Barbara Robertson

January 9, 2021

CHARLOTTE – Barbara June Gay Robertson, 83, died at her home on January 9, 2021. Her husband of 65 years was with her. She was born on July 7, 1937 at Charlotte Sanatorium to the late J. Frank Gay, Sr. and Stella Cranford Gay. She grew up in the family home on Westbrook Drive, a residential street within walking distance of the Square. While she was quite young, Barbara and her neighborhood friend walked from their home to the Charlotte Public Library on N. Tryon St. and then back home by themselves; she had a credit account for candy at a neighborhood store; she attended First Methodist Sunday School where she learned that we were called to “ doers of the word, and not merely hearers...”.

Barbara attended Zeb Vance Elementary School and Harding High School. She graduated from Harding in 1955, having met her future husband, Dick, in Ruth Yelvington’s Latin class. Thereafter, she attended Duke University School of Nursing. While a first-year student, she married her husband, Richard H. Robertson, on December 23, 1955, at West Avenue Presbyterian Church with G. Dana Waters and Clifford D. Caldwell, ministers officiating.

Barbara graduated from Duke on June 2, 1958 and received a diploma of nursing. After becoming a Registered Nurse, she worked in the Intensive Care Unit at NC Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. She described this as her most meaningful work. She found joy in the recovery of desperately ill patients.

Upon returning to Charlotte in 1962, the family established a home on the lake in Steele Creek where the children attended school. In addition to continuing part-time nursing, she was fully involved in her children’s schooling and other activities. She encouraged them to always do their best.

During the ’78-’79 school year, the family accepted a Swiss exchange student, Charlotte Wick, into their home. Barbara took a major role in organizing and managing this adventure. Through her efforts, obstacles were overcome and success achieved. Barbara’s relationships with Charlotte Frischknecht-Wick, her parents Alf and Sigrid Wick-Zolliq and the whole family of Speicherschwendi, CH were “forever” and very special to her. The families have maintained a wonderful, close friendship through the years.

At her church, Barbara served as Girl Scout leader, on the RAIN team and at Room In The Inn where she enjoyed engaging with the guests. She volunteered at Discovery Place and in the public schools. She was a long-time member of an early morning water aerobics class at the Dowd YMCA, valuing the exercise as well as the friendships she made at the Y.

Barbara loved her grandchildren and sought to establish a special relationship with each one. All her grandchildren got the message and loved their grandmother back.

This Christmas, she insisted on mailing favorite bagels to one granddaughter against advice of spoilage. The bagels were timely received safe and sound, and the granddaughter was happy.

Barbara was a proud native Charlottean.

Her demeanor was honest, open, frank and without guile.

In addition to her parents, Barbara was predeceased by her brother, J. Frank Gay, Jr. She is survived by her husband, her daughters Alison Robertson (Tim Mee) and Elizabeth R. Eslick, her grandchildren Nathan J. Conrad (Hengying Shan), Anna Abigail Mee, Sarah Marisa Mee, Mary Catherine E. McCallum (Andrew) and Suzanne Elizabeth Eslick, as well as her Swiss family Wick.

No services will be held. Memorials may be made to Dowd YMCA, 400 E. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 28202, or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Susan Brenner

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know Barbara will be missed dearly by you and her friends. I knew Barbara from water aerobics at the Dowd YMCA. She was so impressive -- so active, so alive and engaged with the world. It's hard to believe that she is no longer with us. My deepest condolences to you.

  • bill truitt

    Dick, I am sorry to learn this about your bride. Best wishes; and I hope to see you at our favorite gym again soon.


    I have made a contribution to DUKE SCHOOL OF NURSING SCHOLARSHIP FUND in Barbara’s memory!


  • Patience Brumley

    Dick, I am so very sorry to have learned that Barbara has passed away, & I am praying for you and your daughters.
    May God hold you close ~ Patience