Barbara Lynn Lewis Bibighaus, 67, died on Feb. 5, 2014, at Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo, Miss., after a more than two-year illness. During her illness, as throughout her life, Barbara was courageous, strong-minded, loving, thoughtful, selfless, generous and, of course, fashionable.
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Beloved wife, mother and sister, Barbara treasured and loved her family throughout her life. She was born in Greenwood, on Dec. 30, 1946, to Alton B. Lewis and Marion H. Lewis. She was the oldest of six children, whose parents died young, so Barbara and her siblings had an unbreakable bond that lasted throughout her life. She was their sister, ""mother,"" and best friend.
Her dedication to family was later evident in the strong bond that Barbara shared with
her husband and two
Education and learning were always important to Barbara and awarded her with many interesting and different friendships, adventures and experiences. Barbara was graduated with honors from Greenwood High School and was awarded an academic scholarship to Mississippi College. She earned a B.A. Degree from Mississippi College with honors with a double major in French and English. Active in student government, Barbara was one of four students at Mississippi College selected to the Hall of Fame.
After college, Barbara taught French in the Jackson Public Schools in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she married Dr. Alexander J. Bibighaus III, who was completing his orthopedic surgery residence at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. With Alex, she began her family and a lifetime of adventures together. Their daughter, Stephanie, and son, Alexander, were born while they lived in Jackson. The family then lived in London, England, while Dr. Bibighaus was an orthopedic fellow at the Middlesex Hospital and the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital of London. The family thereafter lived in Germany for several years while Dr. Bibighaus served in the U.S. Air Force as an orthopedic surgeon for the 36th Tactical Air Command Hospital and with the Bitburg Hospital in Bitburg, Germany. During this time, Barbara attended a French culinary school in Dieppe, France, receiving a coveted diploma ""de bonne cuisine francaise."" Barbara treasured the travels throughout Europe that she, Alex and her young children had while they lived abroad. She and her family enjoyed exploring the history, culture and cuisine of other countries. She was proud that these experiences resulted in her children and family's later love of travel and ability to appreciate other cultures.
After Germany, the family lived four years in Texarkana, Texas, where Dr. Bibighaus practiced orthopedic surgery. The family then moved to Tupelo when Dr. Bibighaus joined the Tupelo Orthopedic Clinic. Barbara taught French I in the Tupelo Public Schools. Barbara's love of the French language and culture continued to allow her many adventures. While in Tupelo, Barbara and her family hosted two French exchange students and one German exchange student. She chaperoned groups of French students who were visiting the United States to various cities, such as Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, La. Also, during this time, Barbara studied during summers at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris, France; and at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. Barbara also earned an M.A. Degree in French with highest honors at the University of Mississippi and was selected to Phi Kappa Phi honorary academic society for these studies. After retiring from teaching, Barbara worked for several years for CREATE Foundation, a regional development organization, as Director of Grants.
Barbara was a strong, active member of the Tupelo community, and she brought energy and dedication, as well as creative and interesting ideas to every commitment. She was a member of Tupelo's First United Methodist Church, where she served on the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Financial Committee. Over the years, Barbara served as president and board member of the Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls; president of Leadership Lee County; and member of the Tupelo Garden Club,
the Mutual Culture Club and the Junior League of Texarkana, Texas. She also enjoyed long-term friendships in her birthday club and her book club.
Barbara touched the lives of many family members, friends, students and neighbors by, for example, dropping off small ""happies"" (her word for little gifts) for any and every occasion; being ""left of center"" with fun and different ideas; inspiring her students to learn French and excel in all of their classwork; decorating and shopping for family and friends; instilling values of hard work, education and thoughtfulness in her children and students; and, of course, with her passion for fashion. The life she built together with Alex was beautiful, strong, happy and one of which she was proud. During their 46 years of marriage, they enjoyed traveling, spending time with family and friends, and taking on new adventures, such as Japanese language lessons. In the last many years, she loved being with Alex at home or at Pickwick lake, reading, cooking and watching hummingbirds.
The family will receive friends today, Feb. 7, 2014, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the chapel of W.E. Pegues Funeral Home, 535 West Jefferson St., Tupelo. A short memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 412 West Main St., Tupelo.
Barbara is survived by her husband of 46 years, Dr. Alexander Joseph Bibighaus III; a daughter, Stephanie Lynn Lewis Bibighaus, of Alexandria, Va.; a son, Alexander Joseph Bibighaus IV, of Austin, Texas; one brother, Alton B. Lewis (Terri) of Hammond, La.; and three sisters, Patricia Hayes (Colvin) of Auburn, Ala., Norma Lewis (Rick Hauck) of St. Louis, Mo., and Marcia Doyle of Brussels, Belgium; as well as two nephews, Nicholas W. Hayes (Danielle) and Jordan Lewis, and one niece, Kathryn Carroll Lewis. She is also survived by many, many beloved friends, including special family friend, Angie McCollum.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alton B. Lewis, and by her beloved youngest sibling, brother Bryant Edward Lewis.
Memorials may be made to the Sanctuary Hospice House, 5159 West Main St., Tupelo, MS 38801; Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls, P.O. Box 935, Tupelo, MS 38802; and First United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 854, Tupelo, MS 38802.
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
Published in Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on Feb. 7, 2014
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