Barbara Linda Lyons Schiff Lawson, 65, had been living in the Hyde Park community in Chicago when she died of pneumonia on 15 Kislev 5773 (Nov. 29, 2012).
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She leaves behind an ex-husband in Bradford.
Barbara was born in Chicago, Ill., on Oct. 31, 1947, to a family of shomers in the West Rodgers Park community. Her father was Milton Schiff, vice president of Nu Dell Plastics, a manufacturer. Her mother, Florence, was active in charities, particularly City of Hope.
Barbara became a member of Mensa in high school. She liked to read intellectual novels and feminist science fiction, and she was an anglophile. Very witty, she studied journalism at the University of Indiana.
She married Lawrence Richard Lawson and helped start his manufacturing business in Chicago. She enjoyed hospital work and became night supervisor of the X-ray department at Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital.
She moved with her husband to New England and took up actuarial science. She specialized in costing annuities, which was very remunerative for her. But, hard times for her husband led to their divorce.
She received a legacy from her father's sudden death and, needing fresh air, decided to tour the United States in a powerful new car. A car crash led to her hospitalization in California. She returned to Chicago for a brief period and lived in the back of her ex-husband's office.
Later, she moved to the uptown area of Chicago and taught emergency medicine at an affiliate of Presbyterian-St. Luke's.
She was amused by how gender-based symbols often seem to control people's lives. She raised cats and orchids.
As time progressed, she became deeply involved in Red Cross Emergency Services. Then, she decided what she always wanted to be was a firefighter. She entered the Chicago Fire Academy and became a specialist in Emergency Medical Service. However, she suffered a severe injury in the line of duty. She never fully recovered, and her health deteriorated gradually over a period of decades.
After passing away in 2012, her name was placed on the Chicago Fire Department Honor Roll of Line of Duty Deaths in 2015.
She had no surviving close relatives; her brother died in a railroad accident while in law school.
Kaddish is said at Temple Beth El, Bradford.
Published in The Bradford Era from June 29 to July 5, 2016