Barbara Marie (Callanan) Lunbeck died Nov. 27, 2017, after a brief illness at home in Audubon, Pa. She was 88.
Born August 18, 1929, in Toledo, Ohio, to John Joseph and Margaret Falke Callanan, Barbara was a spirited and popular student, graduating with a B.S. in 1951 from Mary Manse College in Toledo as class vice-president, with high honors in chemistry. While at Mary Manse, Barbara met Bob. After graduation she worked for a year in Toledo as a chemist. Married in 1952, Barbara and Bob shared a 63-year marriage that ended only with Bob’s death early last year.
Barbara and Bob lived in Strafford, Pa., for nearly 40 years. There they raised their six children and made lifelong friendships. Barbara spent many hours playing tennis with friends and family at the Martin’s Dam Club. Barbara was a devout Catholic, and an active volunteer in church-related causes. She also volunteered in the community, serving as a troop leader for the Brownies, a docent for Art Goes to School, and a volunteer for Birthright International.
Barbara loved art, reading, conversation, and travel. After decades consumed by family responsibilities, she began taking studio art classes in earnest in the 1980s. She soon became a full-time student, commuting daily for two years to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she majored in painting. Many of her landscapes, still lifes, and portraits now adorn her children’s walls.
Barbara was a voracious reader, her taste ranging from fiction to history and politics, and an engaging conversationalist. She was blessed with abundant common sense and humility. Barbara had strong opinions, which she leavened with her dry wit.
Barbara loved traveling and sailing. She and Bob traveled extensively at home and abroad, often with friends. Sailing adventures took them frequently to the Caribbean and the Chesapeake. They fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard, where in 1987 they built a summer home in Chilmark. In 1994 they moved there from Strafford, enjoying the island year-round for 13 years. In summer contests on Menemsha Pond that pitted their humble and sturdy catboat with Barbara at the helm against a fleet of sleek Herreshoffs, they savored the occasional race victory. Barbara was particularly involved with the Chilmark Public Library, where she served as president of the Friends at the inception of the library’s renovation and addition project.
Several years ago Barbara and Bob returned to Pennsylvania, joining many decades-long friends at Shannondell in Audubon. Barbara aged gracefully, her warmth and wit defining her final years. Barbara was loved deeply by her large family, who each now treasure her in their memories.
Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her sister Carol Callanan, and her husband Robert (Bob). She is survived by her six children and their spouses, Elizabeth (Gary Gerstle), Robert Jr. (Kathleen), James (Julia Reid), Peggy Montague (Richard), John (Muyar), and Martha (Mike Brown), her 14 grandchildren, Daniel and Samuel Gerstle; Natalie and Robert (III) Lunbeck; Emma, John, and Axel Lunbeck; William, Tess, and Kate Montague; Alexandra and Victoria Lunbeck; and Maggie and Molly Brown, and her great-grandchild, William August Meade Montague.
A funeral Mass will be said at 9:45 am, Saturday, Dec. 9 at St. Monica Church, 635 First Ave., Berwyn, Pa., followed at noon by a celebration for family and friends of Barbara’s life at the Ashcroft Clubhouse, 10000 Shannondell Dr., Audubon, Pa. She will be laid to rest alongside Bob at Abel’s Hill Cemetery in Chilmark.
Special thanks to Senior Adult Concierge Service for their exemplary care and kindness. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Barbara’s name to the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library, P.O. Box 434, Chilmark, MA 02535, or chilmarklibrary.org.