Elizabeth “Libby” Blackwell passed away at 90 on April 5, 2015 in her home on Orcas Island where she resided for 25 years. Supported by her children and team of caregivers, she was able to realize her dream of staying in the comfort of the beautiful home she created until death.
Libby was devoted to her family and took great pride in being a nurturing mother. She was blessed with five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. This past December, her entire family gathered on Orcas to celebrate her 90th birthday with her.
Libby was a patriotic citizen who believed in contributing to her community, and she engaged in every community where she lived. As a young mother, she was a Girl Scout leader and a champion of public schools. She volunteered with the Red Cross and Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, Calif.
Later, Libby devoted herself to the Orcas Community Center, Stitch, the Democratic Party and the Stage on the Green project in Eastsound.
Libby was that rare person who held strong opinions but kept an open mind and had an unprejudiced heart. She had an evolutionary journey through politics: beginning as a Republican, embracing the Democratic Party and ending as a citizen of the world. International experiences that shaped her vision included her participation as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, Africa (1982-1984), riding a peace train across Asia to participate in a Women’s Congress in Beijing, China, and helping to build a peace park in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Libby had an inquiring mind. She was a member of the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco and the Washington Institute for the Humanities.
Having strong friendships – and she had many on Orcas – was a joy to Libby. She valued beauty in all forms, and she had a fondness for those who created art, music or a beautiful garden. She had a wonderful sense of humor and loved having fun. Libby learned to play a drum so she could join the Orcas Oompah Band.
Libby leaves many gifts to us, including her optimism and her deeply held belief that one needed to make the world a better place for all people. She knew from her own experiences here and abroad that justice and democracy require an active citizenry. Libby believed deeply in working to create a world that offered hope and opportunity to all.
A celebration of Libby’s life will be held in September.
Memorial donations will gratefully be accepted at the Orcas Island Community Foundation, PO Box 1496, Eastsound, WA 98245 or www.OICF.us.