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Mrs. Barbara J. Duvivier of Exton, PA passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 2, just shy of her 90th birthday. Barbara was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 13, 1929 to Raymond and Irene Doucet and was the oldest of their three children; her brother Richard Doucet and sister Patricia Mockus predeceased her.
Raised in Needham, MA, Barbara loved spending summers camping on Cape Cod and on the coast of Maine, which instilled in her a love of the outdoors that she passed on to her five children. She loved to be near water, most especially, the sea.
She was an avid reader and a brilliant woman who followed world events with a keen interest, but her first priority was always her family. Hosting family gatherings and supporting her children-- including boarding their dogs for extended periods of time-- was something she did from a deep wellspring of generosity and kindness which, as anyone who knew her would attest, are two of her most defining characteristics. Her attention to detail was unparalleled and she delighted in creating the most thoughtful gifts for her children and grandchildren.
Barbara played the piano and sang in choirs. She passed on her love of singing to her family who were encouraged to sing with her at the piano, on car rides, family gatherings, and holidays; singing together as a family was one of Barbara’s greatest joys. She also had a passion for birds and travel. In particular, she loved her trips to both Acadia and Ireland as she explored family ancestry and culture. Barbara taught all five of her children to read and actively nurtured their love of reading. The joy of reading and the power of literacy was so important to her that she made a point to volunteer her time at after school programs in Chester, PA and Philadelphia that focused on helping children improve their reading skills.
At the age of nineteen, Barbara accepted a position working for the Editor of The Boston Post Sunday Magazine. She remained at the Post until it folded in 1956. She loved her work at the newspaper and thrived on the dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment and she relished the opportunity to be an independent, working woman.
In 1956, Barbara married Jean F. Duvivier and they made their home in Newton, MA for the next eleven years.
Barbara learned about natural childbirth, not encouraged by the medical profession of the era, and after extensive research and reading about it, she decided to pursue this path, which required her to convince her doctor and to personally bring in a nurse to work with her through it. She was the first to complete a natural childbirth at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Boston.
Barbara and Jean moved their family to Media, PA in 1968 where they stayed for nearly twenty years. While living in Media, Barbara returned to work as secretary to the Principal of the Indian Lane Junior High School and then Springton Lake Junior High School. This job allowed her to have the same hours and holiday schedule as her children, which was paramount to her. When the Delaware Community College opened its new campus, Barbara worked as secretary to the President of the college.
In 1985, Barbara and Jean moved to Port Jefferson, NY and then Redding, CT before moving for the last time in 2002 to Exton, PA to be available to help with their newborn granddaughter. For the first years, while the baby was still young, Barbara was the primary caretaker of her granddaughter during the day.
Barbara remained blessed with a strong mind and expansive spirit right up to the end of her life.
Barbara is survived by her five children: Christine, and her husband, Dai Olaksen; Michele; John; Elizabeth; Marc; and his wife Evelyn; and five grandchildren: Katherine and Lauren Olaksen, and Caroline, Julian and Alexander Duvivier.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to: The Center for Literacy (centerforliteracy.org)
Services at a later date.
The Center for Literacy