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.