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Remembering Mary Lloyd Barbera: A Smile That Will Always Shine Bright

Mrs. Mary Lloyd Hodges Barbera passed away on April 22 at her home in High Point. She was 49 years old.

Mary Lloyd was one of North Carolina’s best junior tennis players in the 1970s and 1980s. She was ranked No. 1 in North Carolina in the Girl’s 12s, 14s and 18s, and she was ranked No. 4 in Girl’s 12s and 14s in the entire South. She won two NCHSAA State titles as a junior and senior in 1981 and 1982.

Mary Lloyd went on to compete collegiately at Peace College and NC State. At Peace College, she was named an All-American in the NJCAA. After graduating from Peace, Mary Lloyd went on to NC State University where she also competed for the Wolfpack. She was inducted into the William Peace University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. 

In 1999, Mary Lloyd joined the staff at USTA North Carolina (also known as the NC Tennis Association). That was a lucky day for so many as she began her career to promote and develop tennis in North Carolina.

She held multiple positions over the years, but her most enduring position was Director of Marketing, a role that allowed her to spread her love of tennis to all. She was always held with the highest respect and regard among all USTA staff members nationwide. 

Whenever there was a tennis event taking place in North Carolina, Mary Lloyd was in the spotlight. Everyone knew of her and the exuberant attitude she always showed. Her energy and enthusiasm for the sport and the people around it was unparalleled.

At USTA National events, Mary Lloyd was in her element. She loved fostering new ideas with other staff members from around the state, helping to achieve greater exposure for tennis every year.

Mary Lloyd was the initial recipient of the USTA Southern Marilyn Sherman Spirit Award in 2008. Few in the South were surprised that she was named to be the first person honored for enthusiastically spreading the joy of tennis. It’s impossible to mention her name in a group of tennis professionals and not be inundated by stories of everyone’s connection to Mary Lloyd. Popularity came easy for her as she was always the most positive person in the room. 

Of all the things that Mary Lloyd loved and treasured, the most was her commitment to family. Mary Lloyd was born in Henderson, NC, to Fred Murchison Hodges Jr. and Elizabeth Pulley Hodges. She was an incredible wife, daughter, sister and aunt. She was preceded in death by her father and one brother Frank Hodges.

In addition to her mother, she is survived by her husband Bobby Barbera of High Point; two brothers; Fred Hodges III (Cammy) and Jon Hodges (Melissa); a niece Sara Worth Hodges and nephew Thomas Hodges; two furry friends Sam and Zoey; and an immeasurable amount of friends and colleagues.

The family requests that memorial donations be made to Oak Ridge Military Academy, 2317 Oak Ridge Rd, Oak Ridge, NC 27310 or to the NC Tennis Foundation, 2709 Henry St Greensboro, NC 27405.