Barbara Kathleen Boen Lineberry
Barbara Kathleen Boen Lineberry, 70, whose steadfast assistance and devotion endeared her to the blind community in Tallahassee and surrounding counties, died of leukemia January 3, 2014 at Seven Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
She worked as an independent living specialist at Independence for the Blind (now called Lighthouse of the Big Bend), and later on her own, after graduation from Florida State University, just shy of her fiftieth birthday. She taught skills such as cooking, organizing and arranging for public transportation needs, but for her clients, many of whom became lifelong friends, she also drove them to appointments, recorded books onto audio cassettes, read their mail to them—pretty much anything that was requested. Some recent tributes from her blind or partially sighted friends: "She was really my eyes. She helped me in so many different ways, I can't begin to tell you," "She was one of the most trustworthy, dependable, fun-to-work-with people I've ever known," "She got the blind thing."
Certainly no stranger to disability herself, she was born with dislocated hips. This led to numerous hip surgeries and transplants throughout her life, the first when she was a year old, the last in 2011. She spent her entire fourteenth year in a body cast. She also walked with a cane for most of her adult life, and drove with hand controls. Physical pain was often her companion.
Singing was one of her lifelong passions, beginning with high school choir. In Maryland, throughout the 1970s and early '80s, she sang bass with two Sweet Adelines women's barbershop choruses. Upon her arrival in Tallahassee in 1987, she switched to tenor and sang and performed with the Tallahassee Civic Chorale for many years.
The church also played an important role in her life. Brought up a Methodist, she found comfort in the Unitarian Universalist Church during a difficult stretch and remained with it for life, first in Bethesda, MD, then for more than two decades with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee (UUCT
Additionally, she volunteered for several years at the Tallahassee (Junior) Museum, where she was known as "the turtle lady" or "the alligator lady" for her hands-on presentations, and at WFSU, where she read the Wakulla News each week for the station's Radio Reading Service.
Some of her other favorite things: Star Trek, bluegrass music, Hummels, books, owls, puzzles and puzzle books, most music from the 1950s and '60s, and her alter-ego "lovable, furry old" Grover.
She leaves behind two sons, Peter Scott, of Dale City, VA, and Patrick Stephen, of Tallahassee; daughter-in-law Beverly, of Tallahassee; and granddaughter Kaitlyn, of Tallahassee. They all love and miss her.
A proponent of life-long learning, she donated her body to medical studies, so others could learn from her. Her ashes will be spread in the waters of her beloved Panama City Beach. A memorial service will be held on Feb. 22, 2014 at 2:00, at the UUCT on Meridian Road. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in her memory to the
), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org
) and/or the Florida Council for the Blind (www.fcb.org