In Memoriam – Susan Strayhorn Barbour

We regret to inform you that 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 the last two decades with McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A.

During her legal career, Susan won numerous awards for her professionalism and real estate acumen, including achieving her specialization in commercial real estate from the NC State Bar.  She was perhaps most proud of being recognized by her legal peers with the 2012-2013 28th Judicial District Bar Professionalism Award.  Susan served the legal profession with active participation in the Real Estate Section of the North Carolina State Bar, and her law firm by serving its management committee, later as Chair of the Real Estate Practice Group, and always as a mentor and friend.

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, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, the YMCA of Western North Carolina, and the Asheville Humane Society.  Susan served in various volunteer roles for the Asheville Humane Society for over ten years, including serving as Chair of the Board of Directors.

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 on-line, 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 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.

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.