EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 16, 2013

Atkinson selectman loses cancer battle

By Alex Lippa

---- — ATKINSON — After a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, Selectmen Chairman Todd Barbera died on Friday. He was 45.

Barbera was elected in 2012 and was named chairman earlier this year. He also served on the budget and technology committees.

“He was just a great guy,” Town Administrator Bill Innes said. “He was always there if we needed anything. He was committed to his family and his town.”

Innes said Barbera was active with the town right up until his death.

“He was making calls on town issues up to a couple days before he passed,” he said. “He was always there to come up with good ideas.”

Barbera also served on the Membership Committee for the Atkinson Lions Club.

“Todd gave his all to Atkinson,” Selectman William Baldwin said. “He was a great friend and a great selectman. He was someone I could have confidence in and was a great mentor to me as a new selectman.”

Barbera worked as a systems administrator for SBLI in Woburn for eight years. He previously worked for WGBH and John Hancock Life Insurance.

“He was very intelligent and he listened to all suggestions,” Baldwin said. “He was someone I could trust to make the right decisions.”

Barbera is survived by his wife of 13 years, Leslie.

“She is a dedicated volunteer to the town,” Innes said. “She is a wonderful lady who supported him very well. We appreciate what she has gone through and what she has done for the town.”

Innes said selectmen will begin looking for Barbera’s replacement in the next week.

“Selectmen will accept resumes and letters of interest for an interim position,” he said. “We will review them and come up with a short list of candidates who we will interview.”

The interim selectman would fill Barbera’s seat until March, when voters will elect someone to complete the final year of Barbera’s three-year term.

Innes said there is no timeline to choose an interim selectman.

“We will take our time and make sure we have the right person in place,” he said.

Barbera’s funeral is at 10:30 a.m. at Atkinson Congregational Church. Burial will follow in Atkinson Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1310, Boston, MA 02114.