Published: Jul 22, 2012 12:04 AM
Modified: Jul 22, 2012 12:04 AM
Marilou Fay Barns Curtis (aka “Mimi”) was born March 1, 1926 in St. Petersburg, Fla., the only child of Carmen Louise Sparks Barns and Frederick Kelso Barns of Sabina, Ohio.
She attended Vanderbilt University and Oklahoma University, graduating in microbiology. In 1977 she earned a master’s of science degree in botany. In 1945, in Miami, Okla., she married Thomas Edwin Curtis. They lived in Durham, N.C., where she worked in various labs at Duke Hospital. The family moved to Raleigh in 1952 and settled in Chapel Hill in 1954.
Mimi and her husband were members of the founding congregation of their neighborhood church. It was then 1966, and they were leading the way, against numerous obstacles, toward an “intentional community of racial reconciliation”; thus the church’s name: The Church of Reconciliation.
In addition to many decades serving the church, Mimi was a PTA member, a substitute teacher and a phenomenally strong presence in the Suzuki music community. She was famous in the ’80s and ’90s for driving around in a big station wagon, full of kids practicing the violin. They could be spotted on their way to and from Raleigh, school, soccer practice, ballet, swimming – all the opportunities that Mimi ensured her grandchildren would have.
Mimi frequently said she felt so lucky to have lived such a good life, to have really gotten what she wanted – in particular, all her children and grandchildren. She praised her husband for his honesty, her children for their choices and her grandchildren for their gifts to her life.
She is survived by her husband, Thomas Curtis; her three children, Susan Jane Curtis, Theresa Curtis and Liz Holm; her five grandchildren, Brown Biggers and his wife, Brooke Spangler, Carmen Biggers, Jennifer Curtis, J.T. Sauls and James Sauls; and her two caregivers, Deborah Shantzek and Grace Wanjihia. She was predeceased by her son, Freddie Curtis.
A service is being held today, July 22nd at 3:00 p.m. at the Church of Reconciliation on Elliott Road. A memorial concert to honor Mimi with music will take place in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting that donations be made to the N.C. Botanical Garden or Alzheimers North Carolina Inc.
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