Barbara Keyworth

Celebration of Life

12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Southern Village Community Park
1300 HWY 15-501 South
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Celebration of Life

Obituary of Barbara Keyworth

Please share a memory of Barbara to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Barbara “Barb” Keyworth, who devoted her life to helping others, died on March 7, 2024, after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in January. She was 72.

Barb is survived by her husband, John Rees; her stepchildren, Kathryn Rees and Kimberly Rees, whom Barb loved from her very early days with John; her brother, David Crotts of Raleigh and his wife Jan; and many devoted friends and admiring colleagues in the local psychotherapy community. She was predeceased by her parents, Frank Allred Crotts and Dorothy Crotts (nee Spraugue).

After high school in Burlington, NC, Barb  earned a B.A. and Masters of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked with victims of domestic violence before taking a position in the Duke University Department of Psychiatry where she specialized in addiction treatment. Those positions, combined with her early training at mental health centers and two eating disorder programs, gave her a broad base for helping clients with a variety of problems. When she started a private therapy practice in 2000, she focused on additional training in couples work. She also served  as a counselor in critical incident interventions for many years.

Barb’s presence has been described as “filled with light, warmth, intellectual curiosity and humor.”  She was devoted to John, Kathryn  and Kimberly and the large cycling community in the Triangle as a longtime ride leader in the Tarwheels. She was a joy to see on bike rides throughout Orange County,  leading weekly outings. She also loved reading, sailboarding, bluegrass music festivals, European bike trips, and spending time in Santa Fe and Topsail Island.

Heartfelt thanks go to the exceptional hospice staff (doctors, nurses, social workers) at UNC Hospice, who provided a peaceful and compassionate environment for Barb and her family in her final days.

A celebration of Barb’s life will be held at the Southern Village Community Park on April 20 from 12:30-3:30. If possible, please wear something turquoise, her favorite color. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW),, or its North Carolina chapter,

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