Death of retired Elon faculty member William Barbee

William Hawksley Barbee, a member of Elon’s mathematics faculty for 33 years, died on February 14 in Hickory, N.C. He was 78.

Former Elon faculty member William Hawksley Barbee died on Feb. 14, 2017.
A native of Buncombe County, N.C., Barbee was a member of the 1955 North Buncombe High School basketball championship team and was inducted into his school’s hall of fame in 2015. He went on to play college basketball at Wofford College and was a member of the NAIA District 26 Champion-National Quarterfinal team. He excelled in the classroom, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and being inducted into the school’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. He later studied at the University of Tennessee and earned a master’s degree in mathematics in 1964. 

Barbee joined the Elon faculty in 1970 after teaching at Mercer University. In 1974 he was named the second recipient of Elon’s Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was named chair of the mathematics department in 1976, serving in that capacity for two years. He retired in 2003.

Surviving are his wife of 54 years, Susan McDevitt Barbee; daughter, Beth Camacho and husband Tom of Swannanoa; sons, Bert Barbee of Greensboro, and John T. Barbee of Hickory; sister, Frankie Presley and husband Richard; brother, Tom Barbee and wife Elizabeth all of Weaverville; grandchildren, Caleb Camacho and wife Andrea, Danial Camacho, Caryn and Rebecca Camacho, Brad and Bryan Barbee; great grandson, Aran Camacho; niece, Brooke Baldwin and husband Ryan.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m., February 18, 2017, at the Chapel of West Funeral Home in Weaverville, N.C. The family will greet friends following the service and a private burial will follow.

Memorial contributions may be made to Catawba Regional Hospice, 3975 Robinson Rd., Newton, NC 28658, or the Vance Cemetery Fund, c/o Tom Barbee, 2 Blackberry Inn Rd., Weaverville, NC 28787.

An online obituary is at