Passed away 5 June, 2008, age 81
This June  marks the anniversary of the founding of the Tucson Saguaro Chapter #58 of Romance Writers of America. We are 78 members strong, financially solvent and nearly one third of our members are published authors. We have wonderful focused programs, great attendance at our meetings and a supportive sense of community any organization would envy. This is certainly cause to celebrate.
My desire to celebrate our success is overwhelmed by my sadness at the loss of our founder, Barbara Lantz, just before midnight on Thursday night, June 5, 2008. The Sunday prior, Caroline, Frances, Marilyn and I visited Barbara in Hospice. We took a bouquet of flowers and a "Thank You" card. Our purposes were individual and several: To say goodbye, to let her know we care, to do the right thing, and to thank her for her contribution to our lives for founding our chapter. She was in her usual optimistic spirits and delighted by our appreciation, especially in front of her family. (Who among us does not want our loved ones to know other people have valued our contributions?)
As Caroline says, Barbara views the chapter as her "baby" and she was eager to hear about how we were doing. Barbara had thoroughly enjoyed her participation in the San Diego RWA chapter. When she and Rex moved to Tucson, she felt so deprived, she regrouped the organization that had gone the by the wayside years ago. I realize many others helped and participated, but nothing gets done with out the initiative of a leader, someone who says: "This is where I want to go. Does anyone want to go with me?" Leadership styles are different, the path may be bumpy or smooth, results vary for a variety of reasons, but the founding leader usually sets the tone for the organization.
Barbara and her founding board set the tone and created a model for our organization that I enjoy. I look forward to our Saturdays together. Our national ethics statement declares RWA "is designed to assist and require RWA members to exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, and other good professional practices, thereby enhancing the romance writing profession." Barbara held all those qualities and wanted the Tucson RWA to demonstrate the same. I believe we do.
In honor of the tremendous contribution Barbara made to the Saguaro RWA, the Board created the Barbara Award. It was first given in 2007 to Barbara herself. This annual award recognizes members who have contributed time, encouragement, talent and knowledge to chapter members in helping them achieve their dreams.
Thank you, Barbara, for helping us achieve our dreams. We will miss you.
2008 President, Saguaro Romance Writers