Dorothy Lippman Barry


Dorothy Lippman Barry died November 25, 2020, after a full and long life, at age 102. She was born in Providence, and with the exception of college and the years of World War II (and a brief sojourn to East Providence), she lived her entire life there and will be sadly missed by those who knew her.

After attending Classical for all but her last semester of high school, because of romantic complications she transferred to and graduated from Hope and then graduated from Simmons College in Boston in 1940. In that last high school semester, on a blind date she met her future husband Fred Barry, then a Brown student. They remained together until Fred’s death in 1996.

Quiet and short– she claimed five feet tall but was probably less–  her moral clarity and intelligence gave her a presence and strength despite her height. She was never one to start an argument, yet she stood up for herself and others and was always ferociously independent, yet there was nothing rigid about her; rather, she always exhibited a sense of irony, a sense of humor, and a sense of playfulness. She had fun. She smiled often. She spent most of her professional career as a case worker for the state of Rhode Island and then as a supervisor of case workers, and she co-founded the union representing social workers, which was organized in a series of meetings in her East Side home.

After retirement in 1983, she volunteered frequently, spending most of her time as a counselor at Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, as well as for numerous political campaigns. A member of or involved with the National Council of Jewish Women, Temple Emanuel, the Miriam Hospital Women’s Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Society, the Simmons Club of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island School of Design, she was determined to make herself of use as she had all her life.

She succeeded in that determination always with good humor, as indicated by the fact that many of her friends were younger than her children; they not only liked and respected her but valued her advice. Her hobbies were bridge and knitting. Even after she turned 100, she made regular trips to her bridge club to play, and over the years many members of her extended family and friends proudly wore sweaters and scarfs she made. To the end she was a daily reader of the (hard copy) Providence Journal, politically active, and greatly relieved by the 2020 election, which she took great care to vote in. To the end she remembered and valued her friendships with lifelong friends who have passed away. To the end she relished happy hours with new friends.

She loved her father and missed her mother, who died when she was young, but found great pleasure in and gave great pleasure to her sisters Alice, Frieda, and Ethel and her brother Bill. Alice and she were inseparable even when they weren’t playing bridge. She loved and was loved by her sons and daughters-in-law Phil and Bobbie Barry (with whom she shared an introvert side that she didn’t show to a lot of people) and John Barry and Anne Hudgins Sullivan (with whom she shared her extrovert side and an affinity for a particular kind of pillow). She had a very special relationship with her grandson Eric and great-grandson Louis, and she was as close as a mother to her niece and nephew Judy and David Ullman, and much like a sister to her niece and frequent bridge partner Joyce Tesler.

She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Phil and Bobbie in Evanston, Ill,. and John and Anne in New Orleans, and her brother Bill Lippman in Los Angeles.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, 345 Whitney Ave., New Haven, CT 06511 or RI Community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Ave., Providence, RI 02907.

A memorial service will be held via Zoom on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.



  1. Ida Guny Millman
    Nov 29, 2020

    Now there’s no-one with whom to share old old memories of Sundays in Grandma Guny’s house or at her Pesach table set with gorgeous china, a place only a few of the next generation knew. First cousins from birth, we became friends as adult women and shared laughter and tears. The tears I have for her, are lonely. Love&Blessing&Laughter

    • Maurisa Goldberg (aka Risy Berry)
      Nov 30, 2020

      Sending my sympathy from RI.
      Phillip, I saw you last year at Ruth Kahn’s funeral with Dorothy. We had a lovely conversation. In case you forgot my relationship ; I am the daughter of Joslin and Phyllis Berry. I remember your parents visiting and walking with my parents on Freeman Pkwy and Everett Ave. My aunt Ruth Stillman was , also , close with them and when my aunt Ruth Stillman passed away, Dottie was inclusive of Michael Stillman.
      I was listening to the memorial service while multi tasking a work meeting so missed hearing your cherished memories. If possible, would you send me a recording? Again, sending my condolences.
      Maurisa Berry Goldberg

    Nov 29, 2020

    Phil, John, It has been a long time. This was shared with me at a time of loss and I share it forward. Be safe, well, and careful.


    Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way, which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, and pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is an absolute unbroken continuity. What is Death but a negligent accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well .
    Written by Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford

  3. John Baxter
    Nov 29, 2020

    I worked with Dot Barry in 1971-1972 at the Providence welfare office on Fountain Street. She and I were in the same unit for part of that time. I really liked her and enjoyed working with her.
    I also knew her sister Alice Sutton, who was my first supervisor when I started there. She taught me a lot.
    My condolences to the Barry family.
    John Baxter
    Cranston RI

  4. Gloria Manna
    Nov 29, 2020

    Dorothy was always a pleasure to see at the bridge table. She was always pleasant and cheerful. I am glad that we spent some time outside of bridge visiting with friends who retired from bridge before Dorothy did and the two of us dining at Twin Oaks after the visits. Dorothy loved the “hot lobster sandwich”. I did get to see her for a while at the bridge table and at her apartment after she moved from the Regency. We agreed on politics and Planned Parenthood. I remember she loved her Hershey’s chocolate bars and her apartment at the Regency.
    Dorothy was an asset to the bridge community and will be missed.

  5. Lou and Megan DiOrio
    Nov 30, 2020

    Lou and I enjoyed Dottie’s company over the years at the bridge table.

    She was such an interesting person and so youthful.

    Lou and Megan DiOrio

  6. Stephen Cicilline
    Nov 30, 2020

    I was fortunate to be a social worker with this wonderful knowledgeable lady as we started our social worker careers in 1963. She, Frank DePetrillo and I would meet with our common supervisor and her participation, insight and compassion were always evident with a little humor.
    We were fortunate to gather socially and met her husband, Fred with whom they enjoyed one another’s company and love.
    She will be sorely missed but she left her mark on those who were fortunate enough to know her.

  7. Michael jilling
    Nov 30, 2020

    Dotty was always a joy to be around and will certainly be missed.

    I will always remember one trip we had to Greggs in a major snowstorm to celebrate her birthday. This was after several cancelations due to non stop snowstorms and the decision was made to just go for it. I have to admit I doubted that decision when I got to providence and saw no other cars on the road but it all worked out and She referred to it as “just a couple wild and crazy kids off to get some chocolate cake”. we laughed about it for years.

    I’m thankful I ran into her while out to dinner in Providence a year or so ago. She was very proud of her family and rightfully so…you all brought so much joy into her life. She will be missed dearly but not forgotten

  8. Jim and Jill Tobak
    Nov 30, 2020

    At 14 my mother Florence Werner and Dottie Lippman became great friends: they remained great friends through high schools, my mother in Newport, Dottie in the big City Providence and college (Simmons) where they celebrated good grades by sharing ice cream sundaes at Baily’s and consoled one another over boyfriend problems-yup, with Baily’s ice cream sundaes. Constancy being a virtue, as was their friendship. Marriages, Dottie to Fred, my mother to Leo Tobak, children, Phil and John, and for Florence Tobak, Helen and Jim-Jimmy in Newport; the death of Leo in 1946; my mother’s marriage to Ed Goldberg and the birth of Anne; Third Beach, always the Beach; holidays together; so many joys, too many sorrows, but always, always, their friendship, itself a source of joy and strength as well as great consolation when needed. I know that my mother’s death in 1989 at 70 was difficult for Dottie as was the loss of so many other dear friends and of course Fred in 1996. Nonetheless, Dottie’s indomnitable spirit, fortified by her keen intellect, unwavering curiosity, new found friendships ( a sign of her resilience), and wonderful memories allowed her to maintain her style and dignity to the very, well-lived, end. Bravo Dottie you set a very high bar for all of us; we love you, you will be
    sorely missed.

    To Phil and John Bobbie, Anne, Eric, and Louis we are sorry for your loss and yet know that you have wonderful, enduring memories and a great deal to be proud of and thankful for.

  9. Wendy Lippman
    Nov 30, 2020

    Phil, John, Bobbie, Eric,
    Oh my goodness! I just learned of the news about Dorothy. I am so terribly sorry for your loss but what a wonderful and full life she experienced. I feel so lucky that I was able to meet and spend some time with her through the years.
    You are all in our thoughts.
    Wendy Lippman and Max Bacon

  10. Ruth F. CurleyLefebvre
    Nov 30, 2020

    Mrs. Barry (she will always be “Mrs. Barry” to me) was my supervisor at 111 Fountain St. I was one of her first charges when she was promoted to that position.

    Over time she became so much more than my supervisor. She was a mentor to me, and became a true friend in the deepest sense of the word. I think of her fondly to this day.

    She spoke often of her sons, and it was easy to see how proud she was of them. She especially delighted in talking about her beloved grandson, “Eric the Great”.

    My deepest sympathies to her family.

  11. Timothy Brennan
    Dec 1, 2020

    Dear John, Phil, Anne, Bobbie, Eric, Louis
    I am sorry for your pain. Dorothy was a bright light to Fredda and Ivan and me during our visits to Rhode Island. We couldn’t join her at bridge (which Archie and Phyllis also regretted) but could for coffee or dinner and conversation and always enjoyed her company.
    Lots of love,
    Tim Brennan

  12. Cynthia Millman
    Dec 2, 2020

    Hello John, Phil, Anne, Bobbie, Eric, and Louis,

    I haven’t seen my mom’s (Ida Millman) cousin Dorothy for many years, but I have really fond memories of visiting her as a kid in Providence, where we lived nearby. My parents took us around to visit relatives on a fairly regular basis, and even as a child I was pleased when I realized we were going to see cousin Dorothy. She was always so pleasant to all of us, and paid attention to us kids too. I remember her through a mixture of child and adult perceptions as a really classy, elegant-yet-earthy lady. Even as a kid, I responded to her warmth and I was always interested to listen ot her talk with my parents. I haven’t been back to Providence in about twenty-five years except for one busy afternoon, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to see Dorothy more recently. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it. Sending condolences to all of you, and wishes that you enjoy happy memories of this lovely person.

  13. Peter Millman
    Dec 5, 2020

    Philip and John,

    I was sorry to hear about your mother’s death. Though I didn’t see her often, I remember her as a smart, cheerful, funny woman who I always enjoyed seeing and seemed to enjoy seeing me. I’m sad not to have known her better and to know that those days in Providence are now gone.

    With love, Peter

  14. Susan Zalkind
    Dec 10, 2020

    Dottie and our Mom, Sylvia Zalkind, grew up in Providence together, both went to Simmons around the same time, lived at the Regency Apartments and shared their interest in bridge. In their late 90’s, especially after Dottie’s moving to Wingate, we would take Dottie and my mother out for lunch or coffee when we came to visit from out of town. It was during these times that we all fell in love with Dottie. It was a delight and comfort to be with her. There was an impeccability of character and kindness, drizzled with a light hearted humor, that always left us enchanted and wanting more.
    Dottie loved and was so proud of her family.
    It was an honor to know her. We miss you already Dear Dottie!
    With Love, Susan Zalkind, Bat-Sheva Drori, and Debbie Zalkind-Semine

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