Barbara A. Whiterell

Barbara A. Whiterell passed peacefully on Sunday, July 19, 2020, after a long and full life. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on July 17, 1927, to Aldea and Harold Cox. She had two older sisters, Margaret and Ruth, and a “kid brother” Bob. She is survived by her husband, David “Ralph” Whiterell of Mattapoisett, MA; daughters Susan (and Paul) Soares of Osterville, MA; Deborah (and Jim) Wheeler of Beverly, MA; Laura (and Jaime) Lemos, of Hollis, NH; grandchildren: David (and Katie), and Jeffrey Soares; Alexander, Emily, and Samuel (and Sarah) Wheeler; and Justin, Madison, and Sydney Lemos.

            Barbara was a nurse by vocation, graduating from Worcester Hahnemann Hospital School of Nursing in 1950. She worked at Worcester State Hospital, and also as an occupational nurse at an engineering company, where she met her husband Ralph, who was visiting her to treat sunburned eyes from the beach. They married on August 7, 1954 at Church of the Sacred Heart in Worcester. She passed just weeks shy of their 66th wedding anniversary.

            Her life was shaped by her stories, songs, and love for her family. She often revisited her memories of summers spent swimming at her family’s beach house in Nantasket, where her humor and antics earned her the nickname “Scrapper.” She sang loudly throughout the house, and her favorite song to sing was Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” She originally wanted six sons to have a baseball team, but instead was blessed with three daughters. Together they sailed their boat named “Puffin” around Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, and the Islands. Her daughters gave her eight beloved grandchildren of whom she could not have been more proud, and she passed knowing that her first great-grandson was on the way.

            Many family memories were made together on Nantucket, Hilton Head, and many other places close to the water and beaches. She cherished any time spent with her family, which usually involved her favorite treats: coconut shrimp, coffee Heath Bar frozen yogurt from Oxford Creamery, Oyster Bay pinot noir, jelly beans, and during the summer, a vodka tonic made by Ralph. She taught the whole family to play her favorite card games – Gin Rummy and Go Fish – and she played solitaire every day. Even though she preferred the beach to the snow, some of her family’s fondest memories were made in Vermont on trips sharing Ralph’s love of skiing.

            Barbara personified the values she learned from her father: family and education. She was not one to withhold her opinions, and she didn’t whisper. She was also never shy about expressing and showing her love for her family.

            Barbara passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones, who are comforted knowing she was received into heaven by her parents, sisters, and brother, whom she missed dearly.

            She will be laid to rest in the National Cemetery in Bourne. All services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in Honor of Barbara A. Whiterell to Tobey Hospital, who lovingly cared for her in her final days.

            Arrangements are by the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Mattapoisett. For online condolence book, please visit

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