Chapel Hill: Obituaries

Barbara Jean McGee Gutierrez Green (Bobbe)

Barbara Jean McGee Gutierrez Green, beloved mother, aunt, cousin and friend, died peacefully on the evening of June 8th at Duke University Hospital with her daughter at her side.

Born July 15, 1919 in Oakland, California to Anna Meyer and Charles Augustus Anson McGee she was the youngest of 4 girls and was raised in and commenced her education in her native state, graduating from Marlborough School for Girls then advancing to Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and finally receiving her B.S. from the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon, Eugene where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Her appreciation and aptitude for all forms of artistic expression manifested in both visual and performing arts throughout her life. A gifted soprano--making an early debut at Marlborough as the judge in Trial By Jury--she performed with numerous choral groups and in musical theatre including a later production of Fiddler On The Roof in which she appeared alongside her mother and daughter.

She began a brief career in radio at the news department of KNX while living in Los Angeles and worked for Santa Barbara stations KDB, KTMS and KIST (as Barbara The Radio KIST Shopper) after moving there in 1945 with her mother and father.

During this time she appeared frequently on local stages--portraying Emily in Our Town--and dancing and playing castanets as a member of the Spanish dance troupe where she met her first husband, Peter Nolan Gutierrez.

In 1983, following the death of her mother, Bobbe made a sweeping life change and moved to Chapel Hill from Santa Barbara to marry Philip P. Green, Jr. Here she began some of her most treasured friendships and it was this that sustained her through adversity and joy alike.

An avid gardener she applied her artist’s eye and the muscle to back it up to the enrichment of every plot she ever called home ceding many happy hours to the call of the wild leaf pile.

No one was ever safe from the searching gaze of her camera which, though deeply under appreciated at the time, has left behind a legacy of family chronicles of inestimable value.

To know Bobbe was to experience her keen sense of justice, her abiding love for animals, her advocacy for the underdog and her deep well of kindness. Once her friend you were assured of her fierce loyalty and her selfless generosity. Most of all to know her was to laugh with her, to find the humor in any situation and truly, fully laugh.

The last surviving member of her family unit she has now joined her beloved parents and sisters Betty (Elisabeth) Stewart, Theiline Pigott McCone and Annele (Anna Helene) Ashman.

She is survived by her daughter, Anna Marie Gutierrez and husband Rob Hamilton of Chapel Hill; nephews Charles Alonzo Ashman, and William McGee Ashman and wife Penny of Palm Springs, California; great niece Patricia Ann Heine, great grand nieces Sydnie Ann, Meghan Patricia and Barbara Lorraine (Bobbe) Silbernagel of Madison, Wisconsin; cousins Florale Goldsmith McGuire formerly of Berkeley and Bernard John Goldsmith of Hollister, California; and James Richard Steimke of Riverside, California; and a host of extended family in several states.

The family offers its sincere gratitude to the members of Barbara's dedicated private care team for their invaluable contributions in the last months of her life.

A Memorial Celebration will be held on Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 3 p.m. at the Won-Buddhist Meditation Temple Dharma Hall, 8021 Old N.C. 86, Chapel Hill. The Reverend Robin Renteria will officiate. As shoes are not permitted in the temple the family respectfully requests that attendees bring a pair of socks to wear indoors. Memorial contributions may be made to the animal advocacy or American Indian charity of your choice.