OBITUARY

Barbara Connolly

May 5, 1948February 13, 2021

Barbara Jean Connolly, 72, passed away peacefully on February 13, 2021 in her New York City home. She was born in Pelham Manor, New York to John J. Connolly Sr. and Doris Loughran Connolly. Barbara is survived by her lifelong partner, Andreas Werner; her brother, John J. Connolly Jr. and his wife Nancy and their children, Laura, Jennifer (Khang), Megan, Mary (Andy); her sister, Patricia Halleran and her daughters Amy and Melissa; 10 grand nieces and nephews, and her constant four-legged companion, Ollie, the dachshund.

In her youth, Barbara attended The Ursuline School in New Rochelle and graduated from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania. She started her career in the New York City fashion industry holding management positions at Russ Togs, Leon Levin, and Knitastics. Later, Barbara combined her love for New York City and gift for connecting people to establish a successful real estate career at The Corcoran Group.

Barbara gave generously of her time to organizations dedicated to advancing educational excellence. Her alma mater, Rosemont College, recognized Barbara’s volunteer ethic with several distinguished service awards, as well as a coveted position on the college’s Board of Trustees. She also served as a Trustee to Cristo Rey New York, a college-preparatory Catholic high school serving highly motivated students of all faiths who lack the educational background or financial means to attend private school.

A life-long New Yorker, Barbara was an independent, tenacious, bright-light who warmed up any room she entered. She was an interesting combination of selflessness and individualism, thriving on helping others while also committed to self expression. In her dedication to those she loved, she became herself: a colorful and spontaneous woman full of heart and sympathetic to the frailties of human nature.

Barbo, as her nieces and nephews called her, sported printed scarves, fanciful belts, polka dots, stripes, red heels – whatever caught her eye and made her heart laugh. And her laugh – it was infectious and liberating for those fortunate enough to share it. Her visceral distaste of schedules and irreverence of time made each of her days unique; one never looked quite like another. But if a problem needed solving, Barbara brought to it her indefatigable heart and unstoppable determination – you were in good hands with Barb as your best. She was “The Great Barbo” to all who loved her.

Barbara spent her summers in Westhampton Beach on the small peninsula of Pond Point. A unique community of tiny beach cottages, Pond Point was a lifelong refuge and respite for Barbara from the demands of New York City living, and a place of life-long friendships. Photography was a great passion of hers, and the coastline and dunes of Westhampton Beach, and later Watermill, where she spent many years with Andreas, were forever a subject of creative inspiration for her. But perhaps the greatest gift that Barbara leaves to all who knew and loved her was the optimistic lens through which she captured and shared her life.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Barbara Connolly

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Katherine Zele

February 24, 2021

Aunt Barbo was a very special aunt and I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with her. There were so many fun memories I have of her that I will always remember. The last summer I spent with her was when I was working in the city and would stay at her apartment sometimes. I remember her showing me around the city and taking me to the movies and fun dinners with Andres after work. I always knew she had a thing for manners especially table etiquette so it's funny to think about the mornings I had in the apartment with her before I went off to work. No matter how much of a rush I was in to get out the door she would sit me down at her dining room table with a placemat and a napkin and give me an English muffin and 2 scrambled eggs and make me sit there and eat it with the napkin on my lap. It's the little memories I have of her like that I will hold close to my heart forever. She was a great aunt.

THOMAS GLYNN

February 23, 2021

Barbara Connolly. It's just so hard for me to comprehend that she is truly gone from us forever.
Her wit was wonderful and her laugh was infectious, and invariably she would put a smile in my soul.
Her natural sense of thoughtfulness and concern for others always endeared her to me, and now, as I am putting my thoughts about her on paper, I feel tears welling up in my eyes. And these tears speak more eloquently than my tongue, and they are messengers of overwhelming grief, and of unspeakable love, and of the deep sense of emotional loss which touches my heart and pierces my soul.
Goodbye Barb, and may God bless your soul for all eternity.

Camilla Jenkins

February 22, 2021

These stories are too wonderful. Does anyone remember Barbara on an Amtrak when the bathroom door flew open? And the time Tinker or maybe Ollie was still on the subway car when she jumped off? Because she lost so many things on the subway she had all sorts of friends at the Lost and Found. They were on a first name basis. Barbara and dog were quickly reunited. There is a photo Barbara took that I can’t get out of my mind. Tinker on a boat, an American flag flying off the stern, one doggie ear flapping in the breeze. That was Barbara. A woman of spirit, humor and joy. I miss her every day.

Laura Zele

February 22, 2021

Aunt Barbara touched many lives with her love, kindness, zest for life, and her gifts of adventure, laughter, and fun. She was dedicated to her family, her partner Andreas, her friends, and her dogs. She was a woman ahead of her time, who chose her own unique path. As a young girl, she was a role model for me. It was always a treat and an adventure to visit Aunt Barbo in the city. She would bring me to her office, take me shopping, share her favorite spots, and inspired me to be an independent career woman.

Barbara had her own style and creative flair in all that she did. She was known by all for her love of photography and her ability to capture the essence of a party, the innocence of a child, the personality of a pet, and the light on the water.

Her passion for life, filled with meaningful relationships, was evident to all. She took an interest in each and every person she met. She was kind, honest, and always genuine. Some favorite memories are her photography sessions; walks on the beach; long dinner conversations; losing Ollie and searching for him hundreds of times on Pond Point; losing her wallet, many, many, times in places all over NYC only to have it hand-delivered, fully intact with cash and all; missing numerous flights, buses, etc., only to turn it into an unplanned adventure that always proved to open new doors. What others would identify as a problem, Aunt Barbara only saw as an opportunity to create an unexpected adventure, with lots of laughs along the way, that resulted in something better than if things had gone perfectly in the first place. All of these “imperfections” are what made Barbara so perfect and why we all loved her so much.

I will miss her tremendously here on earth, but she lives on in all of us in our memories. When life doesn’t go exactly as planned, I ask, what would Aunt Barbo do? She will always be with me, her warmth, easy laugh, and can-do attitude guiding me to see the positive side of everything.

Nancy Connolly

February 21, 2021

There are so many hysterical Barbo stories to relate. I am recalling one that hasn't gone viral, as most of them have just because they are precious and priceless insights into her world of laughter and chaos.
Barbara & I were traveling back from a visit to my sister Mary's apartment in London. We traveled together over the pond a few times to visit and shop our hearts out.
The plane had just flashed the overhead seat belt sign on as winds were going to cause turbulence, at that moment Barbara had just opened her makeup bag in her lap, as the plane dropped, people screamed, and pink & red lipsticks, black mascara, blush, cotton balls, etc. hit the plane ceiling scattering in every direction.
In row 10 behind her a man yelled "I have pink lipstick here", then 6 rows in front, the black mascara was found, soon everyone got in the act, cotton balls were found in women's hair, we were all so hysterical, giggles and laughter filled the air.
That's just one of the great Barbo stories.
She was one of a kind and we will all miss her but will never forget her spirit and zest for a life that ended too soon.

Megan Connolly

February 20, 2021

No one knew more about making life an adventure than my Aunt Barbara. A simple trip could end up being a wild excursion. A trip home from Florida could take her on the craziest of routes. But all the while she would tell everyone how marvelous her trip was. Every day of her life was filled with stories that would later be shared with the family, only to make us all laugh until we cried. These stories were truly UNbelievable to anyone, except those who knew Barbara because anything could happen when you were with her.
Barbara had a way of making everyone feel loved and cared about. She was our family photographer and even when we begged her not to take another picture, she would get us together for one last one. Because of her, we have many wonderful memories captured.
We will miss our Aunt Barbo! Our lives will never be the same without her here but she will always be in our hearts.

Kathy & Bob Trainor

February 20, 2021

Barbara was a part of our lives for more than half a century. This lifelong friendship is a testament not only to Barbara’s love, loyalty, and commitment, but to her joyful spirit, generosity, sense of humor, and unmatched ability to tell a story. Too many times, we missed curtain call of our beloved NYCB, while we talked and talked during our pre-theater dinner. We met during the earliest days of college and since then, shared all of the great joys and sadness of life. She was an extraordinary photographer, able to capture subtle and simple moments in the lives of her friends; she would then surprise us with a gift of the photo. We miss you, dear friend. We send our love and prayers to Andreas and the Connolly family.

Sharon Hirsh

February 20, 2021

One of the highlights of my life (I realize now) was joining Rosemont College's Board of Trustees. An important part of that was the opportunity to re-connect with my classmate Barbara. We had some very good times along with some other trustees. When my husband died, Barbara asked me what I would do at Christmas. I explained that our tradition was to spend as much time Christmas morning with presents -- there were only three of us, including my son, and so we wrapped everything to take up time -- a toothbrush in a stocking got wrapped. That Christmas a big box arrived at my house, with a huge Santa bag filled with small presents -- all wrapped by Barbara --that trustees had bought at the college store when on campus for the October meeting or later and sent to Barbara. My son couldn't believe it and it took us hours to unwrap everything. That was the "great Barbo" in action. She had a heart of gold.

Murray Schiffman

February 19, 2021

I was the controller at Knitastiks. Barbara and I developed a friendship there that included many games of racketball (I never won) and we shared many hilarious family stories. I've missed her easy laughter, great competition and simple beauty.

Nanette LaVerdiere

February 18, 2021

I met Barbara in 1975 when I started my first job in the fashion industry at Russ Togs. It was her first day, too. Barbara was a problem solving optimist with a great sense of humor and a sparkle in her eye. I'll never forget her laugh! She was a beautiful human being in all ways.

FROM THE FAMILY