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Barbara A. Mullarkey

August 1, 1935 April 15, 2020
Barbara A. Mullarkey
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Obituary for Barbara A. Mullarkey

Barbara Alexander Mullarkey was born on August 1, 1935 in Oak Park and passed away at her Oak Park home on April 15, 2020. Born to the late Olive (Kennedy) and the late Benjamin Alexander. Preceded in death by John T. Mullarkey and her sisters Elizabeth Alexander, Lorraine (Bob) Carpenter, Mary Clare (Jimmy Freeman & Ed Walther), and Regina Alexander.
Barbara is survived by her devoted children, John Patrick, Ellen (Scott) Nelson, Daniel (Lauren Sherman), Karen (Marty) Kerrins, and Ann (Daniel) Ganschow. Her beloved and cherished grandchildren who were the lights of her life, Kiley, Allie, Maeve, Grace and Johnny Nelson, Riley, Keegan and Regan Kerrins, Patrick, Connor and Declan Ganschow. Fun loving and adventurous Aunt, cousin and dear friend to many.
Barbara was a lifelong Oak Parker. She graduated from Ascension School Class of 1949, Trinity High School Class of 1953 and Rosary College Class of 1957 (now Dominican University). The friends Barbara made at Trinity and Rosary lasted her lifetime and were highlighted by cherished reunions every summer that spanned over 60 years.
After college she began her career with a job she loved at Commonwealth Edison demonstrating new era electric appliances. At a time when women were just starting the fight for work force equality, Barbara was a true trailblazer and had a company car and an expense account. It was at ComEd that she met her future husband John. They settled and planted deep roots with their five children on the infamous 200 block of South Elmwood with an amazingly colorful group of neighbors who quickly became and remain family. With over 100 kids on their block, Barbara became the organizer of iconic block parties that were the highlights of the kids’ summers that included water balloon wars and epic block wide scavenger hunts as well as spooktacular haunted houses at Halloween.
Barbara adored her family and was a treasured friend to many whom she was a confidant and advisor. Her generous spirit will live on and inspire those who remember with love her warmth, kindness and inquisitive soul. Her true legacy is her 11 grandchildren who she considered her proudest accomplishments. Grammie B was a fixture at Ascension, St. Luke, Lincoln, Roosevelt, WSSRA, Oak Park and River Forest Youth programs, and OPRF High School where she was one of their longest tenured sports fans. As one OPRF coach commented, Barb was a legend and one of the all-time favorites who will be dearly missed. She attended over 1,000 games and traveled over 10,000 miles supporting her grandkids and their teammates and loved every minute of it. She knew the coaches, refs, umpires and scorekeepers and was never afraid to share her opinions or her stats!
Throughout Barbara’s lifetime she championed many nutrition, health and wellness causes. Her crusades involved educating others to be mindful of ingredients in food, drink and medicine and included: removing chemicals in our food supply most importantly Aspartame and Bovine Growth Hormone. She was steadfast and relentless about banning pesticides in our parks, raising awareness to the harmful effects of AstroTurf, fought fracking and smart meters, removing mercury from vaccines, raising mental health awareness and promoting alternative medicine ideologies including acupuncture, massage and homeopathy. Barbara also advocated to remove cell towers from schools and hospitals to minimize the adverse effects of electromagnetic radio waves on those who are most vulnerable. She felt strongly about lending her voice and energy to causes that protected the environment. She was not afraid to battle/share her perspective with Presidents, Senators, Congressman, Village Presidents and Trustees.
Barbara’s passions included: Founding Member and Nutrition Columnist for the Wednesday Journal, Journalist for Oak Park News, Conscious Choice, and Vegetarian Times. Proud supporter of Maryville Academy, Oak Leyden Developmental Services, WSSRA, advocate for prison food reform, Charter Member Handy Hands, tireless Ascension School volunteer, OPRFHS Huskie Booster Club Member, IVAC, Oak Park Environmental Network, HOPP and Nutrivoice Editor, Author of Bittersweet Aspartame A Diet Delusion and Children’s Book Agent.
To quote Barbara’s favorite newspaper editor Dan Haley, “She was pure hearted and damned if she wasn’t almost always right.” In true Barb fashion she would correct Dan and say she was always right.
It was black and white to Barbara; you were on her side or the wrong side!
The quote by Shakespeare that Barbara lived by was, “To thine own self be true.” She was true to herself and all those she loved and if she had one wish, she would want everyone to be good to themselves and others.
A memorial celebration of Barbara’s extraordinary life will be held at a later date due to COVID-19. Donations in her name to West Suburban Special Recreation (WSSRA .net) or the Oak Park River Forest High School Booster Club are appreciated. Services by Ahern Funeral Home 708-383-5700.

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