Barbara Ann (Lawless) Konopka, 91, passed peacefully with family at her side early Sunday morning, August 29, 2021 at the Buckley Health Care Center, following a period of declining health.
A native of Worcester, MA, she was born to Mary (Jenkins) and Walter Lawless, on August 11, 1930. Following her graduation from high school, she entered a one year Cosmetology Program and received a certificate as Licensed Beautician.
She met her future husband, Edward Konopka of Greenfield, MA, at a Grange Dance in Brattleboro, Vt., and it was there that Ed literally swept her off her feet at the age of 18 and their courtship ensued. Soon thereafter, they were wed on September 12, 1949 in St. Michael’s Church, in Brattleboro, Vt. They made their home in Greenfield, MA, where they were blessed with two beautiful daughters, Ann Marie and Nancy. Barbara operated a beauty shop in their home on Bernardston Road for over 30 years.
Barbara enjoyed music of all types, and played the piano and accordion. She was an accomplished seamstress, enjoyed reading, ten pin bowling, and watching television (in particular the former Jackie Gleason and I Love Lucy shows) and was a fan of harness racing and intrigued by space exploration.
Devoted parents, Ed and Barbara were staunch advocates for their oldest daughter Ann Marie, who was determined to be intellectually and developly challenged early in her childhood. Barbara was involved in the Alliance for Intellectually Disabled, having served as its President at one time. As a lifelong Catholic, her faith inspired her in the pursuit of fairness and compassionate care for her daughter Ann, as well as for others. She was a recipient of an award from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for her unwavering efforts on behalf all intellectually and developmentally challenged individuals.
Sadly, Barbara’s beloved husband predeceased her following nearly 55 years of marriage in July of 2004. She is remembered with love and affection by her daughters, Ann Marie Konopka of Greenfield, MA, and Nancy Penniman (John) of Peterborough, NH., as well two (2) grandchildren – William Talbot Penniman of Marblehead, MA and Phillip E. Penniman (Nicole) and their two children Rhett and Eleanor of Wilton, Ct., along with several nieces, nephews and cousins. Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her beloved husband and by her two siblings: Paul Lawless and Shirley Martin.
Private graveside service and burial, will take place in Calvary Cemetery, Greenfield, MA, where she will be reunited with her husband Ed, as well as her late father Walter. There are no visiting hours. Charitable donations in Barbara’s memory are encouraged to the Franklin County Community Meal’s Program (FCCMP) P.O. Box 172, Greenfield, MA 01302.
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