November 5, 1983 – July 11, 2021
It is with profound sadness that the family of Amber Nichole Keohane announces her passing away on Sunday, July 11, 2021, at the age of 37. Amber was born on November 5, 1983, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was the second child and first daughter of Chamane Barrow and Timothy Keohane.
Amber came to Texas when she was 9 months old and grew up in Angleton, Texas. She graduated from Angleton High School in 2003 and then went on to Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA, majoring in Sociology and graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Following graduation, Amber accepted a job offer from the District of Columbia Center for Independent Living (DCCIL) where she spent the next 11 years working as an Independent Living Specialist, assisting other individuals with disabilities with their goals of increased independence and advocating for disability rights.
Amber was a fierce advocate for people with disabilities and changed the lives of everyone she touched. She was the first person in the Angleton School District to be mainstreamed into the school system in a wheelchair, often stating that special education should be a service and not a place. There were often instances where Amber was growing up and couldn't get into a building or she could get into a building but not in the restroom. When she was younger, Amber thought she just had to deal with not being able to access her community in the same way everyone else did but as she got older, she realized that the problems she faced were actually forms of systemic discrimination. Amber realized that her wheelchair wasn't too big but rather that doors were too small or lacked ramps for access. And she spent the rest of her entire adult life working to promote the full and equal access of individuals with disabilities in every aspect of the community.
Amber leaves an incredible legacy of making the world a more just and accessible place. Her work will live on with the countless family, friends, and colleagues that she touched and inspired. Our world is a better place because Amber was in it.
Amber was a strong Christian woman who loved God and her family deeply. She was also a courageous woman with a gentle heart and a beautiful smile and laugh that would light up a room.
A co-worker stated that Amber is a rare diamond (the best of the best). She was honest, kind, loving, understanding, funny, and would always go above and beyond to help anyone in need-always with a smile and soothing demeanor. Amber often struggled with pain due to her disability, but she never ever complained or let that stop her from reaching out to others or fighting for the rights of individuals with disabilities. She was especially passionate about assisting youth with disabilities to transition into adulthood with the supports and resources they needed to be successful and independent.
Amber had many hobbies that she enjoyed including fishing with her Dad and camping and playing board games with her Mom and MOD. She also loved to shop for great finds and watch a good Lifetime movie now and then.
Amber was and will always be her mother’s Greatest Joy.
Amber was preceded in death by Brother Christopher Keohane, Sister Amanda Keohane, Brother Michael Barrow, Grandfather Monroe Barrow, Grandfather Michael Adkins, Grandmother Linda Adkins, Grandfather Jack Ellis, Grandfather Richard Jensen, Great Grandparents John and Mary Garry, Aunt Suzette Purcell, Aunt Lori Purcell, and Uncle Patrick Keohane.
Amber is survived by Mother Chamane Barrow and "M.O.D." Charles Barrow, Father Tim Keohane and “Bonus Mom” Kathy Keohane; Sisters: Stephanie Barrow, Samantha Rice, Nicole Guilbeaux (Duke); Brothers: Robert "Charlie" Barrow, Timothy "Austin" Keohane; Grandparents: Bobbi Adkins, Mary Ellen Ellis, Pat Lacasse (Frank); Aunts: Maria Foster (Joe), Sharon Barrow (Carl), Sharon Adkins (Tod), Ede Ellis, Linda Duval (Ronnie), and Jeanette Glaze (Bob); Uncles: Ron Keohane, Ken Purcell, Rick Purcell (Sharon), Steve Keohane, Tim Purcell, David Ellis (Nina), Tod Adkins (Sharon), and Joe Ellis (Blanche); Cousins: Breeanna Adkins-Douglas, Paul Adkins, Hillary Robertson (Brent), Shawn Weems (Joe), Jeremy Purcell, Greg Rowley Jr. (Sherry), Rick Duval (Celeste), Misty Glaze, Wendy Lavoie, Sharon Fagan (Wes), Janie Cox (Dustin), Robert Ellis (Erica), Michael Purcell, Josh Cowles (Celeste), Michael Cowles, Elizabeth Yarborough, Luke Yarbrough, Nicole Glaze, Rich Glaze, Will Keeling, Stephen R. Keohane (Tara), Terri Ellis, Cody Purcell (Kristi), Jennifer Ellis, and Tim Ellis (Kristen).
Amber loved her nieces and nephews: Jeremy Hensley, Rachael Hensley, Chelsey Barrow, Chessa Barrow, Chance Barrow, Chaden Barrow, Natalie Rice, Cameron Keohane, Brennan Rice, Scarlett Mahaffey, Elijah Alexander, Duke Guilbeaux, Robert Sanders, and soon to be Marilyn Sanders.
Special thank you to Brittany Starr Wilson, Amber’s best friend of 23 years and to Deborah “Debbie” Kale and her family. Debbie was Amber’s personal attendant, working with Amber shortly after she arrived in Washington DC and throughout her many years she resided there. She was a true friend, often staying with Amber on her own time to ensure she had what she needed. She also made Amber a part of her extended family, often including her in family events.
A Gathering to Share Memories of Amber will be held Thursday, July 22nd from 5-7 PM at Restwood Funeral Home in Clute, TX. A Celebration of Amber's Life will be held Friday, July 23rd at 10 AM at Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene in Lake Jackson, TX with interment to follow at Angleton Cemetery.
A Gathering to Share Memories of Amber
Thursday, July 22, 2021
A Celebration of Amber's Life
Friday, July 23, 2021
July 23, 2021
On behalf of the Washington, D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council, on which Amber served as a highly valued member until her recent passing, I would like to offer the condolences of our entire membership and staff. Amber's contributions to the DD council were invaluable, and the five-year state plan that we are about to conclude will bear her stamp for its entire duration, through 2026. She also has made a real difference in D.C.'s independent-living movement. We greatly miss her intellect, determination and team spirit. To the Keohane family, please know that the entire DD council shares in your grief at this difficult moment. Carol A. Grigsby, Chair, D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council
July 22, 2021
I never got to meet you Amber. That's my lost. You we're an awesome lady. Chamane, Charlie and anyone that knew her was truly bless
July 20, 2021
Amber is my grand daughter whom I am very proud of, she was a very smart educated young lady that showed others with disabilities yes you can live a productive life like Amber did. I am happy knowing she is in heaven dancing with the angels .I love you Amber. I am sorry you left this world too early
GG (Pat Lacasse)
July 15, 2021
💗Your daughter Amber was a beautiful caring person. And now she is an angel. Amber was a wonderful presence in the world, her life here on earth was short but her impact was grand. She changed the lives of many. Please know I are thinking of you and wishing you peace during this time of deep suffering.
July 14, 2021
I went to school with Amber and worked as a meal aide for OSD at Edinboro University. Amber was one of the most loving individuals I've ever had the pleasure to know. She loved her family and friends deeply and talked about them often, loved sticking up for what was right and kept an open mind to those who were different from her. She always treated people with respect and kindness and had a contagious laughter. My deepest sympathies to her family during this time and to those of us who were lucky enough to find a friend in her.
July 13, 2021
I went to college with Amber. She was very classy, and a tremendously nice person. I was always impressed with her accomplishments and how bright she was. A lovely woman who will be missed.
July 13, 2021
I went to college with Amber at Edinboro University. She is a great friend, and a beautiful soul. I will remember her always. My deepest condolences to her mother and family.