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Father, daughter with special bond die just days apart

July 05, 2007|By SHANNON EPPS

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Family members say Anita Lynne Tebbs' bond with her father, Richard Tebbs Sr., was so strong that it was evident to anyone who knew them.

"They were just inseparable," said Anita's sister, Felecia Skidmore.

Audrey Tebbs said she was not surprised when her daughter and husband died within two days of each other this week.

"I always said that if anything happened to her, I hoped that he'd go too, because he positively couldn't live without her," she said.

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"He loved her more than anything," she said.

Anita Lynne Tebbs was born with cerebral palsy. Her parents founded the Anita Lynne Home, now called Star Community, in her honor.

The facility, on 145 acres on Broadfording Church Road northeast of Clear Spring, is a residential home serving people with developmental disabilities.

Skidmore said her parents devoted their lives to the home, and to caring for Anita.

Several weeks ago, Anita sustained a broken leg. While waiting for the leg to heal, she developed pneumonia from physical inactivity, Audrey Tebbs said.

Skidmore said that Anita was on life support in the hospital. The equipment was turned off June 17, she said.

On Sunday, Anita died. She was 48.

Two days later, her 81-year-old father died after a hip operation at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Baltimore.

He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for some time, family members said.

For Audrey Tebbs, the timing of the deaths was no coincidence.

"I always thought that that's the way it should be because he did love her so much," she said.

Arnold Eby, the executive director of Star Community, witnessed their relationship.

"Mr. Tebbs was certainly devoted to her," he said. "Their lives were so intertwined."

Others who witnessed their interaction said that the pair often played games together.

"(Anita) was always very playful," said Ginny Gaylor, the director of the equestrian center at Star Community, "but when her dad was coming, or when her dad was here, she was way more playful," she said.

Gaylor described Anita as a "daddy's girl" and said that she would "latch onto" her father when he came to visit her at the home.

Eileene Carbaugh, a crew leader at Star Community, said she had been close to Anita since beginning work at the Anita Lynne Home when the two were teenagers, she said.

"She was family to me," Carbaugh said. "She was like a sister to me."

Carbaugh said that she had similar feelings toward Richard Tebbs and his wife.

"They treated you like family ...," she said. "I felt like I was more family than an (employee)."

Carbaugh said the bond between father and daughter was undeniable.

"Their closeness was really there," she said. "The love that each one of them had for each other was definitely seen and known when those two were around."

A joint funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at Victory Baptist Church in Boonsboro. Burial will be in Cedar Lawn Memorial Park.

Audrey Tebbs said the family was coping well with the losses.

"The family is all happy, there's no real sadness because we know they are so much better off," she said.

"We're all taking it fine, and we're trusting the Lord's going to take care of them now," she sad.

Skidmore said the short time between the deaths was fitting.

"It was just such great timing," she said. "God had it all figured out that they would go together. The fact that they both went together was kind of a miracle."

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