Carol Ann Beerstecher Blackwell, 29, a pediatric nurse and former resident of Falls Church who also was active in the hospice movement and as a lecturer on death and dying, died of cancer Feb. 16 at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C.
In 1972, after the first of five operations for a brain tumor, Mrs. Blackwell became active in support groups for the terminally ill and their families and friends. She began working with the American Cancer Society in Chapel Hill and helped organize a hospice there. She also helped organize the Durham, N.C., chapter of Make Today Count, a national support group for the seriously ill and their loved ones.
Mrs. Blackwell lectured on death and dying at the University of North Carolina's school of nursing and worked with health professionals, clergy and others who deal with lifethreatening illnesses.
She appeared on television programs dealing with the subject of death and made personal visits to the dying and their relatives when needed.
One of her goals was to help people realize that dying need not be a lonely experience and early in February, she and her husband, Richard T. Blackwell, made a one-hour video tape, an interview with Mrs. Blackwell called "There Are Worse Things In Life Than Death."
Mrs. Blackwell was born and reared in Falls Church and graduated from the J. E. B. Stuart High School in 1967. She moved to Chapel Hill that same year and earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina in 1971.
As a student, she served as a hospital volunteer and worked with emotionally distrubed children. She also worked as a pediatric nurse in Houston, Tex., for a year and a half before returning to Chapel Hill in 1972, where she was enrolled in a master's degree program in nursing at the university before her illness forced her to quit.
In 1975, she wrote an article, "PEG and Angriography: A Patient's Sensations," which was published in the American Journal of Nursing.
She had attended the Falls Church Presbyterian Church.
In addition to her husband, of the home in Chapel Hill, she is survived by her parents, Dr. Robert E. and Yolande Beerstecher, of Falls Church, and a sister, Marian D. Beerstecher, also of Chapel Hill.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Soicety.