Dr. Barbara H. "Bobbie" Capps

dr. barbara capps
Dr. Barbara H. "Bobbie" Capps, 85, passed away Sunday, December 31, 2017, at her home. Born in Asheville on June 26, 1932, she was the daughter of the late Robert Fletcher Capps and Helen Stroupe Capps. A salutatorian in her Fairview High School (Buncombe County) class of 1950, she then attended Asheville-Biltmore College (now UNC-A) where she earned an associate degree. She transferred to Florida State University where she earned her B.S. Ed. Degree in Elementary Education. She taught for several years at Belvedere Elementary School, West Palm Beach, FL, prior to returning to the mountains. During her public school career, she also taught at Oakley School, Asheville and Piedmont Junior High in Charllotte. In 1960 she accepted a position as a supervising teacher at what was then the Camp Lab School at Western Carolina University. While teaching at Camp Lab, she earned an MA Degree at WCU. In 1968, she accepted a faculty position at WCU. While continuing to teach at the University, she attended summer sessions at Indiana University. She took faculty leave and completed a year if residency work at IU, and served as a Teaching Associate. She completed requirements for her doctorate and received her Ed.D degree in August, 1973. Dr. Capps returned to her teaching position at WCU and remained on the faculty until her retirement in 1994. Her areas of teaching included middle level child and curriculum, adolescent literature, advanced language arts, student teacher supervision, and graduate practicum. She was instrumental in helping school systems throughout Western North Carolina to establish middle school programs. Her philosophy of teaching centered on learning as experience, of involving students in making their own discoveries, whether they were children or adults. During her 40-year education career, Dr. Capps participated in a variety of educational activities. She taught Jamaican teachers in Kingston and on the WCU Campus. For spring semester, 1983, she served as consultant to the education faculty at the University of Swaziland, Africa. She designed three new curricula in primary grades education to train Swaziland elementary school teachers at university level. Prior to this, elementary school teachers received only a secondary level education. While in Swaziland, she conducted workshops, consulted with Ministry of Education leaders, and visited primary schools. Dr. Capps taught graduate courses in the WCU-Asheville program every semester from 1976 until 1994. She also taught courses in reading and math at Southwestern Community College. She served as coordinator of the department's Middle Grades Education Programs. She was a member of the NC State Middle Level Board of Directors for several years, and served as Region 8 Director for many years. Dr. Capps, in collaboration with Henderson County Schools, received a grant of $18,950 for the project "An Alternative Approach to Middle School Certification" which was conducted in Henderson County in 1992-93. While at WCU, she received a Golden Apple award for her helpfulness to students beyond her normal staff obligation. In 1993, she was among faculty nominated for the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1996, the Barbara H. Capps Outstanding Junior in Middle Grades Education Award was established by her department in recognition of her contributions to the field. She had been a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Education Society since 1976. At the chapter level (Alpha Iota) she had served twice as chapter president, first vice-president, and parliamentarian. She served as chair of nominations committees for a number of years. She also served on the program of work committees at the NC State level. Other areas of service include Church relations committee of Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Jackson County Library, and support of Jackson County ARF (for animals). She was a member of a Relay for Life team for the Cancer awareness event in Jackson County for several years. She had been a member of St. John's Episcopal Church since 1961. For several years, she typed and mimeographed church bulletins each week. She had served as church treasurer, member of the Vestry, both as Junior and Senior Warden, as well as member of the Altar Guild. She twice served as president of the Episcopal Church Women, taught church school children for nine years, helped develop the church Memorial Garden and served as committee chair for 16 years until 2013. On the diocesan level, she was past chair of the Western Deanery and served on the board of the WNC-ECW. She was also president of Briarwood Properties, Inc., a real estate corporation she established in 1992 to develop the upscale Briarwood subdivision. In 2004, she established the Capps Family Memorial Endowment Scholarship Fund at WCU to honor her late parents, and to encourage students who have a strong interest in teaching middle grades, and who truly need financial assistance. She had been a sponsor for several children through the Children International Program for a number of years. She enjoyed reading, tennis, and hiking. She especially enjoyed outings on the Blue Ridge Parkway. For several years, she coordinated annual overnight hiking groups to Mt. Laconte in the Smokies. She enjoyed cooking, getting together with friends, and working outdoors. She is survived by several cousins, many friends and former students. A Memorial Service will be held at St. Johns Episcopal Church, Sylva, NC, on Saturday January 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM. A reception will follow in the St. Johns Parish hall. All in attendance are invited. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: the Capps Family Scholarship Fund, WCU, Cullowhee, NC 28732; the Boys and Girls Homes of NC, PO Box 127, Waccamaw, NC 28450; or Four Seasons Hospice, 221 N Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792 Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue is assisting with the arrangements.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dr. Capps greatly impacted the members of Alpha Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. She was a role model for our vision statement of leading women educators impacting education worldwide! She was also a pillar of strength,uniting women educators in a genuine spiritual fellowship.She was very modest and never bragged about all of her accomplishments and contributions. We were all so very proud to see her recognized when she received the distinguished Golden Key Award for Region XI in 2016 at the Eta State Conference. She will be greatly missed by her Alpha Iota sisters and Eta State sisters as well.

  2. Dr. Capps is an inspiration to all educators. She has mentored many female leaders and is a beacon to each of us to guide students and each other toward a better world. Dr. Capps will be missed by all who knew her. I am honored to have known this magnificent person.

  3. Dr. Capps was an outstanding member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Through this organization is how I met Dr. Capps. She was very welcoming to me as I came as a visitor to her chapter. Barbara will be missed by all members; she was a vital member of Alpha Iota Chapter. May she rest in peace.

  4. I had Dr. Capps when I was @ Western. I had always LOVED children’s literature, but she introduced me to many wonderful books that I had missed. I will forever be grateful to her for this. I liked her immensely!

  5. Dr. Capps was an especially lovely person and one of my favorite teachers while at WCU. I believe all her students were special to her and I’m so thankful to have met and studied under her tutelage. May ZGod comfort family and friends during this difficult time.

  6. Dr. Capps was an especially lovely person and one of my favorite teachers while at WCU. I believe all her students were special to her and I’m so thankful to have met and studied under her tutelage. May God comfort family and friends during this difficult time.

  7. Barbara was a friend of mine for the past seventeen years, since I became a sister of hers in the Alpha Iota chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a huge inspiration to me in the officers’ positions she urged me to seek and hold. A genuine kindness, a clever sense of humor, and a natural born speaker and leader were all among the sparkling characteristics of Barbara’s wonderful personality, and makes her memorable in my mind, as well as countless others who knew her as a teacher and a professional leader, as I did in both roles. I will miss her!

  8. I remember Dr. Capps fondly as one of my favorite professors at WCU. She was no nonsense, yet fun and encouraging.

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