Being able to host an event with confidence and aplomb is a great talent. Barbara Lovell was one gifted with that capacity. She knew how to prepare every aspect of a gathering, but more importantly, she knew how to make all the attendees know that they were welcome. It all came off quite naturally for Barbara.
She was a native of Upland, West Virginia, which, despite its name, is located at the bottom of the state. After finishing her schooling and college, she moved to Washington, where she began a long career in the federal government. Along the way, she met Hugh Lovell, and in 1959 they committed matrimony, a union that would last almost 65 years. After they both retired from government service, they moved to Irvington, where they could engage in a wide circle of activities.
Barbara was a loyal Republican, and enjoyed working on political campaigns, which she did with great enthusiasm. She thrived on door-to-door campaigning, working at the polls, and passing out literature. She was tireless as a volunteer, giving of her time and treasure to candidates she hoped would advance the core values that had molded her life. She was a staunch defender of the United States Constitution, especially the First Amendment.
When not politicking, Barbara could be counted upon as a steadfast volunteer in service to animal welfare. She particularly liked cats, and she sought to find welcoming homes for strays. Truly, one can say that Barbara never met a cat that she did not like. I could relate to that sentiment, as I never met a goose I did not like, Gladys included, but I tend to be more of a dog person.
Music was another highlight in Barbara’s life. She was a constant presence at the concerts of The Northern Neck Orchestra, accepting reservations and selling tickets. She greeted virtually everyone who came to a concert, before going in to enjoy the music with Hugh.
Barbara and Hugh kept in shape with their regular golf games and their yard always has been awash with beautiful flowers. Barbara particularly was a flower person as well as being a cat person. She had a fine eye for color in all that she did, be it with plants or clothes. She was in vogue in every aspect of her life. When she hosted a reception, she remembered individuals’ food likes and dislikes, allergies and favorites, and saw that something was present for everybody.
Perhaps the most significant of all of Barbara and Hugh’s activities was their support over many years for The Virginia Home in Richmond. Barbara’s brother, Tommy, was a resident at the home for nearly three decades. The home is a charitable organization that cares for individuals with special needs at no cost to the ones being served.
Long after her brother’s passing, the Lovells worked raising funds for the Home, promoting knowledge of its activity, and working to see to the admission of qualified candidates. They attended every fundraiser in Richmond, through which they came to know celebrities who generously added their own luster to the festivities.
Barbara served on the board of the Home during which time she secured the admission of a local lady who treasured the experience of spending her last months there. Rarely did one speak with either Barbara or Hugh without hearing something about the Home.
Despite her own serious health concerns, in all the many activities that Barbara pursued she would say that she wanted to wear out, rather than to rust out. She made lasting impressions on our community and beyond, never seeking any recognition or reward other than the satisfaction of knowing that she had done her best. Throughout the course of her life, she brought brightness and cheer to everyone she encountered.
Barbara Ann Mosko Lovell, November 15, 1939 – November 13, 2023. R.I.P.