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Julia Anne (Tomey) Bibb

October 7, 1930 ~ February 21, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Julia Bibb Tribute

OXFORD - Julia Anne Bibb, a retired registered nurse who was an expert Lebanese cook and gardener, died Feb. 21st at her home in Oxford Greens.

She was 93.

The former Julia Anne Tomey was born on Oct. 7, 1930 as the youngest of eight children to her parents, William and Latifeh Tomey. 

The couple had entered into an arranged marriage under the auspices of the Maronite Church. They immigrated to this country in the early 1900s, from Moukhtara el Chouf, a small town in the mountains southeast of Beirut.

In America during the 1950s, there wasn't a wide range of opportunities available for young women like "Julie." 

So when her older brother Louis took her around to visit secretarial schools and nursing schools, one of their stops was at Waterbury Hospital.

There, Julie saw a nurse named Marie hanging out with her female colleagues, smoking cigarettes, and cussing.

"I could do that," she decided. And so began Julie's career of several decades as a private duty nurse at Waterbury Hospital. She also worked in the operating room and ran the hospital's gastroenterology ward. 

After her retirement, Julia worked for the state of Connecticut as a nursing home inspector.

At home, Julia was a no-nonsense Mom who raised four children and never put up with any fighting or bragging from her kids.

"Self-praise stinks," she often said.

Julie was a great cook renowned for her traditional Lebanese dinners, featuring raw or baked kibbee, tabouli made entirely of vegetables from her garden, and stuffed grape leaves, cabbage and squash known as kousa.

The squash had to be cored to an impossibly thin standard with a long ancient tool that belonged to Julie's mother. 

Julie was an expert baker of fruit pies known for her flaky crusts. Another specialty was her delicate crescent-shaped and sugar-coated Lebanese butter cookies known as Sambusik that were stuffed with walnuts, and scented with rose water.

Every year during the second week of June, Julie, often assisted by her daughter Lisa, went out hunting in the countryside for tender, medium-sized grape leaves that she could stuff with rice and ground lamb.

Throughout her long life, Julie, who was renowned for her green thumb, created gardens overflowing with mint, basil, and tomatoes, peach and apple trees, and all kinds of vegetables.

Julie had many qualities that amazed her children. She had a photographic memory, so that's why she got an A in any college class that she took. 

She was a voracious reader who frequented the Southbury Public Library, where she usually left with an armload of books. 

She loved courtroom dramas and historic fiction. At her peak, she would devour a book a day.

Julie was born with a calculator in her head. At her 93rd birthday party at the Brookside Inn last October, she insisted on paying back two of her sons who, much to her dismay, had grabbed the check. 

Without ever glancing at the menu, Julie wrote out two checks to her sons that when added together missed the exact total of the bill for a party of 20 by just $5.

Julie was a big fan of Coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn women's basketball team. If her children made the mistake of calling while the Huskies were playing, Julie would rush them off the phone by saying, "Not now, I'm watching the game."

In her final years, Julie battled cancer. She beat it the first time and got a clean bill of health. But then it came back.

Rather than check into a facility, the fiercely independent Julie decided to stay at home where she could continue to coddle and overfeed Leo, her long-haired orange and white cat.

At home battling cancer, Julie stubbornly fought any attempt to mitigate her suffering by hiring caretakers, or loading up on drugs, or finally, by allowing a hospital bed to invade her bedroom.

There were some bumps along the road, but during her final days she was faithfully cared for by Paul, her youngest son, his wife, Laura, and Julie's loyal niece, Kristine. 

After a few spats and turf battles, Julie wound up bonding with her nurses and home health aides who saw her through her final days. The team was led by Cindy Rosario, Christina Herrity, and Inesa Vavrenyuk.  

Julie was predeceased by her first husband, Ralph Cipriano, her second husband, James Bibb Jr., as well as six brothers and a sister.

For years, three of her late brothers, George, Louis and Joseph Tomey, ran the former Southbury Food Center.

Julie is survived by her sons Ralph, Glenn and Paul Cipriano, and her daughter, Lisa Henley.

She had ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, five nephews and three nieces.

A wake will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 2, 2024 in the daily chapel of Sacred Heart Church, 910 Main Street South in Southbury, CT, followed by an 11:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial in the church.  Burial will follow at New North Cemetery in Woodbury, CT.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Julie's memory to the Friends of the Southbury Public Library, 100 Poverty Road, Southbury, CT 06488.  For directions, or to leave a message of remembrance, please visit www.CarpinoCares.com.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Julia Anne (Tomey) Bibb, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Saturday
March 2, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Daily Chapel of Sacred Heart Church (Southbury)

Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday
March 2, 2024

11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Southbury)

Graveside Service
Saturday
March 2, 2024

12:30 PM
New North Cemetery
87 Washington Avenue
Woodbury, CT 06798

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