Barbara West Lea


33 Westwind
Hendersonville, NC 28791


Clinical Psychologist

After graduation from CGHS in '62 I went to FSU for 1½ years and then took some time off to decide on a major. That turned out to be marriage (to Roy O'Nan) and motherhood. Just before our daughter Annette was born (1967) I finished Miami Dade, thinking I would like to teach. A few years after our son Michael was born (1969) I enrolled in the first class at FIU and in 1975 earned a BA in psychology. Roy and I split up; the children and I moved back to FSU in 1976 where I earned a masters and doctorate in clinical psychology. I never did teach because I was much more interested in doing clinical work.

It was at FSU that I met the love of my life, Mebane Lea. We have been married 20 years and life is an adventure to say the least! He was a VMI grad (class of '65)and Army officer who left the service to study marriage and family therapy at FSU where we met. He has three children (Dawn now 33, Scott 29, and Brian 26) from his previous marriage. We've had kids in college since 1985; all have degrees and now only one is in grad school (though two others are talking about returning). You could say we have done our part in supporting higher education in America. Anyway, after FSU we lived in Alexandria, VA for 2 years while I interned in DC at St. Elizabeth's Hospital and then we traded big city life for the mountains of Asheville, NC because we thought it would be a better place to raise children and enjoy life. I took a job at Appalachian Hall Psychiatric Hospital in 1982 and after 7 years, decided to start a private practice association (The Grove Clinic) which is where I plan to be for the remainder of my career (that could be many more years because I love my work). My husband took a job with the Postal Service so that he could finish his civil service retirement.

We moved to Hendersonville (20 miles south of Asheville) 10 years ago, when we discovered a wonderful home from which to view the sun setting over the Smokey Mountains. We have had a great life and have been blessed with 4 wonderful grandchildren (ages 11 to 1). Since only 2 of our kids are married, we expect lots more little ones. Visiting our kids takes us to Atlanta, Wilmington NC, Orlando and Key West. We love to travel and recently spent a week in Maine with our CGHS class of '62 friends Joy Lueke Fleming and Donna Healy Martin, and Joy's husband Timothy Fleming (CGHS '63). We've been meeting for the last 5 or 6 summers and it has been terrific, because nothing beats old friends.

Last year our classmate Jeanne Winston Stevenson joined us from Long Beach, CA. Amazingly, she and Mebane were stationed at the same place and time in Vietnam, though they didn't know each other. It is such a small world! I wish we were able to join you for the 40th reunion, however, I was one of the missing and have only found out about it the week before it is scheduled. Hope you have a great time. It has been such a treat reading about everyone's experiences. The Reunion Committee has done an outstanding job of organizing all this. Thank you for all your work. We are looking forward to the next reunion, whenever it may be, and surely will plan to be there.