March 3, 1948 ~ October 24, 2017
Constance Lilley Barbee
Constance “Connie” Lilley Barbee, 69, of Pinehurst, passed away Tuesday, October 24 at Duke University Hospital in Durham. A lover of art, flowers and faith, she was known by everyone for her devotion to her family and friends, and her beautiful spirit.
Born on March 3, 1948 in Asheville, Connie was one of three children born to William Walker Lilley and Lola Mae Wilson, and was also loved and raised by her stepfather, Charlie Sawyer. She spent a happy childhood on a farm in Old Trap, nurtured by her Aunt Cele who shaped her spirituality from an early age. She attended college at East Carolina University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education which became her life’s foundation.
After graduation, Connie married the love of her life, George Sprite Barbee, III, in July 1970. They created some of their favorite memories during their early days in Fayetteville and Ft. Meyers, FL, and later settled in Moore County to start a family. They raised three children: Cragan, Lucia and Christopher.
Connie began her career as an elementary school teacher in Hamlet by helping special needs children learn to read through a Reading Recovery program. She left her profession after Cragan was born and devoted the next several years of her life to her three children, making sure they had the foundation they needed to succeed. After each child received a college degree, she returned to the workforce alongside her husband to become the general manager of their family-owned community pharmacy in Raeford. Teaching remained her passion, however, as she was a beloved Sunday school teacher for 30 years. “Miss Connie” taught parable songs to preschoolers who adored her. She was a strong woman of faith who cherished hymns and quiet devotional time.
Art was a big part of her life. Connie loved music and painting – often joking that she was an “artist in another life.” When she wasn’t cozied up watching Masterpiece Theater and BBC mystery shows with Sprite, she was researching genealogy. She was also a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Order of the Eastern Star.
As an association member of the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, Connie cultivated two of her biggest passions: the Outer Banks and flowers. She spent hours walking through her gardens at home with her grandchildren, teaching them to appreciate the beauty and delicacy of her favorite blooms.
Connie is survived by her husband, Sprite; her three children, Cragan Barbee, Lucia Riley (Brad Riley) and Christopher Barbee; two brothers, Jim Lilley and Gary Lilley (Kathy Lilley); and two grandchildren, Emma and Landon.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, November 2 at 11am at Southern Pines United Methodist Church. A reception will follow the service in the church fellowship hall, with a private burial taking place at a later date.
To honor her beautiful life, floral donations will be accepted by the Powell Funeral Home in Southern Pines.