June 12, 1959 ~ May 26, 2021

Born in: Orange Co., NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Susan Strayhorn Barbour passed away on May 26, 2021, in Asheville.

Family was the most important part of Susan’s life. She was a devoted daughter, and loving wife and mother. She encouraged, nurtured and enjoyed relationships and visiting with in-laws and extended family, including beloved brothers and sisters in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Susan is survived by her husband Fred Barbour, son and daughter-in-law Brian and Jacki Barbour, son Jason Barbour, and her parents Bob and Helen Strayhorn.

Susan was born in 1959 and was raised in what was then rural Orange County, in the New Hope community between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. She enjoyed the lifelong bonds with friends and neighbors that were forged growing up on her parents’ farm. One of her talking points in later job interviews was her livestock raising & showing experiences as a child and teen.

Susan earned her political science degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. She enrolled in law school at UNC in the fall of 1981, graduating with honors in 1984, and also finding time to get to know her classmate and future husband Fred. Susan settled in Asheville with Fred and cultivated a good home for their sons Brian and Jason. Susan practiced law for more than 30 years in Asheville, including two decades with McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A.

Susan had a lifelong practice of kindness to others. She made everyone welcome in her home, often feeding the crowd that gathered with her sons and nieces. She volunteered and served with distinction with many organizations including the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Charitable Trust, and the Asheville Humane Society.

Reading was Susan’s favorite free-time occupation. She devoured books, and could not be pulled away to other activities when she had “just a few pages left.” She also enjoyed cooking, following old family recipes, learning new ones online, and whipping up delicious meals from scratch based on whatever was at hand. She delighted in surprising family and friends with their favorite foods on special occasions. She loved the outdoors and was an avid walker, hiker and boater. She enjoyed movies the way others might enjoy music, learning her favorite scenes and dialog by heart.

Susan is missed immensely, but will be remembered forever with love.

There are two separate Memorial Services scheduled:

Asheville, North Carolina
A Memorial Service is scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 2:00 pm at the Blue Ridge Room in Highsmith Student Union on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, 700 Founders Drive, Asheville, NC 28804. Rev. Mary Caldwell will officiate. Masks are required consistent with UNCA policy. The family will receive friends following the service.

For those unable to attend, you may follow the service live streamed at a link to be found at www.mwblawyers.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Susan Barbour to the Asheville Humane Society.

Hillsborough, North Carolina
A Memorial Service is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm at New Hope Presbyterian Church 4701 NC Hwy 86, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Rev. Kerri Hefner will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Susan Barbour to the Asheville Humane Society, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville, NC 28806


Memorial Service: June 1, 2021 2:00 pm

Blue Ridge Room in Highsmith Student Union, UNCA
700 Founders Drive
Asheville, NC 28804

Memorial Service: June 5, 2021 2:00 pm

New Hope Presbyterian Church
4701 NC Hwy 86
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road
856 Tunnel Rd.
Asheville, NC 28805


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  1. We remember Susan with great fondness, and our prayers and thoughts are with Fred and the entire extended family. We are so sorry for your loss.

  2. I am saddened to hear of Susan’s passing. My thoughts & prayers are with the family at this time. Susan was a bright & shining star, she will be missed & remembered by many.

  3. Susan would light up the lives of those around her. She was very kind and understanding. She will be missed and remembered fondly by all who knew her. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

  4. Our deepest sympathies to Fred, Brian, Jason, Bob and Helen. Susan & I were roommates in Raleigh during a summer Institute For Government internship (1981) and remained friends for years afterward. We are praying for the kind of comfort only God can provide during a time of deep grief. Our 27 year old son died last year. We know grief. Our heartfelt love & sympathies to you all as you adjust to this amputation to your family.

  5. Fred sending my condolences and love to you, Jason and Brian. When I helped her out when Jason was young she was always so appreciative. She became a good friend.

  6. Susan was one awesome lady! Our most recent visits were at Ingles and always enjoyed catching up on our families. Susan is one of those people that have made an indelible mark on many organizations. We are blessed to have known her. Prayers and sympathy for Fred, Jason, Brian and family and her many, many friends.


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