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June 12, 2013

Barbara Mook Richards

The Daily Star

---- — Barbara Mook Richards

OLD MYSTIC, Conn. — Barbara Mook Richards, 68, died June 8, 2013, at home with her family, in the arms of her husband.

She is survived by her husband, Rob Richards of Old Mystic, Conn.; and six children, Jennifer Morris of Groton, Conn., Colin Morris of East Haddam, Conn., Sarah Morris of Groton, Conn., Will Morris and his wife, Duong of Danbury, Conn., Dan Richards and his wife, Kristin of Devon, Pa., and Tom Richards and his wife, Misty of Macon, Ga. In addition she leaves 10 grandchildren.

Bobbie was born in Cooperstown on Dec. 17, 1944, to William and Barbara Mook. She was the oldest of six children, and graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1962. She attended Smith College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received her B.A. magna cum laude in 1966. She earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Deeply committed to education, Bobbie held a variety of teaching and development positions throughout her career. She taught government at Cedar Crest College and Connecticut College, she was the Assistant Director of Development at Radcliffe College, Assistant Dean of Women at the University of Pennsylvania, became director of the Groton campus of the Hartford Graduate Center and in the late 1990s was a development officer for the UCONN Foundation.

For the five years before her retirement she was president of the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation and sponsored the Coast Guard cutter Sailfish in Sandy Hook, N.J. A ship’s sponsor is a woman invited to bestow good luck and divine protection over the craft and all those who sail onboard.

In keeping with her boundless energy, generous spirit and belief in the importance of service, Bobbie was also an active volunteer for many worthy causes. She was a member and chairwoman of the Stonington Planning Board, served as executive director of the Noank Baptist Group Homes Inc., was a member of the executive committee of the group Homes of Connecticut, and served on the Boards for the Groton/Stonington Youth Services Bureau, the Child and Family Services of Southeastern Connecticut and the Mystic & Noank Library.

She took great pleasure in her role on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and applied her professional skills to a number of their fundraising activities.

Music was one of Bobbie’s lifelong passions. She played the piano for most of her life and loved to sing. She performed with the Smithereens during college, and later with Sweet Adeline choruses and quartets. During the last several years she sang with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

When Bobbie was no longer able to speak toward the end of her illness, she was still able to sing with family and chorus members and found great solace in music.

In the tradition of her mother and both her grandmothers, Bobbie was an avid gardener. Her home is graced with beautiful perennial gardens that contain many plants originating from their gardens. The rose arbor she planted for her son Will’s wedding celebration and the countless herbs and flowers that framed so many family celebrations continue to thrive and commemorate her loving care and sense of natural beauty.

Most of all, Bobbie loved her family. She was a devoted daughter, mother, grandmother, and big sister to her five siblings, and the commitment she and her husband, Rob, had for each other was an inspiration to all who knew them. Whether facing life’s many challenges or turning heads as they whirled on the dance floor, their devotion provided the strong base that supported and nurtured their large blended family.

It was the strength of Rob’s love that allowed Bobbie to live her life to the fullest even while struggling with her devastating terminal illness.

The family faced Bobbie’s illness supporting each other, reflecting back the great love and courage Bobbie always showed them.

A memorial service will be held at the Mystic Congregational Church at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22

In lieu of flowers, Bobbie would encourage donations to the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, 289 State St., New London, CT 06320 or the Center for Hospice Care of Southeast Connecticut (