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Mrs. Sylvia M. Bebinger

Obituary for Mrs. Sylvia M. Bebinger

March 18, 1927 - January 29, 2018
San Antonio, Texas | Age 90


Celebrate with her family the life of Floy "Sylvia" Martin Bebinger following her death on January 29, 2018. Sylvia was a mother, teacher, and disciple of Christ always eager to proclaim God's word in her thoughts and actions.

Sylvia, a part of God's word and truth, was formed in the womb of Floy Silvey Martin in the summer of 1926 and on March 18, 1927 in Amarillo, Texas, she was born. When asked what she recalls from her childhood she would simply respond "oh, the wind". It was in this dust bowl she developed a strong sense of the importance of education from her mother and grandfather who were both educators. After a year at the Palo Duro Junior College she emerged from the wind and the dust of the panhandle to attend SMU where she earned her bachelor's degree and then earned a teaching degree from a small school in Missouri. She spent time serving our country and the personnel of the armed forces teaching elementary students in Germany. This gave rise to lifelong friends, home movies, and endless recollections. She taught rural school children around Port Arthur, Texas. Somewhere in between she took advanced classes in education at Columbia University in New York. Drama was an interest in New York, as well, and she participated in church and community productions in her young adult years.

Around 1956 she arrived in San Antonio where her father, John "Bela" Martin, had moved with Floy a decade earlier. He set up an independent contracting business and built homes in the Alamo Heights area. Sylvia joined her parents at the local Methodist church but gravitated to the more vibrant singles group at Laurel Heights Methodist where she met her future husband James Calvin "Jim" Bebinger. She continued her career in elementary education within the San Antonio Independent School District and would go on to earn her masters in education.

Marriage with Jim was in 1958 and motherhood formally began in September 1960 when Martha was born. Martha was followed by Carol in 1963, David in 1966, and Elizabeth "Libby" in 1970. For the next 52 years Sylvia would principally be a care provider for her children, parents, and then child again as Libby developed a debilitating degenerative disease and required 24 hour care.

With the children came a debilitating illness for Jim in the early 1970s and he passed in 1978 leaving Sylvia to support herself and four children. It was in the midst of these trying times that Sylvia sought God's help and direction. While attending a church service at Laurel Heights Methodist Church in 1980 Sylvia had her transformative experience of Jesus Christ and became His Disciple. Her zeal took her to different churches and Bible Study Fellowship where the educational experience was an integral part of her transformation. Soon Sylvia was declaring to her community the path of salvation using any outlet available including her children, her church, and the local newspaper. She retired from teaching a few years later and beautifully cared for Floy and Jim's mother Marguerite "Marge" Bebinger over the next decade.

Sylvia's mission was to make God present on earth. This manifested most directly in her children. She lived to see her oldest daughter, Martha, become a nationally recognized radio reporter more formally using media to highlight shortcomings in her community in Massachusetts as well as nationwide. She continues the teaching tradition educating broadcasters. She also continued the family tradition raising 3 boys Jackson, Eli, and Jacob in Brookline Massachusetts.

Carol also continued with focused attention on the family marrying J. "Colby" Smith and bringing 5 children into the world - Austen, Britton, Cayden, Cecily, and Brayden. She continues the teaching tradition via bible school.

David developed an interest in medicine and practices outside of Boston, Massachusetts where he lives with his wife Angela "Angie" Belcher and their two boys Brazos and Travis. He continues to educate medical students and young doctors as a faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

It is with the most precious form of Sylvia's expression that we recall her youngest child Libby. She finished her education at the teaching college in San Marcos planning on following Sylvia's footsteps into elementary education only to discover God had opened up a new opportunity to reveal His special plan for her life. Libby would spend 19 years slowly deteriorating from ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease") while she developed a unique ministry demonstrating grace and dignity in the midst of inconceivable hardship and considerable suffering. Sylvia's life became Libby's life during that period and together they were an inspiration and ray of hope for their community. During this period Sylvia was able to fulfill a lifelong dream to visit Israel. Caregivers for Libby and more recently for her began to fill an important part of her life and the family remains indebted to them for their love and support.

With Libby's passing some of the fire died in Sylvia as well. Always a health advocate she developed poor sleeping habits, sleep apnea and then heart failure. In September 2017 she went back to Laurel Heights Methodist Church where she gave testament to the transformation that had occurred in her heart and in her life those many years ago. With that retelling, her mission from God appeared to be complete. In December her heart wore out and she was mostly confined to her home. Then she broke her hip a week before her death.

Sylvia would not want a telling of her life to lack an exhortation to the reader to consider Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This is the path to Salvation and Eternal Life.

We hope you will celebrate the life and times of Sylvia by being a light to your world. Let Sylvia's death be the spark to ignite your giving or sharing with a colleague, neighbor, or loved one. Flowers or contributions are less apt to spread God's love across the face of the earth than your participation in the flow of His love. At a later date we intend to place her remains at Sunset Funeral Park where Bela, Floy, Libby, and Jim's mother Marge remain.

This is the Day that the Lord as Made, Let Us rejoice and be glad in It.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 3rd at 4:00 PM in the chapel at Porter Loring on McCullough. Pastor Matt Scott will officiate.

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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