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 and her stepchildren Kathryn Rees and Kimberly Rees, who Barb loved from her very early days with John, and her brother David Crotts of Raleigh and his wife Jan. In addition, Barb was a longtime ride leader in the Tarwheels cycling community, an avid sailboarder, a lover of bluegrass music, New Mexico, Topsail Island, and European bike trips; and a devoted colleague and friend.

Barb’s presence has been described as “filled with light, warmth, and humor.” After high school in Burlington, NC, she 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. For many years, she participated as a counselor in critical incident interventions.

In her spare time, Barb was devoted to John, Kathryn and Kimberly, and the large cycling community in the Triangle. She was a joy to see on bike rides throughout Orange County, and led weekly rides for the Tarwheels.

She is predeceased by her parents Frank Allred Crotts and Dorothy Crotts (nee Spraugue). 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.

A celebration of Barb’s life will be held at the Southern Village Community Park on April 20th from 12:30-3:30 (Please register on the eventbright so there’s an accurate head count for the caterer.) Please also wear turquoise, her favorite color. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation.

John Rees is a writer and board member of Triangle Blog Blog.

Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....