Family, Friends Mourn Loss Of Flanders Crash Victim

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Barbara Tocci was a kindhearted woman who always went the extra mile to help others, friends and family said this week.

The 47-year-old Hampton Bays resident, whom family affectionately referred to as “Barbara Doll,” was killed last Thursday morning, January 16, when a utility truck struck her vehicle in a head-on collision on Flanders Road at around 8 a.m., near the intersection with Spinney Road in Flanders.

Southampton Town Police said they were investigating the cause of the crash, including whether the surface of the road—and the numerous potholes—played a role.

“Barbara was one in a million,” her brother, Paul Tocci, said on Tuesday. “She was the type who touched everybody.”

He said he and his family were comforted by the crowds who came to the funeral services held for his sister earlier this week at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. “They were lined up down the block,” Mr. Tocci recalled. “She touched every one of their hearts.”

Ms. Tocci grew up in Flanders and graduated from Riverhead High School. She worked for SCTIC Inc, a title insurance company in Riverhead, for close to 30 years, her sister, Tammy Tocci, said, adding that she was a very dedicated worker.

Barbara Tocci was on the way to work last Thursday when the crash occurred, Mr. Tocci said. He explained that her co-workers worried when she didn’t arrive on time. “She was never late to work,” he said.

She came from a family of seven siblings, and left behind her two sons, Anthony Podlas and Thomas Podlas, both of whom live in California. Ms. Tocci also had three grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, family said.

She and her partner of many years, Kent Brace, often traveled upstate and loved to spend time outside riding quads, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking. “There is nothing that she wouldn’t do,” Mr. Tocci said. “She was the type of person that could do everything and she did it.”

He added that Mr. Brace, whom Mr. Tocci described as his sister’s “right arm,” was devastated at the loss. “They did absolutely everything together,” Mr. Tocci said.

He noted that his sister was a very caring person, and took the time out of her day to do little things for others, including calling the East End radio station WLNG to ask that they announce her family members’ birthdays.

“Real big loss,” Mr. Tocci said. “She’ll really be missed.”

In addition to her two sons and grandchildren, Ms. Tocci is survived by her parents, Phil and Hope Tocci of Flanders, and her six siblings, Paul Tocci, Philip Tocci Jr., Susan Tocci, Scott Tocci and Tammy Tocci, all of Flanders, and Nancy Tocci of New Hampshire.

Visitation was held on Sunday, January 19, at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A funeral service followed at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 20, at the funeral home, with burial afterward at the Flanders Cemetery.

The family asks that donations in Ms. Tocci’s name be made to Camp Good Grief at East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY, 11978.

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