I so much appreciate both Caroline Beebe and whoever penned the obituary which appeared in our local paper. Caroline’s full life, and not surprisingly, given this exemplary life, her full acceptance of her own dying process, plus the fullness of the person who articulated just how this beautiful soul presented herself on this planet Earth, leave me stunned. So grateful!
I remember Caroline, who predated me here by over a quarter of a century, only because of the fact that she was brought in as a temporary head of the Board for the local Bloomingfoods Co-op during its time of struggles (which were successfully transcended) a number of years ago. One person whose opinion I very much valued told me he was thrilled she agreed to serve in that position.
Otherwise, I just noticed this woman from afar as someone who was humble, kind, and with eyes full of light and love.
As I read her obituary, I recognize an art form, working on several levels. Thank you!
Obituary for Caroline Jane Beebe
Caroline Jane Beebe, August 11, 1948 – August 1, 2020.
Caroline died peacefully at home on a rainy Saturday evening surrounded by her family who whispered messages of love in her ears as she slowly drifted into the beyond.
She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Michael Yoakam, as well as her father whom she adored, Vernon “Bud” Beebe, Jr. Among those mourning this loss are her mother Jane Beebe; brother Dana Beebe (and wife Stania Sestak); daughters Crystal Timbrook and Genevieve Pritchard; son-in-love Coy Timbrook; and grandchildren Cruz Timbrook, Creed Timbrook, and Miko Pritchard.
Born in Evanston, Illinois, Caroline landed in Bloomington, Indiana by way of Colorado in 1976 and quickly grew strong roots. She was a pioneer in so many areas of the local community, joining the founding circles of many long-lasting Bloomington institutions such as May Creek Farm, Bloomingfoods, Harmony School, and UITS (formerly BACS).
Caroline was silly and generous and beautiful and brilliant. She made lists, lived her values, and adopted old blind/deaf dogs. She was an artist in every sense of the word, a true world traveler, and had a permanent table for 12 in her minimalist home because she welcomed everyone.
Caroline was delightfully humble and never thought of herself as very funny or entertaining, but once you got her started she regaled you with stories of jaguars circling her tent in the jungles of Belize, bravely singing a capella by herself during a worship service in India, or losing a contract renewal because she showed up to the job in her suit paired with short, intensely fuchsia hair in 1998, long before it was popular.
As a bibliophile and consummate researcher, education was a central tenet in Caroline’s life. Returning to study multiple times throughout the years, she held two master’s degrees, an Ed.S., and a Ph.D. (though she would blush if you called her “Doctor”). Smart and inspired, she applied her skills in a variety of professional ways, including developing early graphics and multi-media systems for Indiana University, serving as the Head of the Digital Library Department at North Carolina State University, as well as an unwavering dedication to a decades-long project in which she developed a new system for archiving complex three dimensional data from archaeological mapping and excavation of Chau Hiix, an ancient Maya city in Belize.
Enjoying camping trips with cousins to Kenora, Canada and Girl Scout canoe trips to Quetico Provincial Park, Caroline’s parents nurtured her early love for nature. An avid fan of the water, Caroline was a member of synchronized swim teams in high school and college. Through life she never slowed down—skiing, scuba diving, or sailing whenever the opportunity was presented. When she turned 60, she outdid herself by hiking to the Annapurna basecamp in Nepal’s Himalayas and then went on to become a yoga instructor, go paragliding in Peru, and take up competitive ballroom dancing.
In her final weeks, so many friends around the world sent their love to Caroline and this brought her unspeakable joy. From her earliest companions at Joseph Sears Elementary and New Trier High School, to the DGs and Duck friends at DePauw, to all those who knew her in Bloomington, Mexico, Belize, Kyrgyzstan, India, and more—beloved friends emerged from all eras of her life and shared stories and fond memories. Caroline was truly lifted and sustained by this beautiful energy, and she was ushered out on a carpet of love.
As a lifelong follower of Indian spiritual master, Avatar Meher Baba, Caroline strived to adhere to his path of living with unconditional love for others. Deeply faithful, she believed that our souls return to this world time and time again, remaining intertwined in clusters with other souls closest to us for millions of incarnations. As such, she was able to leave us gracefully, certain that we will all see each other again.
She was pragmatic when she was given her diagnosis in late spring, making the decision to take a few wonderful months at home with friends and family rather than gamble on a year full of doctors and hospitals. When people would tell her she “could beat this thing,” Caroline would turn to her family and say, “I hope they will come to understand that winning isn’t always continuing to live. Winning can be living with love and leaving knowing that you have had a wonderful life full of wonderful friends and experiences.”
We invite you to tune in and join us for a virtual service to be held at 1pm Eastern time on Friday, August 7, 2020. The event will be livestreamed via the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, Indiana www.uubloomington.org/live-stream/
Caroline loved the theater and was a passionate supporter.
In lieu of flowers, she requested that donations be made to Cardinal Stage (www.cardinalstage.org ) or Bloomington Playwrights Project (www.newplays.org ). We encourage you to use “In Memory of Caroline Beebe” in the memo field.
When I mentioned to young Green Acres Viillage podmate Andreas that Caroline’s final days were filled with loving connections to friends and family from near and far who had peopled her long life, he remarked: “Most people do not have this kind of relationship with old friends and family.”
Unfortunately, he’s correct. Let us work to fulfill every personal contract we have ever made with another. Let us let go of all regret, shame, hurt, revenge, fury — all those painful memories which alert us that we are NOT done with a particular contract! Let us NOTICE when we feel angry at, or hurt by someone in our past, and recognize that we need not only to forgive him or her, but to recognize the quality we saw in them that made us angry or hurt was actually in us, projected.
And then, having taken personal responsibility for the suffering we have caused and endured by being attached to anyone or any situation, let us forgive ourselves.
In this way is compassion born.
In this way does love flourish.
In this way, by living well, we prepare ourselves to die well, too.
Thank you Caroline, for your beautiful example.