Spotlight on Neighbors: Barbara Bour
Hitting all the Highs of Mother Nature
Haile resident Barbara Bour was born in Springfield, Missouri, the Queen City of the Ozarks. But she grew up in or around two big cities— Boston and St. Louis—as a result of her father’s career as a professor of music. Her mother worked as a telephone operator in Watertown, Massachusetts, where she could be seen riding her bicycle to and from the phone company each day. Barbara recalled, “I guess my older sister and I were some of the earliest latch key kids; it created a strong streak of independence in both of us.” Barbara’s fondest childhood memories include spending summer holidays at her grandparents’ home in Fortunes Rock Beach, near Biddeford, Maine.
Barbara chose to go to the University of Colorado in 1968 to begin her studies in the field of physical therapy. Transferring to the University of Missouri two years later, she earned her BS in that discipline in 1971 and met her future husband, Dave, in the process. Barbara remembered, “Some years after graduation, I had my heart set on going to Nigeria to work in a leprosy colony through the sponsorship of an organization called CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas) but that’s when Dave proposed marriage.”
It was one of those critical forks in the road that determine one’s future; Barbara chose to accept his proposal and stayed here in the US. She would be rewarded by many opportunities in the future to serve on international medical missions. And Dave, a salesman in the health and beauty aids industry, was consistently and enthusiastically supportive of her career throughout their marriage.
Relocating to St. Petersburg, Florida in the 1970s, Barbara started her own physical therapy clinic, Children’s Therapy Center, concentrating on the care of children with disabilities. Meanwhile, she and her husband had welcomed into the world their daughter, Whitney. When Whitney was only five years old, another life-changing event occurred: she was diagnosed with leukemia. Luckily, we found it at the right age, and she had the right blood type for curative treatment. She underwent extensive chemotherapy and thankfully survived.”
Barbara recalled that when her young daughter (understandably traumatized by the hospital stay and treatment) asked her mother, “Why me?” Barbara responded, “Everyone’s going to have trouble and pain in their lives. Aren’t you lucky to be so young when you learn important lessons from this, like how to be grateful for every moment and every day, no matter what?”