Mrs. Katie Barnhill, daughter of the late Horace Blount, Sr., and the late Nellie
Blount, was born on July 22, 1935 in Lumberton, NC. Katie passed away
peacefully on October 8, 2021 at Lumberton Health and Rehabilitation in
During high school, she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Barnhill, but they
did not reconnect until later in her life. She graduated from J. H. Hayward High
School in Lumberton, NC. After high school, Katie attended Johnson C. Smith
University in Charlotte, NC where she received a BA degree in Education. This
was a special accomplishment for her because “education and teaching” were
always important to her whether she was in the classroom, home, church, etc.
Her teaching career spanned over 30 years. During those years, she taught at
elementary schools in Eden, NC; Gaffney, SC; and Lumberton, NC. She especially
loved teaching at W.H. Knuckles Elementary School in Lumberton, NC. She
retired from teaching in 1998. Some of the amazing things that she did as a teacher
were always focusing on teaching her students about the many accomplishments of
African Americans, dressing up in African attire for Black History Month, and
inspiring her students to achieve greatness in the classroom and life.
Katie was also active in her church and community. When she was young, she
played the piano for First Baptist Church. She was adamant about attending
church every Sunday. She loved First Baptist Church and would say on many
occasions when she passed by the church, “that’s my church”. Katie dressed sharp
every Sunday and she was especially known for wearing her many beautiful
church hats and high heel shoes that she loved.
She also became involved in the lives of a few kids at First Baptist Church. She
would make sure they attended Sunday school on a regular basis.
At First Baptist Church, she was a member of the Church’s Missionary. As a part
of the group, she visited the sick and the shut-in, provided them gifts, sent them
cards for the holidays, and conducted programs for them. Also, Katie was a
member of the United Order of Tents where she cared for the sick and the elderly
and those in need.
Additionally, she used her education and experience as a teacher to continue
teaching and mentoring young people in South Lumberton. She established a book
club with several boys and girls that she met with on a regular basis. She took
them under her wing to help them to grow and mature in a positive way and to help
form their futures. Katie was also a member of the National Association of
University Women. As a part of this organization, she played an active role in
educational outreach services in South Lumberton.
During her retirement, she spent lots of time with her daughters traveling to
various places such as Hawaii; Albuquerque, NM; Philadelphia; New York;
Memphis, TN; various New England states; New Brunswick, Canada as well as
Birmingham, AL to hear her nephew, Rev. Horace Blount, III, preach. Katie also
enjoyed spending time with her only granddaughter, Maya. Maya always said
Grandma taught her math and reading skills.
Katie loved the holidays especially Christmas and Thanksgiving because those
holidays were about family. She decorated the house for every holiday.
Katie was active as a youth and loved playing basketball. She was a lifelong, avid
sports fan. Her favorite teams were the Dallas Cowboys and North Carolina State
University football and basketball teams. She enjoyed traveling to Dallas, TX for a
Dallas Cowboys game, San Antonio, TX for the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp,
and Canton, OH for the Hall of Fame football game.
In 1981, she married the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Barnhill. They would have
celebrated 40 years of marriage on December 26, 2021. Katie enjoyed the times
she spent with Bob especially when they entertained friends or watched sports, as
well as attending dances, homecoming, and going to the beach. Their marriage was
a blended family which included his two children, Robbin and Robert, and her two
children, Kathy and Montese.
Katie was preceded in death by her parents, Horace and Nellie Blount; her three
brothers, Horace Blount, Jr., Henry Blount, and Bernard Blount; and a half-sister,
Alfreda Augman. She is also preceded in death by her stepson, Robert Barnhill,
Left to cherish her memory is her loving and devoted husband, Robert “Bob”
Barnhill of Lumberton, NC; sister, Shirley Blount of Lumberton, NC; sister-in-law,
Madeline Clawson of Finksburg, MD; daughters, Kathy Smith of Upper Marlboro,
MD and Montese Davis of Largo, MD; stepdaughter, Robbin Barnhill of
Lumberton, NC; daughter-in-law, Erica Barnhill of Knightdale, NC;
granddaughter, Maya McDonald of Largo, MD; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family, and friends. Some of her special friends of many years include
Bernice McKee, Gloria Rosemond, Laura Rainey, Loistine DeFreece, and Priscilla
In lieu of flowers the family wishes that donations be made on the behalf of Katie Barnhill to either
W.H. Knuckles Elementary School, 1520 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Lumberton, NC 28358. May checks payable to W.H. Knuckles Elementary School.
Johnson C. Smith University at JCSU Division of Institutional Advancement, 100 Beaties Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216. Makes checks payable to Johnson C. Smith University.
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