Barbara (Billett) Jeffrey: In Memoriam

 August 24, 2020 – We lost my Aunt Barbara earlier this month. She died August 4th around one in the morning. According to my family, her cause of death was kidney (renal) failure. Aunt Barbara was in the hospital at the time due to COVID-like symptoms and a possible positive COVID test.

Compounding the sadness over her loss was that she died alone – like so many people right now. That’s heartbreaking, and I feel for all the families whose loved ones have died alone. It’s just not right.

Here’s the link to her current obituary (Barbara Billett Jeffrey). I say current because, right now, everything is subject to change. In addition, I’ll likely update this post in the near future.

Jim Jeffrey, Barbara’s husband, died in December 2013. What I wrote about Uncle Jim back then included my memories of Aunt Barbara. She always took a special interest in her nieces and nephews and doted on our children as well. Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote in 2013:

On Friday, December 20th, my family held a funeral service for my uncle, Jim Jeffrey. Uncle Jim died last Sunday of complications brought on by a host of ailments, primarily the after-effects of chemotherapy and the further onset of Alzheimer’s. Uncle Jim was a unique individual, and the obituary from the funeral home doesn’t due justice to a man who fully embraced the ideal of “following your heart.”

Uncle Jim was married to my dad’s older sister, Barbara. Both were talented musicians who lived for many years in the heart of New York City. Jim fluently spoke several foreign languages, was an accomplished gourmet chef, and a handy-man who could fix or rebuild just about anything – electrical appliances, car engines, refurbed houses. On top of that, he was an opera singer!  

There is a lot about my Uncle Jim that I will never know, or certainly won’t remember, but one clear memory of Jim was his singing of Ave Maria at our wedding. Beautiful does not even come close to describing Jim’s performance. Singing at the weddings of nieces and nephews, accompanied, of course, by Aunt Barbara on the organ, became a family tradition that Jim seemed to relish.

We miss Aunt Barbara.

Thanks for listening.

Wedding Photo: Jim & Barbara. My dad on the far left.

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