Barbara McDevitt, 67

Jul 30, 2020 by

Published July 31, 2020

MELROSE — Barbara Cady McDevitt, 67, passed away on July 25, 2020 with her husband of nearly 27 years, Thomas C. McDevitt, by her side.

Barbara and Tom moved from Cambridge to Melrose in 1995 and fell in love with its quiet streets, emerging downtown, and friendly neighbors. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a sister and her husband, Sara and Kurt Meyers of Arizona, as well as hundreds of family members and friends from many places and various parts of her life. She was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Sheldon H. Cady and Barbara Urquhart Cady. She was a cherished daughter-in-law of the late Joseph V. McDevitt and Phyllis A. McDevitt of Rhode Island.

Barbara was born with several serious medical conditions, but with the help of loving and supportive parents and dedicated physicians, she defied the odds and led an active and happy life. Along the way, other medical challenges would arise that would have sidelined lesser people, but Barbara, again and again, took the hard way and persevered. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara became sick in early March with an unrelated respiratory illness and was admitted to the hospital. As recently as July 18, Barbara appeared to be on the road to recovery before other complications arose and, despite her courage and will, her body could not rally again.

Barbara grew up in Corning, New York and Short Hills, New Jersey. After college in New Hampshire and Ohio, she moved to Boston on her own and found jobs in the food, medical, and finance industries before returning to school to get a special education degree at Lesley University in her late thirties. She worked in the Wilmington Public Schools for about 17 years as a special education teacher, mostly at the Woburn Street School. Along the way she made many close, personal friends and kept them for the rest of her life. She was able to do this because she was always supportive, kind, unceasingly loyal, and was fun to be around. She was small of stature, but she had the heart of a giant.

Although Barb and her future husband lived in the same building in Cambridge for several years, the first time they talked to each other was at the Park Street subway station in Boston. They became commuter buddies at first and only later did they become a couple. Barbara was immediately accepted into Tom’s large family of siblings, in-laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews. In turn, Tom was taken in by Barbara’s huge network of friends. They were married in 1993 and enjoyed visiting family and friends, spending two weeks each August in East Orleans on Cape Cod, eating out in local restaurants, and travel. Only recently, Barb and Tom became friends with several similarly aged people from Sargent Street. They only wish they could have found each other earlier.

Barbara’s interests were varied. She was a skilled knitter who specialized in baby sweaters, blankets, and hats. She was involved with a book club of retired teachers that spent more time going to movies, drinking wine, and having lunch together than discussing books. She accompanied Tom to watch Boston College hockey and football games and became a favorite among the members of the Pikes Peak Hockey Booster Club. More recently, she became involved with the Protection of Animals in Wakefield Society or PAWS as a volunteer and foster home.

An event to celebrate Barbara’s life will be held at a later date. Gifts in Barbara’s memory can be made to PAWS, 411 Lowell Street, Wakefield, MA 01880. For online tribute, visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com

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