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Cynthia J. Barlow

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Published in September 2018

Cynthia J. (Colella) Barlow, loving mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and devoted caretaker of any person or animal she ever found in need, passed peacefully into the arms of God on Sunday, September 2, 2018. She was surrounded by her family in the comfort of her own home with the sunlight of a beautiful summer day upon her face. She was 70 years old.

Cynthia was a resident of Shrewsbury. She was born in Worcester, on January 14, 1948, a daughter of Rudolph J. and Marilyn Colella. She was a graduate of Worcester’s North High School and later received her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Worcester State College. Cynthia worked for many years as an elementary school teacher for the City of Worcester at Nelson Place School and Blithewood Street School.

Cynthia lived in Boston after graduating college, where she frequented the “discos,” made lifetime friendships, and met the love of her life, Stephen J. Barlow. Soon after their marriage, Cynthia became a mother to her sons and daughter – a role she embraced with the entirety of her talents and passions. Cynthia was a tireless advocate for her children, continuing their education outside the classroom, cheering them on in their endeavors, and helping to guide them in life as they became adults and parents themselves.

As anyone who ever entered her home could immediately discern, Cynthia was an avid doll collector. Her collection included over 300 dolls. She loved music, dancing, gardening, reading, and movies. Cynthia also loved to travel, especially to her childhood holiday destination of Brewster on Cape Cod and the Caribbean island of Saint John, which she and her husband loved and made into a destination for generations of their family.

Cynthia’s husband of 34 years, Stephen J. Barlow passed away on August 19, 2012. She is also pre-deceased by her father, Rudolph J. Colella and father-in-law, Walter Barlow. Cynthia is survived by two sons, Joshua Barlow and his wife Lindsey of Boston and Zachary Barlow of Boynton Beach, FL; her daughter, LeeAnn Marien and her husband Paul of Boylston; her mother, Marilyn J. (DeSourdis) Colella of Worcester; two brothers, Joseph Colella and his significant other, Veronica Von Allworden of Langley, Washington and Jeffrey Colella and his wife Mikel of North Hollywood, CA; her sister, Laurie Colella and her significant other, Michael Gentile of Holden; four grandchildren, Allison and Patrick Marien and Vivian and Desmond Barlow; her loving in-laws who were very special to her, including her mother-in-law, Nancy Barlow of Medway; her many nieces and nephews whom she loved as her own children; and an extensive network of friends, including her lifetime “partner in crime,” Delores Riggieri.

Cynthia’s family would like to thank all of Mom’s friends and extended family for their love, support, and care. The family would also like to thank her devoted care providers for their compassion and guidance, including Ron Hoffman from Compassionate Care ALS, the JHC hospice care team, Dr. James Berry and his team from MGH in Boston, and Mom’s home health aides Cee-Cee, Williemena, and Binta.

Her funeral service will be held on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 11:00 am in the MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St., Worcester. Burial will follow in Worcester County Memorial Park, Paxton. Relatives and friends are invited to a period of calling hours on Thursday, September 6th from 4-8 pm in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Compassionate Care ALS, P.O. Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574. To share your thoughts, memories or prayers with her family, please visit her personal guestbook at