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Educator set example of courage, giving

| Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

She traveled across the globe, but Barbara Blackstone left the greatest impact as a pioneer at home.

She helped found Cranberry Township Public Library in a closet of the municipal building, and as a certified speech pathologist, she visited dozens of countries helping those with speech impediments.

“She was a Renaissance woman,” said library Director Leslie Pallotta, who recalled that Dr. Blackstone was in her late 70s when she missed a board meeting because she was hiking in the Andes Mountains. “She was a spunky lady who was always on the go; we could never keep up with Barbara.”

Dr. Barbara Bounds Blackstone of Cranberry died Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, just days after her 84th birthday, of pancreatic cancer.

Her daughter, Martha, recalled her mother as an intrepid world traveler who visited 45 countries, taught in Japan and Zimbab-we, and presented papers in Poland.

“I think she passed along her courage, and some of that courage was to understand that God is in all places and in all people, and you can't separate people into classes. And if you know God is with you, you'll be safe in all places,” Martha Blackstone said.

Dr. Blackstone, who went back to college to earn her doctorate at 60, held degrees from Allegheny College, the University of Iowa and the University of Pittsburgh. She taught at Slippery Rock until she was 75.

Bruce Mazzoni, chairman of the Cranberry board of supervisors, called her a “major force,” saying Blackstone's foresight in the early development of the township built a foundation for today's residents.

“It was important to community members to make things happen,” he said. “It shows the power of one person, what they can do or how things can happen when a group of people come together. That library is in constant use. That door opens every second or so.”

Dr. Blackstone is survived by her four children, Carlen of Macungie, Lehigh County, Franklin III of Dunn Loring, Va., Martha of Cranberry Township, and Rodney of Charleston, W.Va.; three grandchildren; and a sister, Suzanne Kinard of Glenside.

A celebration of her life will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Salem United Methodist Church, 350 Manor Road, Wexford. Interment will be in Zion Cemetery. Her family will welcome visitors from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in Glenn-Kildoo Funeral Home, 130 Wisconsin Ave., Cranberry, and in the church starting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Memorial gifts are suggested to Salem United Methodist Church, 350 Manor Road, Wexford, PA 15090.

Staff writer Stacey Federoff contributed. Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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