Barbara Fisher McLain was born Feb. 25, 1935, into the late Jim and Annie Fisher family in East Marion, and died Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at the Regional Hospice Home of Spartanburg, S.C.
She is survived by her two beloved and devoted daughters, Kay McLain of Spartanburg, S.C., and Carolyn McLain of the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center in Morganton.
Barbara was educated in the East Marion and Marion public schools and graduated in 1957 with a BS degree from the Women's College in Greensboro (now UNC-G). Her degree qualified her to teach science, which she briefly did in Ohio before returning to McDowell County. Upon returning to McDowell, she was offered the opportunity to help pioneer the Special Education Program for McDowell, and she willingly did so following her lifelong motto to "serve where I am needed." She was the lead teacher of the Special Education Program for the trainable mentally handicapped children in the McDowell elementary schools of Cross Mill, Eastfield, and West Marion until her retirement. In her 30-year career, she was beloved by students and parents alike.
Loving and serving God, family, church, children, and people in need drove Barbara throughout her life, and everything she did she did with excellence. Her second motto of life was, "As God blesses us, let us be a blessing." In addition to teaching, Barbara served as a hospice volunteer for nearly 20 years, earning the Governor's Award for her tireless, loving care; served several churches throughout her life as organist (the last being several decades at Story Memorial Presbyterian Church); tutored at-risk children after her retirement; served as a North Carolina state board member of the Mental Retardation Association (monitoring and advocating for the highest quality of service for residents in the five North Carolina state centers for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities); played the piano for many years at Autumn Care of Marion with the ministry of the WMU ladies of Garden Creek Baptist Church; and, truly, "served where she was needed" reaching out to others with love, prayer and practical service on a daily basis.
In addition to her two daughters, she is survived by a sister and brother-in-law, Joanne and JT Davis of Black Mountain; two nephews and their families, Joey and Kelly Davis of Morganton, and Jim and Julie Davis of Heath, Texas; one niece, Jane Ann Waian of Portland, Oregon; great-nephews and nieces, Brennan, Savannah (Daniel), Jesse, Riley, Emily, and Thomas; and two great-great-nephews, Aiden and Sawyer.
A private family service will be held, and a public celebration service honoring Barbara's life will be announced for a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials will also be announced at a later date.
Westmoreland Funeral Home is serving the McLain family and condolences may be sent at www.westmorelandfuneralhome.com.