Barbara J. Hogan, 94, of Northborough

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barbara-j-hoganNorthborough – Barbara Jean (Gibbs) Hogan passed away Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, as a young 94-year-old, with her large, loving family surrounding her, giving her care and comfort.

Barbara was born July 10, 1922 in Southbridge to Robert and Mildred (Hendrick) Gibbs. However, she was raised by her father who later married Bernice (Schlesser). Barbara was taught the importance of family in her young life when they would regularly take weekend car trips to visit aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Barbara worked at the Norton Company where she formed many lifelong friendships. She met the love of her life, William Paul (“Bud”) Hogan, at Hampton Beach in 1941. Like many of her peers, the War would interrupt their courtship, but they were married Oct. 10, 1942. They made their first home in the Greendale section of Worcester and lived across the street from their Gibbs cousins.

In 1954, Barb and Bud moved to Northborough and lived in this same house until their dying days. The family grew to include four boys, Danny, William, Michael, and Steven, who kept their parents very busy! It was a lovely neighborhood, with close-knit families and lots of boy to play with, freely moving from yard to yard until being called home for supper. Money was tight, but hand-me-downs and frugal living provided what was needed. There are many memories of camping trips, neighborhood gatherings, and rides in the bakery truck.

When the boys got older and needed jobs, Bud and Barbara ran the “Dairy Freeze” in Northborough. Barb would supervise the daytime shift and Bud the evening. Many a late night and good time were had. When the three older boys went off to college, the “Freeze” became another good memory. Once the boys started their own families, Nana would search out houses to rent in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire on the internet so the gang could vacation together. Oh, the memories this created! In her honor and to carry on the tradition, all the Hogan families will be gathering yearly on her birthday in New Hampshire.

Fast forward to 1986. Bud had just retired from his custodian position at Melican Middle School in Northborough and suffered a brain aneurysm that left him disabled. Barbara’s soul mate now needed 24-hour care. For the next 13 years, she was there by his side, providing loving, devoted, compassionate nurturance, often feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, herself. The boys and their spouses assisted and supported her, while raising their young families. It was through this that Barbara taught the true meaning of family and commitment.

Barbara had numerous friends who thought the world of her. Whether it be getting together with the old neighbors or work friends, senior bus trips, or suppers at the senior center, there were lots of good times. If you needed a listening ear or a ride to the grocery store, she was your girl. Everyone loved Barbara! A kinder, gentler, more gracious person would be hard to find. On her 90th birthday, many friends and family joined together in celebration of this lovely lady. She was one sharp lady, too. In fact she was still driving up until the last month or so and managing her finances to the end. Every morning and night she would check Facebook to see what her grandkids were up to. Her posts were insightful and witty. This was just another way Barbara stayed young.

Barbara’s skills as a seamstress and knitter were almost legendary. Countless dresses for little girls were sold at the senior center and her famous knit “Nana Hogan hats” kept many a grandbaby warm. Quilts for family members are treasured as a labor of love. Barbara’s sewing skills were impeccable, having been taught so well in school as a young person.

Nana/Grandma was our rock, the glue that held us all together as a large family. It’s hard to comprehend our life without her. She was our matriarch, best friend, mentor, other mother and grandmother.

The family tree that grew from Barbara and Bud includes Danny and Shirley (Dunedin, Fla.), and their sons Mark and Chris, their wives Nancy and Maryann, and their girls Nicole, Victoria, Breana, and Allie, Emily, Cecelia, and Erin. Bill (Ellington, CT) and Ginny’s kids are Tim, Joy and Kelly; Joy and Ryan Cloukey’s family includes Owen and Tessa. Kelly and Mike O’Donnell’s child is Emily. Mike and Lois’ girls are Michelle and Elizabeth. Sadly, Mike passed away unexpectedly the day after Michelle was married to John Gerardi. Their children are Nicholas and Gabriella. Liz is newly married to Chris Pelosi. Steve’s wife is Susan; their boys are Patrick and Rob and daughter, Christine.

Thank you, Nana, for every lesson you taught us about family. To think it all started when two people fell in love!

Barbara has requested no flowers at her services, but rather donations to Northborough Senior Center. Also she asked that no one wear black. Dress happy!

A visitation will be held Monday, Sept. 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main St., Northborough. Her funeral service will be held following visitation at 1:30 p.m. Burial will be held at the Howard Street Cemetery of Northborough.

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