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Barbara Diane Friedman Rakoover

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Barbara Diane Friedman Rakoover Obituary
Barbara Diane Friedman Rakoover died on Monday, June 10, 2013, after an extensive illness. She passed away in hospice care at her home in Fort Worth. Funeral: 11 a.m. Wednesday in the chapel of Temple Beth-El, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, 76109, Rabbi Ralph Mecklenberger officiating. Following committal prayers Barbie will be laid to rest next to her beloved, Burton, in Greenwood Memorial Park. Known to her friends and family as "Barbie," we remember her as a compassionate, private, yet wholly engaging woman who was a true and loving friend to so many. Barbie was an advocate for human and animal rights; she adored so many things and high among them was dogs, especially her own whippets and borzois; music of the cello and the piano; philosophy, the English novel, and poetry, above all other forms of literature; and, the visual arts, especially the art of Louise Nevelson, Frank Stella, Barbara Hepworth, Adolph Gottlieb and Richard Diebenkorn, whom she and her beloved late husband, Burt, collected. Self-described as a "Brooks Brothers radical" during her lifespan of 68 years Barbie was indeed a remarkable and rare combination of opposites, an outstanding student of life. Admired as one of the brightest people in the various circles she was a part of, her inherent curiosity about ideas, people and things meant that she was equally at home discussing the essential humanism of Simone Weil or George Steiner and the merits of a summertime Ferragamo bag. On a more serious note, her life was at times, and more frequent than not, conducted from the shores of her bedroom. Her perspective onto the world was garnered through daily conversations with her staff and friends, moreover through the bounteous revelations of ideas and informed opinions which she enjoyed in the American Scholar (which she had subscribed to for over 50 years); the New York Review of Books; the Harvard Review of Medicine; and the Yale Poetry Review. She was remarkably always up to date on the newest Pulitzer Prize or Booker Prize authors as well as advances in medicine, as general reading and according to the multitude of physical challenges with which she bore up under for so very many years. Barbie graduated from Paschal High School in 1962 and attended Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University, and TCU where she did graduate work in philosophy and in literature. In 1963 she married her lifelong sweetheart, Burton Lee Rakoover, in whose memory she dedicated the color and light-filled Burton Rakoover Chapel at Temple Beth El. Their philanthropic union provided beneficent support to the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art; to TCU's Brite School of Divinity, The Jack B. Friedman Judaica Library in Honor of Barbara Friedman Rakoover; the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Honor of Luanne McKinnon; the Jewish Family Service of Fort Worth and Tarrant County; the Menninger Clinic; and, working closely with her father, an endowment for the annual Mendel Friedman Conference on Yiddish Studies at Oxford University inaugurated in 1995 by keynote speaker, Elie Wiesel, among other notable causes. Barbara F. Rakoover was preceded in death by her parents, Helen Marie Silverstein Friedman and Jack B. Friedman; and her husband, Burton Lee Rakoover. The family and loved ones closest to her wish to thank those who have been devoted in friendship and compassion to Barbie throughout the years including Louise Ridley, Linda Woolsey, Kim Hilton, Geneva Owens, and Larry Perry. And, we are humbly grateful to the devoted medical teams and doctors who have served her, most especially her caretakers Darnette Taylor and Jeanette Wells; and Doctors Virgil Cox, Thomas DePorter and Victor Ramon who have provided solace, counsel and exceptional care. Survivors: She is survived by her uncle, Harold Friedman and his wife, Beverly, of Houston; nephew, Ronald Rakoover and his wife, Clara, and their children of Austin; her niece, Laura Peitzer Rakoover and sister-in-law, Nancy Rakoover, both of Dallas; many cousins, nieces and nephews; her treasured friends of many years, Bonnie Kaplan Lyons of San Antonio, Edith Yentis of Fort Worth, and Luanne McKinnon Reeves of San Francisco, Calif.; and her Paschal High girlfriends who always sparked happy memories: Jan, Lela, Anne, Dudley, Gracie, Jackee, Cheryl, and Sue, among others. Barbie's extraordinary touch upon our lives shall remain in our hearts and memories forever.
Published in Star-Telegram on June 11, 2013
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