April 5, 1945 - October 27, 2020
HERDON, VA-Barbara Ann (Dewey) McBrady, aged 75, died peacefully on Tuesday, 27 October, surrounded by a loving, extended family providing home-based care in the final 5 months of her rich and rewarding life. A long-time cancer survivor, her health began to decline in May, prompting a relocation from her current home in Bellevue, WA to Herndon, VA where 2 of her 4 children, their spouses and 3 of Barb’s sisters and their families could assist with her care. Barb grew up the 5th of 8 siblings, born to Mary Sofia (Wichelman) Dewey and Richard Connoll Dewey, both deceased, and is survived by all seven brothers and sisters. Barb was the middle child with a pair of older brothers (Dick and Tom) and sisters (Pat and Jean) to learn from and a younger brother (Jim) and 2 sisters (Ginny, JoAnne) to look after. The oldest of the “little kids” in a close-knit and generation spanning family, they all lived in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati, were she attended St. Cecilia’s grade school and graduated St. Mary’s High School in 1963. Following high school, Barb attended the University of Cincinnati earning bachelor and master degrees and embarking on a life-long teaching career, beginning as an English teacher at Sycamore High School in 1968. Barb married her college sweetheart, Bob McBrady, a Detroit native and Xavier University graduate on 12 April 1969. In the spring of 1970, following the birth of their son Mike, the couple relocated to Cincinnati’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood near where Barb grew up. Living in a duplex on Lisbon Avenue, the McBradys established lifelong ties with several other young couples starting families and awaited the arrival of Mike’s “Irish Twin” brother Matt, born less than a week prior to Mike’s 1st birthday. By the late fall of 1970, it was clear Barb’s role as mother to 1-year old Mike and infant Matt would suspend her teaching vocation. Ultimately, Barb’s 22-year classroom hiatus as a stay-at-home mom grew to include daughter Molly, born in February 1977, youngest son Adam, arriving in August of 1980, and her oldest grandson Nate, borne in September, 1991. During this period, when she wasn’t busy as a wife, mother, or grandmother, Barb also found much joy and fulfillment travelling throughout the eastern U.S. pursuing her hobby turned profession as an antiques dealer. In August 1992, following college graduation and wedding ceremonies for Mike and Matt, and with Molly in high school, Barb and Adam both entered 7th grade, navigating their new school environments as both teacher and student. Barb loved her third act role as a National Board Certified teacher in English and Creative Writing at Sacred Heart Catholic School almost as much as being a mother and grandmother. She displayed the same passion and commitment for her students’ development, happiness, and preparation for a successful transition to adulthood as she showed her own children, 34 nieces and nephews, and 6 grandchildren. In her first 49 years as a daughter, sister, aunt, teacher, mother, wife, grandmother, and antiques entrepreneur, Barb was a vivacious, irrepressibly optimistic and magnetic personality who stood out even in the middle of an unusually large, cacophonous family filled with unforgettable personalities and uncommon love. So, it was completely unsurprising to anyone that knew her that Barb would best a 1994 cancer diagnosis and prognosis she would not see Y2K by over 20 years. Her teacher’s passion to make a lasting, positive impression in the lives of others was as much the reason she outlasted her cancer diagnosis as all the traditional medicine. From 1994-1999, Barb never missed a single day of teaching despite grueling Friday afternoon chemotherapy and radiation treatments, that would allow her to be back in the classroom on Monday. She also endured 5 “summer vacation cancer surgeries” to ensure adequate recovery time to enable returning to her “classroom kids” every August. Although Bob and Barb’s marriage ended in 2008, the two remained close friends and deeply committed parents and grandparents, vowing to never need “separate celebrations,” to honor the enduring family bonds they built together over 39 years. Barb retired from her beloved teaching profession in June of 2008 to once again become a full-time mom, grandma, sister, aunt, and friend. She relocated to Bellevue, WA, to be near Molly as they welcomed the first of Molly’s 3 children and Barb played a hands-on role in raising each of them over the next 12 years. Barb routinely traveled across the country to be with all those whom she loved so dearly, bringing her zest for life to all she touched. She vowed to “never miss” a family party or special event no matter where it was taking place around the world. She was always the life of the party, she made fast friends of strangers with her welcoming good nature, and was often “mom” or “Grandma Barb” regardless of blood lines – the branches of her family tree had no limits, with many finding in her the gift of familial unconditional love that was her trademark. The life Barb lived and love she freely shared with friends and family throughout all stages of her life temper the sadness and grief of her passing with the gratitude we all have for the indelible memories she helped create in all our lives. The woman who was told at 49 she might not live to see her youngest son’s 1998 high school graduation proved time and again that love can conquer all enabling her to see all 4 children get married and play a vital role in raising all 6 of her grandchildren as the family’s beloved matriarch. Barb was a tough as nails and exceptionally loving lady, who daily modeled for her children, their spouses and grandchildren that life should always be spent in the full-throated pursuit of happiness, focused on bringing joy to others, never dwelling in sadness or feeling sorry for oneself. This optimistic approach she undoubtedly developed as a young girl who overcame the heartbreaking loss of her beloved father less than three weeks after her 9th birthday. Perhaps as a result of this early tragedy, Barb adopted a future focused attitude of relentless optimism, focused on identifying and squeezing whatever joy could be found out of everyday life. This approach made her the fun sister, aunt, wife and mom and gifted her children and grandchildren with the unshakeable belief that smiles, laughter, and a positive attitude could be wielded much more effectively than comic book superpowers to change people’s lives for the better. Barb’s employment of this superpower in the lives of others – both accidentally and intentionally – is what most of us will miss most and try to emulate with her passing. In lieu of flowers or other remembrances or expressions of sympathy, and to honor of Barb’s unfailingly optimistic personality, in keeping with her last wishes, friends and family are asked to gather in joyful remembrance around a bottle of Shafer Vineyards’ Relentless Syrah, her pre-designated “Wake Wine” or one of her other favorites (there were many), and share your photos and thoughts on her Facebook page. To honor her lifelong passion of working for positive change, donations in her name to progressive causes which champion literacy (https://www.rif.org/support-rif ), equality and justice at home or abroad are also greatly appreciated. A friends and family gathering is being planned for 2021 and details will be provided as they become available.
HERDON, VA-Barbara Ann (Dewey) McBrady, aged 75, died peacefully on Tuesday, 27 October, surrounded by a loving, extended family providing home-based care in the final 5 months of her rich and rewarding life. A long-time cancer survivor, her... View Obituary & Service Information
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