Barbara Thomson Abernethy, 89 of Leawood, KS, passed away on Sunday, September 16, 2012. She was preceded in death by her husband, Durant "Doc" Abernethy. Barbara is survived by her children, Durant S. Abernethy, III; Rick and Rita Abernethy; Terry and Barbara (Abernethy) Sellers; Dale and Francie (Abernethy) Gebauer; eleven grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren. There will be a visitation service at Mt. Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home at 10507 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO 64131 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Thursday, September 20. A private family inurnment will be held in the Columbarium B Faith Mausoleum at Mt. Moriah Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Kansas City Hospice, 10100 W. 87th Street, Suite 100, Overland Park, KS, 66212 or any charity of your choice. Barbara was born in Decatur, GA, on June 9, 1923 to Meldrim and Marion Thomson. She was the youngest of five siblings, a brother and four sisters. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Coral Gables, Fl, where her father, an engineer, took a job building Miami's International Airport. When Mom was 16 and attending Ponce de Leon High School, she met our Dad after his father, who was also an engineer, got him a summer job working on the Miami Airport project. After their first date, Dad took Mom to the door and asked her father's permission to continue the date by taking Mom fishing. Her father said yes and they fished until 4:00 in the morning and the rest of their lives with Mom catching if not the largest, always the most, fish. Thus, began a storybook romance with Mom turning down a scholarship to Wesleyan and moving to Memphis, TN to become a war bride on April 11, 1942. Like so many other young mothers of Mom's generation, because of the war, college was not an option. She devoted herself to her family and Dad, while he was building B-25 Liberators during the day and, having secured a government contract with his partner and brother- in-law Jake Fleming, managed their machine shop at night manufacturing gun turret parts for the same planes. Both Mom and Dad dreamed of a better life for themselves and their four children. After selling their machine shop at the end of the war, Dad invested his share of the money with Jake in a 2200-acre cotton plantation in Gunnison, MS, which Jake had purchased years earlier. Mom ran the large household while Dad managed the farm and she became quite an accomplished rider on her favorite Tennessee Walker, Hot Poppa. During these times, Mom taught us the importance of treating all people, regardless of race or station in life, with dignity and respect. We constantly were reminded of this lesson by Mom's treatment of the five-hundred African Americans and "displaced persons" (European immigrants) that Dad housed, fed and hired to help run the plantation. She was always considerate of their needs and treated all of them as if they were family. When the boll weevils destroyed the cotton crop and the cotton gin burned down in 1951, Mom and Dad had to start over. The family moved to Kansas City to start a new business, opening The Southern Ice Cream Company with James S. Merritt. Mom made the transition from a large ante-bellum home to a 2-bedroom duplex at 70th and Troost and never complained. Mom had an inner strength and resolved to make the best of any situation. She was strikingly beautiful and her smile would light up any room. After a modeling career to make ends meet, Mom went to work as a secretary for the Marley Company. In 1963, she took another secretarial job working with Joe Mazza in the Ticket Department of the newly arrived Kansas City Chiefs. When the Chiefs moved to Arrowhead in 1972, she worked for Bob Wachter in Stadium Operations and retired in 1978. In the early 80's, Mom volunteered for several years in the surgical waiting room at Research Hospital, where a few years earlier Dad had undergone two open-heart bypass surgeries. If you could make a blue print of a wonderful mother, mother-in-law or Nana, Mom would be it. As a mother, she was fiercely proud of her children, but would let us make our own way in the world always standing beside us, not in front of us. Mom always held us accountable for the decisions we made in our lives and allowed us to learn from our mistakes. As a mother-in-law, she never took sides, but reminded us we were adults and needed to work it out ourselves. As a Nana, she loved all of her grandchildren equally and without reservation. She was always interested in what they had to say and would encourage them to follow their dreams. Mom valued above all love of family, self-respect, self-determination, never making excuses and good manners, in retrospect, she had "class". After Dad died in 1994, Mom was fortunate to find love and companionship with a wonderful man in Bob DeLand who had also lost his spouse. They took cruises from Alaska to the Mediterranean, fished from Texas to Missouri and danced and partied into her final years. Even after she was diagnosed with dementia and placed in a memory care facility in 2007, Bob visited her often, if not daily, and was present at her passing. The family would like to thank all the wonderful people at Clare Bridge of Leawood who have made our mother's last five years as meaningful as possible, especially Denise Thompson and Reggie Owens. Also, a special thanks to Kansas City Hospice for their kind and compassionate care in the last months of her life. Condolences may be expressed at www.mtmoriah-freeman.com.