Skip to main content

Your Tewksbury Today

Obituary: Barbara D. (O’Neil) Thornton, 87

Oct 27, 2015 12:59PM ● By Bill Gilman

TEWKSBURY - Mrs. Barbara D. (O’Neil) Thornton, age 87, died peacefully Saturday evening, October 24, at the Nevins Nursing Center in Methuen, where she had been in residence for the past six years. She was the beloved wife of the late Joseph J. Thornton Jr., who died in 1976.

Barbara was born in Watertown, in January 1928, one of eleven children of the late George and Sarah (Kelly) O’Neil, and was raised in Watertown. After her marriage, she moved to Tewksbury in 1954, to raise her family.

While raising her family, she worked at Astro Circuits in Tewksbury, and later as a store clerk at Marshall’s in Tewksbury.

Barbara was her happiest taking care of her home and family. She believed a warm home, and having plenty of food, and your family was all she needed. She was a wonderful cook and was famous for her spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

She leaves three daughters, Joanne Sheerin and her husband Jeffrey of Saco, ME, Janet Shields and her husband Richard of Lawrence, and Kathleen Swanberry and her partner Clifford Westcott of Concord, NH; eight grandchildren, Heather Sheerin and Harmony Renna of Maine, Jennifer Dellapenna of Windham, NH, Erin Nelson of Sandown, NH, Taylor Carter of NV, Ryan Shields of Lawrence, Sarah Swanberry of Springfield, Janelle Howard of NY; eight great grandchildren; Ethan, Conor, Lanie, Nya, Bella, Grace, Annabelle, and Ashley; a sister, Sarah Alexson of Cape Cod; four brothers, , Edward “Ted” O’Neil of Danvers, Brian O’Neil of Waltham, David O’Neil and his wife Karen of FL, Kenneth O’Neil of KS, a sister-in-law, Elizabeth O’Neil of Waltham; many nieces and nephews, and was preceded in death by her brothers, George O’Neil Jr., Donald O’Neil, Robert O’Neil, Richard O’Neil; and sister Mary Lou McGilvray.

Visiting hours Thursday morning, October 29, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 the Tewksbury Funeral Home, corner of 1 Dewey and 975 Main Sts. (Rte. 38) TEWKSBURY CENTER, Ph. (800 in MA or 978) 851 2950. Her Funeral Service will be held Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral home, followed by burial in Tewksbury Cemetery. Flowers are welcome, or memorials to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675, see, will be appreciated. Visit

Follow us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at @TewksburyToday Follow us on Instagram at YourTewksburyToday