming at Cape Hedge beach in Rockport, she just took her rolling walker into the water up to her knees (her son Tim, who had to replace the rollator’s ball bearings, did not find this so endearing). It is hard to think of anything that Barbara did not love, other than being underestimated, which she hated, and unkindness, which always astonished her when she saw it in others. She loved most of all being Boston Nana to her grandsons, Aidan and Rory Muldoon.
Barbara is survived by her husband of 49 years, Robert J. Muldoon of Arlington; son Andrew Robert Muldoon of Denver, CO; daughter Catherine Lane Muldoon and son-in-law Thomas Lawton of Somerville; son Timothy John Muldoon of Arlington; grandsons Aidan and Rory Muldoon of Denver, CO; sisters Martha M. Mooney of Cambridge and Susan Lane Mooney Hughes and brother-in-law Edward F.X. Hughes of Chicago; sister-in-law Mary Muldoon of Cambridge, brother-in-law John Muldoon and Margaret Randall of South Portland, ME, and brother-in-law James Muldoon of Bristol, RI. She was a beloved aunt to Margaret and Dean Delsignore, Robert Francis Muldoon, Jessica Muldoon and Todd Chretien, Amy and Scott Muldoon, Edward F.X. Hughes III, John Patrick Hughes and Kristen Welker, and Dempsey Lane Hughes. She also leaves behind many beloved cousins and great-nieces and nephews.
Visiting Hours: Friends may call at the Keefe Funeral Home, 5 Chestnut Street, in Arlington on Wednesday, November 15 4 - 8 PM. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM at St. Eulalia Church in Winchester on November 16, 2017.
In lieu of flowers, and to celebrate a life well lived, the Muldoon family would be very grateful for gifts made to the Arlington Libraries Foundation in Barbara’s memory.