Obituary: Barbara Bounds Blackstone / Professor at Slippery Rock, world traveler

Oct. 27, 1929 - Oct. 31, 2013

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Barbara Bounds Blackstone spent 34 years as a professor of communications at Slippery Rock University with full semesters in Hirakata, Japan, and Africa University in Zimbabwe and shorter stints in Salzburg, Austria, and Nowy Sacz, Poland.

Her love of travel took her to more than 45 different countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Even after she retired in 2004 at age 75, the certified speech pathologist organized special programs and facilitated courses for Slippery Rock's Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Ms. Blackstone of Cranberry died Thursday of pancreatic cancer in Sherwood Oaks retirements community. She was 84. Because of her illness, she had been in assisted living facilities since February.

"My mother was a spectacular teacher and had a lifelong curiosity about people in the world around her and could speak to anyone in the world about anything," said her son, Franklin Blackstone III of Dunn Loring, Va., one of Ms. Blackstone's four children.

Before she started to teach at Slippery Rock, right after college and before marriage, she worked at Carlow College and also as a speech pathologist for a Catholic priest in charge of schools.

"He arranged for her to [help] students," said Ms. Blackstone's daughter, Martha Blackstone.

She worked in local schools in the Bellevue and Avalon areas, helping students solve speech impediments such as a lisp, a stutter or an inability to make certain sounds, like the letter "r."

At Slippery Rock, Ms. Blackstone taught such courses as intercultural communication, small group decision making, public speaking and speech skills, her daughter said.

Much of her time was dedicated to God and God's people, both here and abroad. She was a member and choir singer of Salem United Methodist Church in Wexford for more than six decades. She held many key leadership positions in the United Methodist Church.

From 1980 through 1996, Ms. Blackstone was elected as a lay delegate to the United Methodist Church's quadrennial General Conference. She also served on the General Board of Global Ministries and was a mission ambassador for the United Methodist Church, leading both worship service and workshops about people and mission needs throughout the world.

"She was one of the saints, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's enjoying heaven," her daughter said.

Ms. Blackstone studied for three college and university degrees, getting a bachelor's degree from Allegheny College, a master's degree from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in cross-cultural communications from the University of Pittsburgh.

Education was always part of her life. She was born in Windber, Somerset County, in 1929 to the late Clyde and Helen Bounds, both of whom were educators.

In addition to her son and daughter, Ms. Blackstone is survived by another daughter, Curlen Blackstone of Macungie, Lehigh County, and another son, Rodney of Charleston, W.Va.; a sister, Suzanne Kinard; and three grandchildren, Kent, Mitch and Mei-Ling Blackstone.

Her family will welcome visitors from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Glenn-Kildoo Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Cranberry, and at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 16 until the time of life worship service at 1:30 p.m. in Salem United Methodist Church. A meal will be served afterward at the church. Private interment will take place at Zion Cemetery, the family's private cemetery on the 157-acre Cranberry farm where Ms. Blackstone lived and which has been in her family since 1807.

Donations in Ms. Blackstone's memory may be made to Salem United Methodist, Africa University Development Office of Nashville, Tenn., or Jumonville in Hopwood, Pa.


Pohla Smith: psmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1228.

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