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Caraccio, Barbara

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Barbara Ghene Caraccio
February 13, 1931 - June 21, 2017

Barbara Caraccio, having exchanged final words of love with her husband, eight children, family and friends, crossed over to the eternal at dawn on June 21, 2017. Aged 86, she completed her journey on this earth at the family’s home in North Tustin, California.

Barbara was born on February 13, 1931 in Ontario, California to parents William and Florence Hartman. One of four daughters, Barbara grew up on a farm, which provided a consistent source of food during the Great Depression. Barbara’s lifelong commitment to serving the less fortunate began in her early childhood, when her family routinely provided meals to people in need that came to their home. There was always work on the family farm in exchange for a hot meal, and Barbara learned from her compassionate parents that all people deserve a chance.

Barbara was always known and respected for her brilliant mind. Given that her sisters, June and Bette, were several years older, and her younger sister JoAnn was seven years younger, the lack of siblings in her same age range enhanced Barbara’s opportunity to devote her free time to reading and studying. She graduated with highest honors from Chafee High School in 1949. Barbara pursued her Microbiology studies with zeal, earning her Bachelors degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles in 1953, and thereafter her Masters from University of Southern California. As a post-graduate, Barbara spent years teaching college Microbiology courses at both the Mount and USC.

The Catholic Church was always a big part of Barbara’s life and, at a Catholic Alumni Club dance in 1956, she met her beloved husband-to-be Leonard William Caraccio. Barbara and Len were married in 1957 and had their first son, Leonard William Jr. (“Bill”), a year later. The happy couple went on to have seven more children, including Mark Joseph, Laura Ghene, James Thomas, Terese Marie, John Edward, Paul Matthew and Lisa Florene. First moving to Orange County in 1962, they raised their eight kids to adulthood in the family home that they continue to occupy in North Tustin. All eight kids attended St. Cecilia School.

Family, friends, volunteer work and her commitment to social justice were Barbara’s lifelong passion and delight. Besides her intelligence, what impressed us most about Barbara was her selfless demeanor, her tireless energy and her generous, caring and communal spirit. Amid child rearing and homemaking, she devoted countless hours throughout the community focusing on vulnerable populations of people including the homeless, the sick, the incarcerated, and pregnant teens, even becoming a paralegal to enhance her advocacy skills. Barbara also devoted many years to women’s and various other ministries at St. Cecilia’s Church, and was most fulfilled when bringing the Eucharist to the sick every Sunday.

An avid snow skier, Barbara also greatly enjoyed travel, bowling, bridge clubs and hosting family get-togethers.

Barbara is survived by her husband Len, age 90, all eight of their children, and 13 grandchildren. Together with her three sisters, a total of 27 children entered the world, and the Hartman legacy continues to grow into the hundreds. Barbara was predeceased by her sister June in 1978, and the family is comforted knowing that she now is reunited in heaven with her beloved parents, sister and a host of relatives and friends who have made the journey before her.

Barbara’s final experience in this life, as she crossed over into the next, was the warm touch of her husband Len’s lips kissing her farewell. That her crossing occurred at dawn on June 21 -- the summer solstice and longest day of the year – is another reminder of the light she brought into the lives of so many who knew and loved her.

Memorial Services will all be held at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, located at 1301 Sycamore Avenue, Tustin, CA 92780: Visitation is Monday, June 26 at 5 PM, followed by a Rosary at 7 PM. Funeral Mass is Tuesday, June 27 at 11 AM, followed by Interment at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange, CA and a reception. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Orange County Catholic Worker in Santa Ana, CA (


Mortuary: Brown Colonial Mortuary

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