A life lived: Barbara Bradshaw was best friend to her nieces, nephews

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Barbara “Bobbie” Bradshaw was an “unclaimed blessing,” having never been married or had any children of her own, but she was deeply loved by her nephews and nieces, some of whom she helped raise.

“Aunt Bobbie was someone who made things better, more fun, and easier for us,” said a niece, Therese Bradshaw, with whom Barbara had more recently made her home. “She was both a Mom and best friend to me.”

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Barbara was raised in Cat Island, the daughter of Samuel Jackson “Jack” and Gladys Marie Bradshaw. She was one of four children. “Everyone who lived in Cat Island was either kin or like family. She counted everyone who lived on Cat Island her family,” said Therese.

She retired from the dietary department of Life Care Center just last year at the age of 74 after working there for about 20 years.

Barbara Bradshaw was never at a loss for things to do. “She enjoyed so many things — reading, music, sports, and cooking,” Therese shared. Barbara was a big fan of the UT Vols and the Lady Vols, and she enjoyed all sports and watching games on TV. “She could get rowdy when watching a game and was an armchair coach,” said Therese.

“We watched this year’s Superbowl together and when I went to the kitchen for something, I could hear Aunt Bobbie coaching the Eagles from her chair. She could really get into a game,” said Therese.

She enjoyed all genres of music, especially country. When it came to books, she was a big fan of Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson. “She had read all their books. She enjoyed reading the newspaper and everyday read her Bible. Interestingly, Aunt Bobbie enjoyed watching detective and crime shows on TV. Sometimes, I would say, ‘let’s watch something beside murder,’” Therese shared with laughter, “and she was always accommodating.”

More recently, Barbara liked new cookbooks and enjoyed trying new recipes. “She was both a good cook and an old-time cook. She cooked dishes like beans and potatoes and cornbread, but her favorite thing to make was spaghetti. She was at home in the kitchen,” Therese shared.

Barbara was a very tech-savy person, who enjoyed her computer and i-phone. “She could use the i-person much better than me, and she spent more time on her phone than I did. She used it to keep up with sports schedules, to get news items, to make and receive photos, and to talk on, of course,” said Therese.

“Aunt Bobbie was such a happy person and so much fun to be around. She was quite comical at times. Sometimes, we’d go shopping together or go to a movie and we would laugh and have so much fun,” Therese added.

“She never had a family of her own, but she was always involved in the families of her brothers and sisters. She treated all of her nephews and nieces just as if they were hers. Aunt Bobbie took care of us and was our ‘go to’ person.” I’m going to miss her so much,” Therese lovingly shared of her aunt.”

To Therese and her cousins, Aunt Bobbie was always there to look after them, teach them things, and take time out of her day to be with them. And, they thought of her as an extension of their mother.

If there was ever an unclaimed blessing, Aunt Bobbie Bradshaw was that. She always seemed available. Was never afraid to say “no,” but said “yes” more often than “no.” She had no profound words of wisdom to share, but she cared by her mere presence. I’m sure when she passed over Feb. 5, all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.