Barbara Pierro Jemison: 1947 to 2020

Barbara Jean Pierro Jemison, 73, of Ocracoke died at home on March 15 surrounded by loving family and friends, as well as her beloved cats.

Born Jan. 1, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, she was a daughter of Gabriel and Lillian Pierro.

Barb lived a life full of great professional accomplishments and deep personal relationships. From an early age, she was a feisty, motivated child and her rebellious nature would serve her well in breaking glass ceilings. Barb was an ever-energetic business executive having worked her way through the corporate ranks and earning the respect of peers and associates.

She traveled internationally often and met many senior business and government officials throughout the world, all the while living a unique and fulfilling personal life.

However, the most important day in her life is easily said to be the one where she met the love of her life, William (Bill) Jemison, who died in 2010.

Barb and Bill were married in May of 1984, and after adopting Ocracoke as their home a few years later, they became ever-present staples of the unique island community.

Family, friends, food and laughter were the focal points of their lives. Despite the challenges of island life, no hurdle would be too great for them to find joy and happiness in being together and sharing in the lives of those around them. Moreover, even though many of her family and friends were widespread across the country, Barb would make every effort every year to have them travel to Ocracoke and feel welcome in her home. For nearly all of her guests, going to see Aunt Barb was usually the highlight of their year.

Barb was similarly passionate about making a positive impact in her community. Activism and participation in local groups, committees and boards resulted in many significant enhancements around Ocracoke over the years. Some of these include the advancement of the Youth Center, the building of the Community Park & Ballfield, the founding of Ocracats and the restoration of the Community Center, to name a few.

Barb was also known to make many behind the scenes efforts to directly help her family, friends and neighbors, either by personally assisting them in the midst of life struggles or enriching their lives through her generosity.

Barb was preceded in death by her father Gabriel (2006) and nephew Michael (1980).

The family is planning a public celebration of life for Barb that will take place later this year. All who knew her will be invited to attend and celebrate a life well-lived. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Ocracats ( or the Ocracoke Community Park ( non-profit organizations.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at

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