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Home > Beloved Lit Professor, Dr. Bonnie Libby, Passes Unexpectedly

Beloved Professor, Dr. Bonnie Libby, Passes Unexpectedly

November 6th, 2012

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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Dr. Bonnie Libby teaching Chaucer

Patrick Henry College is mourning the loss of beloved Dr. Bonnie Libby, the Associate Chairman of the Department of Classical Liberal Arts and professor of literature. She has been a member of the PHC faculty since 2005.

"We are stunned by this tragic news, and I know all of you will be praying for her family and friends as they cope with this loss,” said President Graham Walker. “We do rejoice at her incredible record of faith, love, erudition and service, and the legacy she leaves in the hearts and minds of hundreds of Patrick Henry College Students.” 

In recent years Dr. Libby served as Associate Chairman of the Department of Classical Liberal Arts. She taught literature courses, including Western Literature and upper-division courses such as British Literature, Shakespeare, and the Novel. Her fields of interest include medieval literature, eighteenth-century British literature, and rhetoric. She has led enthusiastic groups of students in summer study trips to Great Britain as part of a C.S. Lewis Seminar.

She had been recovering from leg surgery undergone a few months ago, and by all accounts seemed to be making steady progress. She was visiting friends in North Carolina over the weekend. Her death is believed to have been caused by a pulmonary embolism—a blood clot possibly resulting from sitting during her long train ride a few days ago. Students, staff, and faculty met Monday afternoon in The Barbara Hodel Center Coffeehouse for a time of prayer for Dr. Libby's family.

Dr. Libby earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina in 2003, with a specialization in Medieval Literature. Earlier, she had earned an M.A. in English from SUNY Brockport, and was a graduate of Oral Roberts University. Before coming to PHC, Dr. Libby was a lecturer in English at the University of North Carolina and an adjunct professor of English at John Wesley College.

She is survived by her brother Timothy Libby of Phoenix, AZ, and her father Roy Libby, of Lancaster, PA. She will be buried next to her mother, who passed away five years ago, in a family cemetery plot in western New York state.

Dr. Libby was an enthusiastic member of Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church in Leesburg. In conjunction with Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church, Patrick Henry College will hold a memorial service on campus, in the Hodel Center gymnasium, on Sunday evening, November 11, at 7 p.m. Because of an anticipated large gathering of friends, family, church members, faculty, staff and students from PHC, attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

“We will worship the Lord together in a way that honors Dr. Libby’s personal legacy of faith in Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Walker.

The formal funeral will be held the day before, on Saturday November 10, at 1:30 p.m., in western New York State (at the O'Connell-Dougherty Funeral Home, 2041 Lake Avenue, Lima, NY).