Bobbie Mims-Beane was an intellectual, a spiritual seeker, a deeply loving friend with a wicked sense of humor and seemingly unlimited compassion, a lover of tea, dogs, knitting, books, cooking and life. She was also an amazing mother and wife, not to mention one of the best geriatric and hospice social workers in the greater Portland area. She started her career at the Robison Jewish Home, which later led to her work with Jewish Family and Child Services, where she earned an MSW at 44. She also spent several years at the Maryville Nursing Home, working among a Catholic order of nuns. In the mid-80s, she found a true calling in hospice work, caring for some of the first AIDS patients on hospice in the state, and after working at several other organizations along the way, ended her career at Washington County Hospice.
In addition to her 30-plus years in social service, she considered her most important work in life to be raising her two daughters, Abby and Kari, with a rare kind of unconditional love and acceptance, along with tireless work on herself. Bobbie was always striving to “be here now”, while moving towards a greater understanding of the universe and the meaning of life, which often meant providing comfort and understanding to others in the hopes of easing their suffering. Her spiritual journey began early, manifesting in a scandalous conversion to the Episcopal church from her parents’ Protestant congregation at 15; this seeking eventually led to the practice of yoga and meditation in the early 70s, exploration of astrology, crystals and the I Ching and prodigious readings of Carl Jung, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, Anais Nin, Christopher Isherwood and Krisnamurti, to name but a few. She spent much of her time studying the Eastern religions and adopted beliefs in reincarnation and karma, and for the last several years, was a practicing Hindu, following the teachings of Ram Dass and his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
A single mother for nearly a decade, she met the love of her life, Jim Beane, through friends in 1988, when she infamously backed her car into a support beam of her house and needed a good contractor to fix it. By all accounts, they fell in love on their first date, and were married just a few months later. Her daughters were not amused at the time, but they have to admit now that she knew exactly what she was doing. They shared a love of the movies, good friends, laughing, camping, hiking, long walks in the neighborhood and the joy of day-to-day life with one another. They often took trips to the Southwest and Southern California to escape the Northwest rain, and in the fall of 2008, just six months before her brain cancer diagnosis, they travelled to India together, which for Bobbie, was the culmination of a 40-year-long dream. She later said that being in India was like finding her true home.
She leaves behind not only her immediate family, but also an incredible circle of devoted friends and co-workers, many of whom she has known for decades. As one of them put it recently, “The world will be a different place without Bobbie in it.” Her close friends, her sister and her co-workers at Washington County Hospice helped her family take exquisite care of her for the last four years, and without them, she would not have been able to remain at home throughout her illness, which was her wish. Bobbie died peacefully on April 5th, at 66, surrounded by those who loved her most and best. An open memorial will be held at the West Hills Unitarian Fellowship on April 20th at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Washington County Hospice.