Barbara Ann Willoughby, known to all of us as “Bobbie,” departed her loving family on April 2, 2021. She will be missed.
Born in Hogansville, Georgia on September 6, 1934, she was the daughter of Homer and Cladye Smith, who were residents of Manchester, Georgia, where Homer worked for the railroad. Bobbie attended Manchester High School, lettering in Marching Band. She was first clarinet, beating the competition, which by all accounts was formidable.
After school, she spent much of her time at her Granddaddy’s store working along side him, her grandmother, and her favorite aunt and uncle, Margaret and Boots. She adored them all but Grandaddy was special. When not working in the store serving up his delicious barbecue, she could be found by his side plowing the fields behind his mule, George, which was Granddaddy’s first name.
Bobbie was an only child. Even so, she created a family for herself with a wealth of friends, and maintained those relationships throughout her life. With her colorful southern personality and a gift for telling stories of her childhood in Manchester and nearby Warm Springs, she entertained her confidants with tales of meeting President Roosevelt while out riding horses with Granddaddy and Cladye. She loved President Roosevelt. Later in life she often visited the shops of Warm Springs, which always included a trip to the “Little White House.” She would lunch at the “Bulloch House,” also, with family and friends. She was generous. We all got gifts. Everybody.
But there was more to Bobbie than her generosity. She had an adventurous spirit too. It was likely sparked by the countless hours she spent exploring the skies above Warm Springs, seated next to her mother, Cladye, her own personal pilot. Cladye defined adventure and Bobbie was always along for the ride. They were quite a pair.
Upon graduating high school, Bobbie was accepted to the University of Georgia, but she opted to work with her mother in Atlanta, where she met the love of her life, Dean—fresh out of the Navy—who was then working for Lockheed in Marietta, GA. Bobbie had her first child, Ginger, in Atlanta. In 1958, Bobbie and Dean moved to Titusville, Fl, where they had two more children—Terri and “Little” Dean. By all accounts, she was a loving mother and wife.
Titusville was an aerospace boom town in those days. Everyone was from somewhere else, and few people found themselves surrounded by extended family, so Bobbie was a bit overwhelmed. But she soon got in the swing of things, raising three children while her husband worked long hours launching rockets at the Cape. She found new friends, joined Central Baptist Church, then First Baptist Church, and became active in the community. Lots of folks knew Bobbie. She was a volunteer, too, for “Meals on Wheels.” She had a compassionate heart, sensing loneliness where it was most needed. And in recent years she became active in “Operation Christmas Child,” donating her time, buying gifts, doing the things that good folks do.
And finally, she took great delight in all of her grandchildren, which goes without saying, except we’re saying it. “Grammy” was her nom de plume to some, and “Gramma” to others.
She loved them all dearly.
Bobbie is survived by her three children—Dean Willoughby and his wife, Imelda of Huntersville, NC., Terri Bullard and her Husband, Dr. Tim Bullard of Orlando, and Ginger Wilson of Titusville, and of course her grandchildren—Christopher Wilson and Kristen Wilson of Titusville, Matthew Bullard of Orlando, Mackenzie Bullard of Boston, MA, Olivia Bullard of Orlando, and D.J. Willoughby of Huntersville, NC, and her loving nephew, Kenneth C. Willoughby of Richmond, VA.
Bobbie will be forever in our hearts.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bobbie's memory to Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child.
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