Barbara Ellen Faughnan
January 1, 1932 – August 31, 2020
A New Year’s baby, Barbara Ellen Doan was born to Charlotte and Louis Doan in New York City in the early 30’s, the middle child between two brothers, Herby and Buddy Doan. She was a vivacious and happy child who loved romance and singing-and-dancing movies, and her favorite star was ice-skating movie queen Sonja Henie. She tap-danced on the family’s front stoop, hoping to be ‘discovered’, and aspired to be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, though she turned out to be a few inches too short. Barbara was an excellent student and the lead in her high school plays and continued to enjoy performing in amateur theater throughout her life, choreographing school pageants and directing Strolling Players productions.
Barbara met Tom Faughnan when he interviewed for a job at General Motors; she was executive secretary to his boss. She told her boss not to hire him because he was too young for any of the girls. Fortunately, the boss knew a good man and did hire him, and their love story began. They had a marvelous time dating in New York City and married a year later. The family came along quickly – Maura, Patricia, C.C. and Johnny – and in 1964, Tom’s career in purchasing for GM took them to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Faughnans enjoyed a wonderful overseas life in Argentina and Brazil, where they raised their children with a strong Catholic foundation and respect for learning, fun, and music. They built strong friendships with the Garcias, Mackays, Pardeys and many more families that survive to this day. The families would pile into their big GM station wagons for long summer beach days down the mountain in Guarujá, enjoying caipirinhas and shrimp skewers. Ever busy, Barbara loved nothing more than finding a new house to rent every few years and planning the décor and the move, drawing schematics of the next house and where she would place each piece of furniture and art. Barbara befriended some well-known Brazilian artists and was a force behind the American community’s art shows and fundraisers. Barbara was one of the best hostesses in Sao Paulo -- the Faughnans threw legendary parties and were founders of a ‘welcome newcomers’ party express that lasted for years.
Every two years the family would descend on their U.S. relatives the Doans, Faughnans, Greenes and Lowes for much-anticipated homeleave. Wanting to own a place in the U.S., Tom and Barbara bought a condominium in Boca Raton, Florida at Boca Bayou, which years later became their retirement home. GM transferred them from Brazil to Michigan in the late 70’s and they enjoyed their years there and put their kids through college. They had five more overseas years in Venezuela, where they continued to work, act in theater productions and enjoy an active social life. In the early 90’s, Tom retired and they began a wonderful life in Boca Raton, where some of their friends had also moved. They were a big part of their grandchildren’s childhoods: John’s son Joe and C.C.’s daughter Amy had enthusiastic grandparents in the stands or audience for their childhood sports or dance recitals, and the family gathered most Christmases in Florida. Barbara and Tom enjoyed road trips to New York, trips to Europe, cruise-tours of Alaska and Hawaii, and time with their family and friends around the country. Tom became Commodore of the Boca Bayou Yacht Club and Barbara was its social chairman. The group took countless cruises together and organized everything from Superbowl parties to ice cream socials at home. Barbara was happiest when everyone was having fun.
Barbara was predeceased by her parents and brother Herby and his wife Dolores, and by Tom who passed away in 2012, and son John in 2013. She is survived by her brother Bob and his wife Mimi, daughters Maura (Richard) Allen, Patricia Parmenter, and Cecilia Nevitt and her daughter Amy, as well as her grandson Joseph and many dear nieces and nephews. All of us will miss her tremendously. Her memory may have weakened but her love and recognition of family and friends survived till the end.
Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, September 5, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Ambrose Church, Deerfield Beach, with interment following at Boca Raton Cemetery.
Mass of the Christian Burial
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Barbara Ellen Faughnan
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September 13, 2020
Looking back .... and thinking very hard .... I cannot recall a single moment when I saw my Aunt Barbera angry, nor sad. Perhaps she would be sad "at something" (an injustice, a hurt child, a cancer diagnosis) but never, that I can recall, was she sad or overtly angry.
Graceful and charming come to mind.
Reflecting more, when I think of Maura, Patty (Trish to many, Patty to me) or CC, these three ladies also reflect this incredible ability to reflect optimism, hope, smiles and glee.
While I'm sure these three daughters have all had emotional highs and lows .... I don't recall seeing it.
Likewise, while I'm sure they had differences and conflicts at times with their mother, Aunt Barbera's finest qualities are very evident and reflected in them.
Aunt Barbera was a very classy lady of an era gone-by. She clearly appreciated the finer things in life, the Bergdorf Goodman's, and I think that's special.
She has left a legacy in three great daughters that have each positively impacted their worlds, and mine.
Aunt Barbera was a class act.
I'm crying. Quite hard.
September 13, 2020
Mom was the greatest positive influence on us, because she literally could do anything she set her mind to. She nurtured us, comforted us, and made us strong with her ability to listen to us and help us understand things while we were growing up. She helped give us perspective and taught us to honor ourselves and our feelings. She taught me to be a confident risk taker like she was, because that is when you are really alive...when you are being brave and trying to do something that has never been done before...to be yourself. She was really artistic, creative, loved decorating, loved having dinner parties, and creating beautiful decorations with flowers and candles. She was very visual and loved the arts, fashion, music, dancing, and theatre. She loved watching us all in the musical productions we were in growing up, and she really went crazy when Maura had great prominent roles in those productions. She taught us the intense beauty of God and our relationship to him as our Father, and the reverence we still have for our faith and the greater good of all. She did a lot of charity work and fundraising, and also helped our school in community outreach and art shows and the bicentennial biennal celebration that she directed for the American Society in Sao Paulo.. She made us feel special, and that we were blessed to be in such a loving family with our Dad and each other. She was a strong leader but always conceded to allow my Dad to be the Hero. She was crazy about him and us, and she was really humble for someone who had such influence. We will never be the same without her, but we will bravely walk forward into the future with her in our hearts guiding us. We know she is enjoying the euphoria of being in heaven with God and all the loved ones that she missed so much. I can't wait to get to heaven to see all of you again Mom, Dad, Johnny, and all of our wonderful family that lives there now in eternal happiness. Thank you Mom!
September 12, 2020
Here are some more stories told to me by friends and family since we published this obituary:
From CC: Mom was a wild, wacky and wonderful woman, and a real tree-hugger. She literally hugged a tree on the sidewalk outside our last Sao Paulo house, refusing to allow a crew to cut it down. They finally gave up -- Mom saved the tree!
Paraphrasing Lucie and Marty who both said versions of this: Your Mom was so interested in all of us, we loved to go over after school and drink coffee and eat cake in the flowered-wallpaper copa off your kitchen, and talk to her. She always had lots of questions and remembered things. She may have been a great hostess but she was also a very nice Mom and liked her kids and their friends.
From Joan and Trish Webberly: We all feel that we had a special connection with your parents. They were truly gifted in their ability to share themselves with so many and make each and everyone feel special. Your Mom was the greatest party-thrower. I remember having Lemon Bars for the first time at your home and wondering, 'how did she ever make these'? Of course I've tried many times, but they were never as delicious as your Mom's. We will always remember the wonderful celebrations
with your parents at the helm.
From Susan McInerney: Your mom was always so full of life--that's how I'll remember her. (And of course her reaction to our putting the TV on my garbage can because we didn't have a proper table! Ha! Your mom definitely had style.)
September 6, 2020
Barbara was a warm and exciting person with a wonderful gift to make her friends
Bob and I were made to feel part of the group when we were in São Paulo and spent many unforgettable times together.
Lots of laughter, good food and adventure.
God bless you Barbara Faughnan you were one in a million.