Barbara M. Carlin

Obituary for Barbara M. Carlin

December 10, 1929 - April 9, 2018
Aurora, Illinois | Age 88


Barbara M. "Frietchie" Carlin, 88, of Harvey, IL, and recently of Aurora, passed away Monday, April 9, 2018. She was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, to Robert and Barbara Kidd on December 10, 1929.

Barbara married James Orr Carlin in 1950. With two toddler daughters in tow, in January 1954 they sailed for the United States and entered through Ellis Island. They settled in Harvey as part of the large Scottish community in Chicago's South Suburbs and became proud U.S. citizens in 1969. They raised five children, who were immersed in music and athletic activities at Thornton Township High School, the Carlin home becoming a satellite campus, whether as a gathering place for the children's friends or the site of impromptu rehearsals.

A week following the family's 1975 trip "back hame" to Scotland, the first since they had left, Jimmy suffered a stroke and died. Barbara began her recovery by working in the school's cafeteria. What started as a temporary activity in 1978 lasted through 2012 when Barbara retired at age 83. For important school or district functions, Barbara arranged attractive and appetizing luncheon trays. But mostly she ran her cafeteria lunch line with a firm hand, shaping student behavior in the same way a strict coach might, living up to the family nickname her husband's uncle had given her after the feisty Barbara Frietchie—the legendary Union woman who in her nineties defended her flag against the Confederates.

Barbara became Thornton's #1 Fan, braving sunburn at football games and track meets and cold, snowy evenings on basketball nights to don her purple sweats and root for the home team. Although she didn't drive, she found ways to attend away games or the IHSA finals in Champaign and Peoria. Her friendships with star athletes led "Miss Barbara," as many students called her, to attend the banquet honoring the eight Thornton grads playing in the National Football League. Her brushes with celebrity even made her known to Harvey natives Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Days of Our Lives) and comic Tom Dreesen.

In 1976 Barbara joined the Booster Club and eventually hosted the Lou Boudreau Room. For decades on basketball game nights, referees, coaches, and other adults enjoyed her donated homebaked Scottish shortbread, brownies, and Rocky Road bars. After halftime she would find her seat in the bleachers. Woe unto those same referees if they failed to blow their whistles when a Wildcat was fouled while shooting! Because of Barbara's dedication to the sports teams, Bill Mosel, head football coach, arranged an interview of her during the Comcast coverage of the April 2011 McLegends basketball all-star game from Thornton's gym. In 2014, she was honored with membership in the Thornton Hall of Fame, the first who was neither a graduate nor a faculty member. For over 30 years at the school, Barbara Carlin modeled the importance of hard work, loyalty, generosity, and respect for others. When students passed through her lunch line, they picked up much more than an order of fries!

Barbara is survived by her children: Barbara Mitcheltree of Aurora; Ina (James) Heup of Aurora; James Craig Carlin of Green Bay, WI; Robert (Chantal) Carlin of Tinley Park; and Jean Carlin (John Sieben) of Long Beach, CA. She leaves behind cherished grandchildren Tiffany (David) Gibson of Brownsville, TX; Sean Carlin of Alsip; Kyle Powers of Aliso Viejo, CA; and Alyssa Powers of Rolling Meadows. She is also survived by brothers John (Nan) Kidd and Robert (Vera) Kidd and sister Elsie (Arthur) Arnott of Scotland, and her extended family includes many nephews and nieces and their children as well as Barbara LaValley Gilder of Alsip and Craig Powers of Rolling Meadows. Thanks as well to others she considered family including Barbara's wonderful neighbors, the caring staff of Alden Gardens of Waterford, Aurora and Family Home and Health Hospice of Addison.

Along with her husband and parents, Barbara was preceded in death by her sister Jean (Donald) McKeggan and brother George (Sadie) Kidd.

Visitation will be held Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 10 a.m. until the service hour of 12 noon at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL 60506. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund or to the New England Congregational Church Music Fund.

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to New England Congregational Church Music Fund.
  • New England Congregational Church
    406 W. Galena Blvd.
    Aurora, IL 60506

Arrangements By

Healy Chapel

332 W Downer Pl
Aurora, IL 60506
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