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Tunisia RPCV Rebekah Ann McBride dies at 58
Tunisia RPCV Rebekah Ann McBride dies at 58
REBEKAH MCBRIDE, 58, FOUND THRILL, FREEDOM IN SCUBA DIVING
Jul 28, 2004
Rocky Mountain News
by Lisa Ryckman, Rocky Mountain News
Rebekah Ann McBride trotted the globe but found a home in small- town Colorado.
She spent a summer in Japan as a teenager, rode a camel to see the pyramids in Egypt and studied in Paris. But she eventually settled down as a lawyer and judge in the Western Slope community of Craig, where she died July 12 from cancer. She was 58.
Ms. McBride was born in San Antonio, the eldest of three. The family moved to Chappaqua, N.Y., where Ms. McBride went to high school, but she returned to Texas to attend Rice University. After graduation, Ms. McBride headed out to see more of the world.
"She spent two years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia, and she studied at the Sorbonne," said her only sister, Ellen Alsobrooks of Wheat Ridge. "When she came back to New York, she got a job as a legal secretary, but within a year, she decided she wanted to be a lawyer."
After law school at the University of Texas, Ms. McBride practiced in Denver before moving to Craig as general counsel for the Colowyo Coal Co., a job she learned about through her father, Guy T. McBride Jr., president emeritus of the Colorado School of Mines.
"He got her the interview," her sister said. "She got herself the job."
Ms. McBride eventually opened a family law practice in Craig and became known for her pro bono work. She served as municipal court judge and was a founder of Craig's Independent Living Center.
The organized, logical Ms. McBride had an adventurous streak that landed her in deep water - she became an avid scuba diver. Arthritis and a bout with polio had made some kinds of movement challenging; she walked with a limp and had difficulty with hand and arm movements. But the ocean changed that.
"Once she took it up it was, 'Wow, this is like freedom in the water,' " her sister said.
Ms. McBride never married. She lavished her love on her dog, a bouvier des Flandres named Aspen that had been rescued from a home where there was little human contact.
"It took her three years, but she did wonders with her," Ms. McBride's sister said. "She had a lot of patience for some things."
Bridge was one of those things - Ms. McBride was a master's level player - and music was another. She worked hard as a member of the Yampa Valley Chorus of the Sweet Adelines International, where she sang the melody piece of four-part a cappella harmony. "When Rebekah started out, she was not easily able to express herself musically," said Denise Whitney, the group's director. "But she really loosened up, and we gave her an award for being the most improved. It was a way for her to let her hair down."
It was also an opportunity for her to shine in a new way, said her sister, who saw Ms. McBride perform a number of times.
"She was absolutely thrilled to have somebody come see her," she said. "She was such a behind-the-scenes player, but with the Sweet Adelines, all of a sudden, she was in front of the curtain instead."
Ms. McBride is survived by her father and stepmother, Guy T. McBride Jr. and Cordelia McBride, of Lakewood; her sister, Ellen Alsobrooks, of Wheat Ridge; her brother, William McBride, of Raleigh, N.C.; and her nephews, Guy T. McBride III, Andrew McBride, William McBride Jr., Matthew McCarty and Brian McCarty. She was preceded in death by her mother, Rebekah McBride, in 1998.
When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:
This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?
Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."
In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.
Read the stories and leave your comments.