Barbara Dimick

January 24, 1945 - September 19, 2022


Obituary For Barbara Dimick

Madison - Barbara Lee (Lord) Dimick died September 19, 2022, after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Barb was born January 24, 1945 on the north side of Chicago to Betsy (Bishop) and Jack Lord. She was joined by her sister Jackie in 1948, and the family moved to North Prairie, Wisconsin soon after. Following in the footsteps of her talented parents, Barb took dance and piano lessons, played saxophone, and enjoyed playing golf.

Barb graduated from Mukwonago High School in 1963. She was salutatorian, editor of the school paper, on both prom and homecoming courts, and was part of a 1962 state champion forensics team. Barb continued her education at the UW-Madison, where she completed her degree in English. She met and married John Dimick in 1968, and had her first child, Marcus, in 1970. The family settled in Madison and Sarah was born in 1974. While raising her young kids, Barb worked part time at a local library. She eventually enrolled in a graduate program in library studies at the UW-Madison, graduating with her Master’s Degree in 1979. Barb began her long career with Madison Public Libraries in 1979. She worked at the Lakeview Branch, then at the Central Library as a Children’s Services Librarian, eventually becoming the supervisor of Children’s Services. Barb was hired as Director of Madison Public Libraries in 1995. While director, Barb oversaw the construction and expansion of several branches, and ultimately, the expansion and remodel of the Central Library before her retirement in 2012. Throughout her career, Barb was passionate about making sure all community members had access to books and resources. She believed in sharing knowledge and the love of reading with all. Although Barb gave up golf while her children were young, after her divorce from John and establishing her career, she picked up her clubs again. She started playing Madison’s city courses, and then joined Cherokee Country Club in 1986. Not only was she able to rekindle her love of golf, she met her partner for the next 30 years, Bill Cunningham. Barb and Bill married July, 1992 and her family expanded to include Joan, Christopher, and Matt. Barb’s accomplishments on the golf course were many, including club champion, two holes-in-one, and placing in city and state tournaments. Barb and Bill won the Husband-Wife state tournament a couple of times, and enjoyed golfing trips to Ireland, Mexico, and Punta Cana. The biggest reward from her golf career, however, were the many friendships she cultivated, and creating a life with Bill, who has been her biggest supporter and caretaker for the last 10 years. Barb will be remembered as a woman who loved to read and do the crossword puzzle, work in her garden, walk the golf course or her neighborhood, listen to classical music, and cheer for her beloved Badger teams. She will be missed for her quick wit, her love and dedication for her children and grandchildren, her independent nature, and her extra strong hugs.

Barb was preceded in death by her father, Jack Lord, in 1970, and her mother, Betsy Lord, in 2013. She is survived by her husband Bill Cunningham; her children, Marcus Dimick, Sarah (Steve) Dimick, Joan (Dan) McNeil, and Christopher and Matthew Cunningham; her grandchildren; AJ (Mike), Alexis (Jake), Alex, Justin, Gracie and Caleb; her sister, Jackie (Alan), and nieces and nephews.

A visitation for Barb will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2022, at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 N. Sherman Avenue, Madison.

The family would like to thank the staff at Azura Memory Care in Stoughton for their love and care over the years. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Madison Public Library Foundation in Barb’s name to honor her work and dedication.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:


29 Sep


11:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Ryan Funeral Homes - Madison North East 2418 N. Sherman Avenue Madison, WI 53704 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 10/05/2022

    Dear Family, Barb, John and the kids were neighbors on Texas Trail in Madison over 40 years ago. I was having babies then and Barb was so supportive and helpful in helping me learn how to be a good mom and yet retain my own self while dedicating my time to my kids. She took my oldest, Jessie, in the middle of the night when I was birthing my second, Kerry. Jessie still vividly remembers waking up to Barb being in her space, and trying to figure out why she was not at home where she'd gone to bed. She could not have been a better friend. Our kids and now their kids owe their love of books to our resident Children's Librarian, Barb. We have thought of her so fondly over the years even though we lost touch, and now remember all those stories all over again. Please accept my most sincere condolences for the loss of your wife, mother, grandmother. She will be remembered because she was so memorable. Jeanne Ferguson, MSSW; Oregon, WI.

  • 09/26/2022

    Bill & Family. Sending deepest sympathies for you loss. We remember Barb's beautiful smile and and feel privileged to have know her.

  • 09/23/2022

    Bill, So very sorry to hear about Barb. I am glad you had 20 good years together. Makes me think of your loss of Stretch. Life aint fair is it. But I am sure you have a lot of great memories of both of them to help comfort you. Sincerly, Ed Garvoille.

  • 09/22/2022

    Barb was such a great advocate for youth! She helped me connect dozens of youth from the Urban League of Greater Madison's Project REACH program into summer internships. I really enjoyed working with her. My thoughts are with her friends and family.

  • 09/22/2022

    While working at the South Central Library System, I was fortunate to know Barb while she worked at the Madison Public Library and to see her advance there. She was such a joy! Shirley May Byrnes

  • 09/22/2022

    My deepest sympathy to Barb's family. I worked in City of Madison Building Inspection and Engineering Divisions, and we did many library remodeling projects together. I'll miss her kind heart and wonderful smile! Jeanine Zwart

  • 09/22/2022

    Time spent with Aunt Barb was always filled with laughter. Betsy stories from their childhood are some of my favorites. But her biggest and best legacy for me lives on through my love of books. Forever grateful for her influence in my life.

  • 09/22/2022

    Barb will always be, for me, synonymous with the Madison Public Library and I know how greatly she will be missed in the library community. -BAS

  • 09/21/2022

    Bill and family- we are saddened to hear of Barbs passing. Please accept our deepest sympathies. Barb always greeted us with her beautiful smile and great sense of humor. She will be sorely missed by all.

  • 09/21/2022

  • 09/21/2022

    I'll always remember the fun times I had playing golf with Barb. She was a great gal and will be missed by all. Nancy Beecher


  • Sweet Tranquility Basket

    Sweet Tranquility Basket was sent for Barbara Dimick - September 23, 2022

  • 25 TREES

    Madison Public Library Staff Association and Management Tea planted 25 trees in memory of Barbara Dimick . - September 28, 2022

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Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

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