Cherry Blossoms

Barbara Ann (Payne) Rockett, M.D.

April 13, 2021

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Barbara Ann (Payne) Rockett, M.D. of Brookline known as Mom, Nans, Nana, Barb, Dr. Rockett, and Dr. Barbara.  Barbara died peacefully on April 13, 2021 having lived life as she wanted and leaving her mark on all those who loved her. Beloved wife of 63 years to Francis X. Rockett, M.D.  Devoted mother of Francis X. Jr. and his wife Marianne of Hingham, Peter S. and his wife Amy of Needham, William E. and his wife Maureen Bernsee of Sherborn, Sean E. and his wife Ronda of Wellesley, Julie Rockett-Paulick and her husband Patrick Paulick of Charlestown.  Loving grandmother of F. Thomas, Paul, Julia, Morgan, Catherine, MaryBeth, Emilie, Connor, Declan, Brin, Shane, Casey, Bobbi, Ronan, and Emmett.

A vibrant woman, strong in her convictions, faith, and beliefs, Dr. Rockett worked tirelessly for her family, her patients, and her community.  She was the consummate patient’s advocate – she was truly always available to anyone in need.

She grew up in Newton and graduated valedictorian of her class at Mount Alvernia. She graduated from Wellesley College and Tufts University School of Medicine.  She was the first female surgical resident at Boston City Hospital and it was there that Dr. Barbara Payne met the love of her life, Dr. Francis X. Rockett – a love that gifted her with five beautiful children and a life filled with laughter, love, faith, and hard work.

Barbara was a champion equestrian.  She enjoyed enthusiastically cheering on her beloved Boston sports teams and her family members in sports.  She loved Brigham’s ice cream, traveling, Pepsi, wooden purses, wearing bright, beautiful colors and flowers, eating chocolate and anything “raspberry.”  But most of all, Barbara enjoyed spending time with her husband, children and, in her later years, with all her amazing grandchildren.

Within the house of medicine, she did it all – a skilled surgeon who operated alongside her husband for 50 years. She participated in organized medicine at the local, state, and national levels and dedicated herself to physicians and patients, whether performing house calls or speaking on the Senate floor, she was stellar in her abilities. 

Her membership in the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Medical Association spanned numerous decades.  She was an active member of the MMS for over 40 years and its first female president. During that time, Massachusetts was in the midst of a medical malpractice crisis and Barbara was our leader. She was so effective in her leadership that she was asked to stay on another term to continue the great work and was the first and only person in recent time to have served two terms. Dr. Rockett secured malpractice reforms that are still benefiting our colleagues today.

She chaired numerous committees including Legislation and Judicial, and was an active member in the Massachusetts Medical Benevolent Society and director of the MMS Charitable and Educational Fund.  An active member of Norfolk District Medical Society, she was President, delegate, and most recently the recipient of the Norfolk District Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Medical Student Section “Grant V. Rodkey” Award, Presidential Citation for Outstanding Leadership, Distinguished Service Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Norfolk District Medical Society’s Clinician of the Year Award.

Barbara did not limit herself to local advocacy, at the national level, Barbara was an American Medical Association member for 35+ years, Chair of the Council on Legislation, an active member of the House of Delegates and President of the AMA Foundation.

Other organizations that Barbara passionately supported included the Guild of St. Luke, the Dexter-Southfield School, Association of Women Surgeons, MA Interscholastic Athletic Association, American Society of General Surgeons, and Stonehill College.  She also worked for many years as school physician at Emmanuel College, Simmons College, and Mount Alvernia Academy. At her alma mater, Tufts University, she continued to be active as an Alumni Trustee Emerita and a faculty advisor.

Dr. Rockett was awarded numerous awards over her illustrious career, AMA Young Physicians’ “Young at Heart” Award, United Nations-USA Distinguished Service Award, St. Francis Medal of Peace & Achievement, Tufts University Distinguished Service Award.  

Dr. Rockett was particularly proud of the most recent award named in her honor, by the Young Physician Section of MMS, “The Barbara A. Rockett MD Early Career Physician Leadership Award, recognizing an early career physician who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in organized medicine, patient advocacy, and mentorship.”

Funeral from the Lehman Reen & McNamara Funeral Home on Tuesday April 20th at 10:30am.  Followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Ignatius Church 28 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill at 11:30am.  Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Livestream will be available through  Interment following Mass at Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain   Visiting Hours Monday April 19th from 4-8pm in the funeral home

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending memorial contributions to the Fund for Tufts Medicine Scholarship at Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA, 02111. Gifts can also be made online at

The family encourages everyone to wear pink, green or brightly colored attire to the services in honor of Dr. Barbara Rockett.

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April 19, 2021

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Lehman Reen McNamara Funeral Home
63 Chestnut Hill Ave
Brighton, Ma 02135

Mass of Christian Burial
April 20, 2021

11:30 AM
St. Ignatius Church
28 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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