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Demaine Funeral Home

520 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA

OBITUARY

Barbara A. McMurray

September 7, 1953July 30, 2019
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Barbara Alisa McMurray of Alexandria, Virginia

Born to William and Barbara McMurray, Asheville, North Carolina, September 7, 1953. Barbara’s final moment, minutes before midnight, July 29, 2019, was filled with full, slow breath, at home with her husband at her side. For many years, Barbara outpaced Alzheimer’s disease, speaking and smiling until some few days before the end. She is survived by her husband, Michael Curtis; her siblings, Lori & Richard Kelley, and Robin Haynes; Matt & Kim Curtis, Stacie & Van McWilliams, and Jeff Curtis; step-children, Amaron Curtis & fiancé Shannon Gerken, Jonathan & Marianne Curtis; grandchildren, Christian, Layla, James, Alesia, Patrick, Charles; many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. Allison McMurray, Barbara’s sister, and Tammie Curtis, Barbara’s sister-in-law, preceded her along the way to heaven.

Early, Barbara began her travels, following her parents through brief stationing at Shalimar, Florida and Bangor, Maine before settling in Cary, North Carolina, where, in 1971, she graduated from Cary High School. From there, a brief distance down the road to North Carolina State University, here, four years later, Barbara achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Soon, at 24, Barbara would lead American tourists behind the USSR, iron curtain, an adventure which began a 37-year career in international business: the Africa-Asia territory of a trade publication; Director, Export Assistance, Leather Industries of America; Vice-President, International Trade, Valve Manufacturers of America; program management for the US Department of Agriculture, et cetera, with experience in over 60 countries, including years in South Africa.

Returning to the United States, in 1993 Barbara was appointed Director of The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a division of the University of North Carolina’s Business School; in 2000, she became a Vice-President of the National Association of Home Builders, among the largest US trade associations, and from 2007 until 2011 Barbara served as Senior Vice-President, responsible for directing four divisions of the 200,000 member association. Then, until 2015, Barbara McMurray was Chief Executive Officer of the International Housing Coalition. During her career, Barbara increased US Exports, grew international cooperation, and was honored with many awards and recognitions.

Career highlights include, all-night drinking with dancers of the Bolshoi; bribing her way out of Venezuela during a coup; saving a Cessna from crashing in the Andes (the pilot was incapacitated in tears); flying over Hungary in a plane full of goats; meeting with Heads of State, dignitaries, diplomats and suave businessmen; negotiating the release of hard currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe; requiring armed escort in several countries; concluding in Berlin a German-American trade association agreement while outside her window the Berlin Wall came down; and, attending one, but only one, bullfight.

In retirement, Barbara, “BB”, had leisure to enjoy her Belle Haven neighbors, her large family and very many friends, to travel with her husband and precious poodles, Lucy and Maggie, to farms and ranches and rivers and mountains, and to the ocean, her favorite place. Barbara was a patriot with a deep commitment to good and right; she loved deeply, and made it known with cards, calls, and little gifts; her eyes sparkled when she smiled; when she spoke, the South’s gentility lingered, lightly; her humor was full, innocent yet worldly; she knew what to wear, what to say, she had a sense of fashion which allowed an easy movement around the world, through a room, person to person with love and consideration. We might expect, that when in heaven, BB will have met most everyone and will warmly introduce each of us to all around. God love you, Barbara McMurray.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Visitation Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Visitation Saturday, August 17, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, August 17, 2019

Memories

Barbara A. McMurray

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Christine Williams

August 16, 2019

We met in an elevator more than 30 years ago with, "Hi, I'm Barbara McMurray," and 16 floors later, in an apartment building we had both just moved into, one floor apart, we had become life long friends. . .a friendship that saw us through life's ups and downs. . .adventures and the mundane. I will always cherish the trips we took to Greece, London, and Oregon, and, of course, countless trips to Nordstroms and Starbucks. . . And, our walks with Lady, Lucy and Maggie!! Barbara you were an amazing friend and I am a better person for having known you. Forever in my heart!

Gerhard Golden

August 7, 2019

Barbara,

You were a lifelong friend to the Golden clan, and especially to me. When I originally arrived in DC from South Africa - not knowing anyone - you graciously involved me in all of the activities with your friends and family. I will never forget the X-Files and pizza, and long philosophical and political discourses in the kitchen of your previous home in Old Town Alexandria. You will forever have a special place in my heart and I look forward to continuing the discussions in heaven!

Thank you for always being there for me, and later my family. Meeting Mareli, attending our wedding and driving to New Jersey for Lana's baptism meant the world! I wish we could have been closer so you could see Lana, Lucas and Mia more, but this life is a hurried one.

Finally, thank you for bringing Michael into our lives. He is an amazing man and heaven will rejoice when you two are rejoined in the life hereafter.

With all our love,

Gerhard, Mareli, Lana, Lucas and Mia

Gay Sharon Brothers

August 7, 2019

Barbara,
I have so many memories of you...We met in 1962 after Walter began working for your dad..We were treated as family by your parents ...you and Sue became friends and spent time together in the summers when she came to spend time with me,
Later you were able to baby sit our three sons...
I have so many fond memories,,,,
May you rest in peace...

Love to you,
Gay Sharon Brothers

Joan Cantor

August 6, 2019

Friends for over 30 years, BB was/is beyond dear to me, and to my grown up children. Her many accomplishments are amazing, but her true calling, I believe, was as a friend. No one in my whole life of 73 years ever said, “I love you” more than BB. Holding her in my heart always.

Claudia Graham

August 6, 2019

BB,
There are no words...thank you for 48 years of friendship, unlike any other. 2606 Van Dyke Ave, Three's Company, laughter, and love. Rest in peace dearest friend.

Kimberly Curtis

August 5, 2019

She was such a beautiful Southern Women.,she wore it with such elegance. She was such a great conversationalist and could speak with you on every topic. I love how when she talked she looked right at you and cared about everything you were saying.. she wore all her feelings on her face it was Great .We also had a ton of fun together and she had the best sense of humor. The girl was the life of the party. Not Goodbye BB but save a place for me in your social Calendar in Heaven,. So we can carry on where we left off. We will take good care of Michael for you Much Love Matt and Kim

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