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News Story
Updated: 07/16/2014 08:00:06AM

Barbara E. O’Brien

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Barbara Elisabeth (Eva) O’Brien, 86, a professional harpist, passed away in her home in Venice, Fla., Monday, July 7, 2014.

The daughter of W. Allan and Ada (Hodges) Eva, she was predeceased by her parents, brother W. Allan (Bud) Eva Jr., sister Helen L. Histen and first husband, Mel Perry.

Barbara was born into a musical family and grew up in Milton, Mass., playing piano and trumpet and singing her way through the Great Depression. She entered Boston University in 1945 to study music education.

There she fell in love with the harp and with returning serviceman/consummate musician Mel Perry. They married in 1950 and settled in Plainville, Conn., where they raised three children and nurtured their community’s consciousness for music.

A music teacher for 17 years, Barbara was suddenly widowed when Mel died in 1976. To assuage her grief, she again took up the harp.

After relocating to the Sarasota, Fla., area in 1978, Barbara established a thriving second career as a harpist. For 30 years, she played for weddings, funerals and parties and in restaurants, enchanting many with her beauty, grace and musical artistry.

In 1992, Barb met the love of her life, Al Pierce, a jazz drummer. They especially loved big band music and frequented the Venice and Sarasota Senior Friendship Centers and local Jazz Club concerts.

Barbara’s musical legacy lives on in her children and grandchildren, to whom she has passed the mantle of music.

She leaves her loving partner, Al Pierce, of Venice; children, Marsha Perry Juday (husband Bob) of Bradenton, Fla., Steve Perry (wife Sharon Dennison) of W. Hartford, Conn., and Jane Elisabeth Perry (best friend Bob Flint) of Rockland, Maine; grandchildren, David Weigand, Elisabeth Deavers, Douglas Perry, Mia Perry, Shaun Donnelly and Morgan Donnelly; and great-grandchildren, Graham, Emily and Owen.

Services: Her Memorial Service (Op. 86) will be held Thursday, July 17, at 1 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 400 E. Field Ave., Venice, Fla.




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