October 29 2018

Fox Hill Teacher Killed in Automobile Accident on Friday

By: Rich Hosford

A long-time Burlington educator was killed in a vehicle crash in Boxford on Friday night.

 

Barbara Joyce “Barbie” O’Connell, a teacher at Fox Hill Elementary School and a woman devoted to her family, passed away suddenly in an automobile accident on Friday night, October 26, an obituary from Sullivan Funeral Homes reads. She was 55 years old.

O’Connell, a Salem native, moved to Burlington in 1989 with her husband to raise their four children. She was a stay at home mother when her children were young but when it was time to go back to work, she returned to education for her career.  She has spent the last eight years at Fox Hill Elementary School in Burlington as a Reading and Math Tutor/Specialist.

 

“She loved working with children and nothing made her happier than when a student she was working with grasped a particular skill,” her obituary reads. “To see them attain a skill set and more importantly see the confidence and satisfaction in their themselves made her life so meaningful.”

 

Burlington Public Schools posted about the tragedy to their Facebook page.

 

“We are deeply saddened to share news of the death of Fox Hill staff member Barbie O'Connell,” school officials wrote. “Our thought and prayers are with the O'Connell family during this difficult time.”

 

According to the Massachusetts State Police the crash occurred at roughly 10:15 p.m. on Friday on Route 95 between Exits 53 and 52. A 35-year-old Georgetown man was traveling on Route 95 Northbound in a 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck when, for reasons still under investigation, his vehicle traveled across the median into the southbound travel lanes and struck a 2006 Toyota Sienna, which was traveling southbound at the time.

 

O’Connell, the operator and sole occupant of the Sienna, was pronounced deceased at the scene, state police said in a statement.

 

The operator and sole occupant of the Honda was transported to Beverly Hospital before being flown by a medical helicopter to a Boston area hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

 

State Police say the crash remains under investigation with assistance from the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services Section. No charges have been filed at this time.

 

Read O'Connell's full obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home below:

 

Barbara Joyce “Barbie” O’Connell, a teacher at Fox Hill Elementary School and a woman devoted to her family, passed away suddenly in an automobile accident on Friday night, October 26, 2018. She was 55 years old. Barbie was born in Salem and grew up in Peabody.  She was a 1981 graduate of Peabody High School. She then earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from Boston College. She loved her years at Boston College and was thrilled when two of her sons followed in her footsteps to BC for their education.  After college, she went to work at GTE as a programmer. While participating in the company softball league, she met her future husband Scott O’Connell. She left GTE and earned her Master’s in Education at Wheelock College. They were married in 1988 and settled in Burlington in 1989 to raise their four children.  She was a stay at home mother when her children were young. When it was time to go back to work, she returned to education for her career. She has spent the last eight years at Fox Hill Elementary School in Burlington as a Reading and Math Tutor/Specialist. She loved working with children and nothing made her happier than when a student she was working with grasped a particular skill.  To see them attain a skill set and more importantly see the confidence and satisfaction in their themselves made her life so meaningful.

What was most important to Barbie was her family and friends.  She was the loving and supportive wife to her husband, Scott. They had recently gone to Las Vegas to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  Her life revolved around her children. She was always there to support, encourage, love unconditionally, and pick them up when they had a fall or misstep.  She was always at their sporting events (tennis, swimming, hockey, lacrosse, and track). She loved family time. Games were a big thing in her home. Family and friends would gather around the kitchen table and play games like Settlers of Catan, Hearts, Rummy and countless other games over the years.  The competition was fun, but it was also an opportunity to sit as a family and share laughs and stories. The same could be said for her family dinners and movie nights. For the past twenty-five years she has brought her family to Totem Pole Park in New Hampshire to spend summer vacations. Days were spent at the beach and swimming and nights were spent around the fire or dining room table. She was so excited about the upcoming wedding of her son, Danny to Sarah.  The Flynn sisters, Barbie, Sue, and Kathy, remained close their entire lives. They shared the holidays, shopped, supported each other, and shared memories like the “girls only” vacation with their Mom to Bermuda. Barbie also had a wonderful circle of friends from Peabody as well as Burlington. She loved the vacations with her neighborhood friends to Cancun, Tampa, and other warm weather destinations. Barbie’s warmth, kindness, humor, welcoming nature, genuine sincerity, and bright smile will always remain in the hearts and memories of all those she loved and touched during her lifetime.

Barbie was the beloved wife of 30 years of Scott R. O’Connell. She was the loving mother of Daniel O’Connell & his fiancée, Sarah Hamilton of Portland ME, Thomas O’Connell & his girlfriend Moira Power of New York, NY, Brian O’Connell & his girlfriend Jessica Kwasnik of Burlington and Julie O’Connell of Burlington. She was the cherished daughter of Ann Flynn of Peabody & the late Richard Flynn. She was the sister of Sue Charochak & her husband Doug of Peabody and Kathy Pingree & her husband Bob of Georgetown.  Barbie was also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Margaret’s Church 111 Winn St., Burlington on Wednesday, Oct. 31  at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. The burial will be private. Relatives and friends are invited to a Celebration of Barbie’s Life at the Burlington Marriott, 1 Burlington Mall Road, on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 2-6 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorials in Barbie’s name may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, One Bulfinch Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02114 or www.massri.wish.org to continue her work of bringing smiles and joy to children everywhere. For directions obituary & online guestbook see www.stmargaretburlington.org or www.sullivanfuneralhome.net.  Arrangements by the Sullivan Funeral Home, Burlington


 


 

 
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