Barbara J. Upchurch




Barbara Upchurch passed away peacefully at home with her family on May 21, after an extended illness. Born on November 21, 1941 to Charles Douglas Gardner and Laura Holt Gardner, Barbara grew up in the Rawls community of Fuquay-Varina. She was surrounded by friends and family in her close-knit community where she was a member of Rawls Baptist Church and a student at Lafayette School. It was during her high school years that she met Jerry Upchurch, the young man who would become the great love of her life. Barbara and Jerry were married in June 1960 and embarked on a 34-year journey together. They raised their two children, Wendy and Jay, and weathered all the highs and lows that life brings, soul mates forever.
When Jerry died unexpectedly in 1994, Barbara was forced to start her life over at the age of 52. She did so in courageous fashion, moving back home from Asheville and establishing a whole new life in Cary. She built a long career as an executive administrative assistant at the State Employees Credit Union, where she worked for almost 20 years. During that time, "Ms. Barbara" became a treasured member of the SECU family. She always had a listening ear and a bowl of hard candy at her desk to soothe the tired minds and throats of the young contact center reps. She would occasionally surprise everyone in the morning with a big batch of homemade blueberry muffins. Her retirement party in 2013 was a true celebration!
Barbara was a talented musician and artist, as well as a true southern cook, gifts that she passed on to her children and her beloved granddaughter, Alayna. She loved spending time with family, especially the holiday celebrations with all the in-laws and "out-laws". Her extended family would gather to cook, laugh, and celebrate each other as often as possible, and Barbara was always right in the middle of it, usually with a bit of flour on her nose as she taught Alayna how to make biscuits.
Barbara is survived by her daughter Wendy Upchurch Veasey and son-in-law Matt; her son Jerry Allen Upchurch, Jr. (Jay) and daughter-in-law Michele; her granddaughter Alayna Veasey; her dear sister Phyllis Gardner Cooper; her extended family, who were all so special to her. She was met in heaven by Jerry, her parents, grandparents, and family and friends who had gone before her and who were waiting to celebrate her homecoming. We like to think she’s once again playing her piano, and singing with the angels. She will be missed by all who knew her, and we will remember her always.
A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Street, Cary, NC on Sunday, June 24, from 3-6 pm. All are welcome to come by at any time to share memories with family and friends.
The family wishes to extend a very heartfelt thank you to the nurses who cared for Barbara these last several months, and to the wonderful people at Transitions Life Care for all the loving care and support they provided to our family in her last weeks. We hope that everyone wanting to honor Barbara’s memory will consider making a donation to this amazing organization, which is doing God’s work every single day. The address is 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.