Waterford - Lucille Barberi, 90, of Waterford, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 24, 2014, at her home with her two sons at her side.
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She was born in Broadnax, Va., June 28, 1923, the daughter of Thomas and Annie (Finch) Tolbert. One of her favorite aunt's nicknamed her "Sunny" because she was always a happy child. As a young lady, Lucille was a hard worker, picking cotton in the fields and later working in a parachute factory during World War II.
She met her husband Charles Barberi in 1942, in Broadnax, while Charles was serving in the U.S. Army. They got married on May 22, 1943. They moved to New London to raise a family in 1944 when Charles was discharged from the Army.
She worked as an administrator for the family business Barberi Brothers Demolition for 50 years until her retirement. She was always very good with numbers and kept the family business afloat during even the most difficult times.
Mrs. Barberi had a beautiful singing voice.From the 1940s through the 1960s, she sang country music with her husband's band. They were favorites at local clubs such as the Top Hat, the Victory and Rainbow Restaurants amongst many others. In addition, she sang on the Cousin Johnny Radio Show during the 50s and 60s.
Mrs. Barberi is survived by two sons, Charles Barberi Jr., and his wife, Lori, of Waterford, Jeffrey Barberi and his wife, Kathy, of Waterford; a daughter, Carol O'Connor of Knoxville, Tenn.; grandchildren, Adam O'Connor, Aaron O'Connor, and Courtney O'Connor Thumma; and grandchildren, Amalie O'Connor, Grant Thumma and Emme Thumma. She is also survived by her sisters, Cassie Bottoms and Vonnie Clary, both of Virginia.
She was predeceased by her husband, Charles Barberi; brothers, David Tolbert, William Clary, and Thomas Clary; sisters, Langalene Temple Clary, Pearl Lynch, Betty Bowlan, and Juanita Clary.
Sunny was a very loving, caring person, and most of all she was generous. She always came to the rescue when someone was in need. No one ever went hungry at the Barberi household. Sunny was an accomplished Southern cook and after her marriage to her Italian husband, she became an amazing Italian cook, all self-taught. She loved spending time with her family. Sunny also enjoyed bird watching, scratch offs, and going to the casino. Even though Sunny lived in Connecticut for 70 years, she never lost her sweet southern accent. Everyone who met her always asked "where are you from?" It gives her family comfort knowing that she is with the Lord.
Her family wishes to give special thanks to Linda Pavlovich and Stephanie Dance for their care and friendship.
Funeral service is private.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be directed to the Waterford VFW Post 6573, 382 Boston Post Road, Waterford, CT 06385.
The Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Please visit ww.neilanfuneralhome.com to leave a condolence message for the family.
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home
12 Ocean Avenue New London, CT 06320
Published in The Day on Mar. 30, 2014