Worked at MacKenzie Nursing Home

Published in the January 29, 2016 edition

Jean-Barnes-obit-webDANVERS — Jean F. (Collins) “Gumby” Barnes, a resident of Danvers and formerly of Saugus, passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Hathorne Hill Nursing Center in Danvers, at age 81.

Jean was born on Jan. 29, 1934 and was one of two children of the late John F. and Helen J. (Devine) Collins. Born and raised in Melrose, Jean graduated from Melrose High School and settled in Melrose to raise two children. After her children had grown, she returned to the workforce as a nurse’s aid at MacKenzie Nursing Home in Melrose. Her work with the elderly brought her much satisfaction and joy.

Jean was a free spirit who found a way to have fun in everything she did. She always loved the color green, so as a grandmother, she gave herself the nickname of “Gumby.” At a moment’s notice, she would put on a silly hat, scarf or full costume just to make people laugh. She was known to whistle or sing while she worked and loved music and dancing. She loved spending time with children, being outside, gardening and took at least one walk every day. She stayed young at heart for most of her life, by remembering to smile, laugh and have fun.

In retirement, she and Richard “Pop” found their happiness grow together at Yankeeland Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine. It was a special place for the two of them and the feeling extended into each of their families as they each brought their children and grandchildren to visit. For Gumby and Pop, Yankeeland meant being together while enjoying the outdoors and enjoying the company of friends, family and neighbors. Yankeeland was like taking a step back in time with daily walks, bike rides and beach days followed by socializing around the campfire or catching fireflies at night. The feeling of a day outside near the ocean and the joy of being with family and longtime friends meant so much to Jean.

Above all else, Gumby loved being with her family. She loved celebrating the holidays, big get togethers and family cookouts. She will be lovingly remembered by her family and longtime friends.

Jean was the beloved wife of the late Richard E. Barnes, with whom she shared 36 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Christine M. Zinna and her husband Peter of Ipswich and John M. Higgins of Somerville. She was the caring step-mother of Laura Eddy of Saugus and Daniel Barnes and his wife Bonnie of Saugus. She was the dear sister of the late Robert F. Collins. She was the cherished grandmother of Adam R. Drew of North Carolina, Diana M. Sheahan of North Carolina, Katrina Eddy of Saugus, Danielle Barnes of Saugus, Samantha Barnes of Saugus, Alexandra Barnes of Saugus and Ricky Barnes of Saugus.

Relatives and friends will gather in honor of Jean during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Friday, Jan. 29 from 12-1 p.m., followed by her Life Celebration at 1 p.m. For directions or online tribute visit