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Official Obituary of: Barbara A. O’Keefe, 92, on May 11, 2023

Barbara A. O’Keefe, 92, on May 11, 2023

Barbara Anne O’Keefe passed away on May 11, 2023 after a period of declining health. She was the wife of Peter Peters, who passed away on February 7, 2011.

Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on November 10, 1930, Barbara was the daughter of the late Max Oscar Miller, a polisher for the Watson Company in Attleboro, and Alice Whipple Allen Miller, a homemaker. She grew up on Parker Street on Attleboro’s East Side. An only child, she was a direct descendent of The Green Mountain Boys of Vermont as well as Ethan Allen.

Barbara was very proud of her education. She was a graduate of Attleboro High School, Sturdy Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and Roger Williams College. Over time, she continually took courses to advance her nursing skills. Barbara was also passionate about mentoring young nurses and welcoming them into the profession.

Nursing and helping others were two things that defined Barbara. She was a nurse and eventually head nurse in the Attleboro School Department for 35 years. She constantly went above and beyond, helping so many students, and especially young women, through difficult times. Some of her students even stayed in touch until her passing. Upon retiring, Barbara came to miss the interaction with her colleagues so she went back to nursing for the Bi-County Collaborative. After several years, however, full time work became a little too much, so she began working part time at Long’s Jewelers in Emerald Square Mall. She loved jewelry and would sometimes have ten rings on her fingers! In fact, she was always dressed to the nines with beautiful clothing and jewelry to match.

In her earlier years, Barbara was happiest planning a dinner party and conversing, dining, and vacationing with her dear friends. Barbara loved having her nine “Attleboro High School Sorority Sisters” over to her home once each month. To no one’s surprise, Barbara was designated the Queen Bee. She was also a member of the Theta Beta Sorority. In her later years, Barbara had a small group of loyal friends who looked out for her best interests, brought her meals, did her shopping, and visited often. She was invited to many Sunday family dinners and holiday meals. When she became housebound, homemade meals were brought to her. The response was always the same: “This is the best meal ever. You should open a restaurant!”

Barbara was always a lover of history, and it was this love that led her to purchase her home on South Washington Street, in the historical district. Originally built in 1850, the home was soon owned by a prominent dry goods merchant, George Colton, in 1906. As a history buff, Barbara was a natural fit for the North Attleboro Historical Commission that helped local home and business owners preserve their historical assets. Among her favorite books were those on Egyptian history and art. She collected many and often reread her favorites.

When Barbara’s health began to decline, she moved into Brookdale Assisted Living. She was welcomed by a loving, social, and supportive group that became like family. She was treated with love, kindness, and compassion at Brookdale.

At Barbara’s request, services are omitted. If you would like to make a memorial contribution in her name, you may send it to the North Attleboro Animal Shelter. 

  • Comment (20)
  • I am just learning of Barbara’s passing. I was fortunate to have known her through our mutual friend Denise, who was one of Barbara’s protege’s.  After knowing and loving Barbara at Attleboro HS. and because of her influence, Denise went to nursing which is where I met Barbara.  Barbara was the most positive person, always ready to give compliments. Thankfully when Denise was in town a couple months ago we visited Barbara at Brookdale, Very enjoyable visit and true to form she had us planning a dinner party. She did much for many.  Rest in Peace  

  • I was one of the young women she assisted  in Attleboro High School.  As a pregnant teen. I went rushing into the Nurses Office. ” I’m having my baby” Barbara said to me. In the most sweetest calming voice. Come sit and put your feet up honey. She checked my vitals. Then said. You’re having Braxton Hix contractions. My response.  ” HUH ”
    Then, I was explained in that same sweet and calming voice, just what they were. 

    Thank you Barbara.  
    Prayers that you may rest in the sweetest of peace. 

  • I am so sorry for the loss of Mrs. O’Keefe. She was a wonderful, kind hearted, supportive angel in disguise. I owe Mrs. O’Keefe a giant thank you that unfortunately I never got to tell her. She was a giant blessing to me when I was in high school back in 1990 through 1992. She is the reason why I graduated. She just took me under her wing and looked out for me when nobody else did. I was kicked out of my house when I was 16 years old and I continued to go to school and work full-time  to be able to support myself to live in a rooming house. Mrs. O’Keefe would let me come into her office on my study hour and she would let me sleep because I was always so tired from working full-time right after school. she always made sure that she has snacks for me or will make sure I had a lunch because they were many days. I just didn’t have the money to buy lunches. She also helped me go to my senior prom Mrs. O’Keefe was an angel on earth, and I wish I would’ve returned to Attleboro to thank her-and tell her how much she changed my life ! She also made such an impact on me and she was part of the reason I became a RN! Rest in the sweetest of peace, you earned your wings.

  • Rest in peace. You were on great landlord when my husband & i rented a home of yours on Bungay Lake. And such an easy going, quick to show your generosity,  friend. ❤️ 

  • As an AHS graduate of 1993 I still vividly remember Barbara Okeefe! She was easy to talk to no matter what teenage struggle you were going through, she would listen!

  • I am devastated, Barbara was such an amazing woman. She helped me Out so much through out my high school years. When I got married she came to my wedding with a made blanket with my ex husbands name an myself in it. I still have it an have always cherished it. She was such an amazing woman she is forever going to be missed. May she be resting in the sweetest of peace she definitely deserves it. ❤️

  • I am so extremely sorry to read this. Barbara was close to my mother Mary Fischbach-Winsor as they were cousins. My mother passed away 23 years ago this August. Barbara was so sweet and the best nurse ever and always helped me out when I struggled severely with anxiety. After my mom passed I lost touched with Barbara I wish I had known she was in Brookdale 3 miles down the road from me I would have visited her. May she rest in peace.. xo

  • You will be greatly missed but always remembered. Mrs OKeefe was an amazing woman who helped everyone who crossed her path. We had a special bond and memories I will always treasure. My thoughts and prayers to all her family and friends

  • Barbara O’Keefe literally saved my life more than once. When I was anorexic, when I was depressed, when life was overwhelming, she was there with a smile and understanding. Truly the world is made less for the dimming of her light. My condolences to all who feel her loss.

  • Always had wonderful interactions with Barbara at AHS.  Barbara also had a part with ECC when the kindergarten came to the high school. She was always informative, professional and had a heart of gold, truly caring about her students and families. Rest in peace Barbara.

  • Barbara was an amazing woman who filled a room with love and joy. I had the opportunity to have Barbara as a nurse when I was growing up in Attleboro and also worked with her throughout my career. She was instrumental is creating and organizing the Health Dept. for the school district. I admired how she always placed her students first and amply showed her care, compassion and love for them.  Whenever a student or staff member needed anything, Barbara would find a way to help. She was definitely a nurturing model for all. Barbara made the world better and she did this life well! 

  • A beautiful woman, inside and out with a smile that lite up the room.  I will remember her always.

  • I met Barbara in 1962, when I began teaching and coaching at Attleboro High.  We became good friends.  Cruised together. Spent a great deal of time doing fun things.. She was in my wedding. A great gal!
    Unfortunately we lost contact over the years but I will always Barbara for her caring ways!

  • I remember Mrs. O’Keefe very well as she was our neighbor on Hillcrest Drive in Attleboro in the 1950’s. I remember her telling my Mom that Elvis was going to be on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time and that was in 1956. She was always so nice to everyone and many, many years later when she was the head nurse at Attleboro High, I got to see her again when my daughter had a health issue at school. She was just as nice then as she was in 1956 and had not changed a bit. Rest in peace Mrs. O’Keefe, you will be missed by many but never forgotten.

  • You were a wonderful woman Barbara and you will be missed by our family and many . ??

  • Hi to whoever is going to get this Barbara was my best friend for over 55 years she help me through high school she help me as a single mom she was a great woman great woman she helped many girls in high school she did so much for the community she was my very best friend I could talk to her about anything she will be greatly missed by myself and I’m sure many others every time I talk to her I would say to her I love you to the moon and back and she would say me too and I would say I love you if she would say I’m gonna say quiet prayers after we talked about everything under the sun Barbara I’m Going to truly miss you but I know that someday I will see you in heaven God bless you and thank you for your friendship

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20 Responses

  1. Hi to whoever is going to get this Barbara was my best friend for over 55 years she help me through high school she help me as a single mom she was a great woman great woman she helped many girls in high school she did so much for the community she was my very best friend I could talk to her about anything she will be greatly missed by myself and I’m sure many others every time I talk to her I would say to her I love you to the moon and back and she would say me too and I would say I love you if she would say I’m gonna say quiet prayers after we talked about everything under the sun Barbara I’m Going to truly miss you but I know that someday I will see you in heaven God bless you and thank you for your friendship

  2. You were a wonderful woman Barbara and you will be missed by our family and many . ??

  3. I remember Mrs. O’Keefe very well as she was our neighbor on Hillcrest Drive in Attleboro in the 1950’s. I remember her telling my Mom that Elvis was going to be on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time and that was in 1956. She was always so nice to everyone and many, many years later when she was the head nurse at Attleboro High, I got to see her again when my daughter had a health issue at school. She was just as nice then as she was in 1956 and had not changed a bit. Rest in peace Mrs. O’Keefe, you will be missed by many but never forgotten.

  4. I met Barbara in 1962, when I began teaching and coaching at Attleboro High.  We became good friends.  Cruised together. Spent a great deal of time doing fun things.. She was in my wedding. A great gal!
    Unfortunately we lost contact over the years but I will always Barbara for her caring ways!

  5. A beautiful woman, inside and out with a smile that lite up the room.  I will remember her always.

  6. Barbara was an amazing woman who filled a room with love and joy. I had the opportunity to have Barbara as a nurse when I was growing up in Attleboro and also worked with her throughout my career. She was instrumental is creating and organizing the Health Dept. for the school district. I admired how she always placed her students first and amply showed her care, compassion and love for them.  Whenever a student or staff member needed anything, Barbara would find a way to help. She was definitely a nurturing model for all. Barbara made the world better and she did this life well! 

  7. Always had wonderful interactions with Barbara at AHS.  Barbara also had a part with ECC when the kindergarten came to the high school. She was always informative, professional and had a heart of gold, truly caring about her students and families. Rest in peace Barbara.

  8. Barbara O’Keefe literally saved my life more than once. When I was anorexic, when I was depressed, when life was overwhelming, she was there with a smile and understanding. Truly the world is made less for the dimming of her light. My condolences to all who feel her loss.

  9. You will be greatly missed but always remembered. Mrs OKeefe was an amazing woman who helped everyone who crossed her path. We had a special bond and memories I will always treasure. My thoughts and prayers to all her family and friends

  10. I am so extremely sorry to read this. Barbara was close to my mother Mary Fischbach-Winsor as they were cousins. My mother passed away 23 years ago this August. Barbara was so sweet and the best nurse ever and always helped me out when I struggled severely with anxiety. After my mom passed I lost touched with Barbara I wish I had known she was in Brookdale 3 miles down the road from me I would have visited her. May she rest in peace.. xo

  11. I am devastated, Barbara was such an amazing woman. She helped me Out so much through out my high school years. When I got married she came to my wedding with a made blanket with my ex husbands name an myself in it. I still have it an have always cherished it. She was such an amazing woman she is forever going to be missed. May she be resting in the sweetest of peace she definitely deserves it. ❤️

  12. As an AHS graduate of 1993 I still vividly remember Barbara Okeefe! She was easy to talk to no matter what teenage struggle you were going through, she would listen!

  13. Rest in peace. You were on great landlord when my husband & i rented a home of yours on Bungay Lake. And such an easy going, quick to show your generosity,  friend. ❤️ 

  14. I am so sorry for the loss of Mrs. O’Keefe. She was a wonderful, kind hearted, supportive angel in disguise. I owe Mrs. O’Keefe a giant thank you that unfortunately I never got to tell her. She was a giant blessing to me when I was in high school back in 1990 through 1992. She is the reason why I graduated. She just took me under her wing and looked out for me when nobody else did. I was kicked out of my house when I was 16 years old and I continued to go to school and work full-time  to be able to support myself to live in a rooming house. Mrs. O’Keefe would let me come into her office on my study hour and she would let me sleep because I was always so tired from working full-time right after school. she always made sure that she has snacks for me or will make sure I had a lunch because they were many days. I just didn’t have the money to buy lunches. She also helped me go to my senior prom Mrs. O’Keefe was an angel on earth, and I wish I would’ve returned to Attleboro to thank her-and tell her how much she changed my life ! She also made such an impact on me and she was part of the reason I became a RN! Rest in the sweetest of peace, you earned your wings.

  15. I was one of the young women she assisted  in Attleboro High School.  As a pregnant teen. I went rushing into the Nurses Office. ” I’m having my baby” Barbara said to me. In the most sweetest calming voice. Come sit and put your feet up honey. She checked my vitals. Then said. You’re having Braxton Hix contractions. My response.  ” HUH ”
    Then, I was explained in that same sweet and calming voice, just what they were. 

    Thank you Barbara.  
    Prayers that you may rest in the sweetest of peace. 

  16. I am just learning of Barbara’s passing. I was fortunate to have known her through our mutual friend Denise, who was one of Barbara’s protege’s.  After knowing and loving Barbara at Attleboro HS. and because of her influence, Denise went to nursing which is where I met Barbara.  Barbara was the most positive person, always ready to give compliments. Thankfully when Denise was in town a couple months ago we visited Barbara at Brookdale, Very enjoyable visit and true to form she had us planning a dinner party. She did much for many.  Rest in Peace  

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