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Born: Jul 29, 1939

Date of Passing: Jul 25, 2020

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(nee BAILEY)
July 29, 1939 - July 25, 2020

Barbara Ellen Ball (nee Bailey), aged 80, died in her sleep on July 25, 2020 in Winnipeg.
Born to Bert and Hilda Bailey, Barb schooled at LaVérendrye, Earl Grey then Kelvin High School. Barb attended the University of Manitoba where she graduated with her BA in 1961. It was in her university carpool that she met her husband Bruce, in 1960 and they were married in 1962. Barb and Bruce moved to Ottawa, where Bruce found work with the public service and they started their family. Son Joe was born in 1965 and daughter Lesley in 1966. In 1968, Barb and Bruce moved back to Winnipeg to be closer to family. Their third child, son Matthew, was born in 1970.
Barb's strong social justice values led her to volunteer with the Winnipeg Friendship Centre, the Main Street Project, Klinic, Osborne House (now Willow Place Shelter) and other progressive causes. These experiences prompted Barb to return to the U of M to pursue her BSW and MSW degrees. Her studies and work in the field of addiction counselling led her to recognize the need for on-going counselling for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Gathering other like-minded colleagues, she co-founded the Women's Post Treatment Centre (now the Laurel Centre), where she was the first counsellor and eventually Executive Director as the organization grew. She continued counselling there until her retirement in 1997.
Barb was an active member of Augustine United Church, where she served on several committees and was a long-standing member of the choir. Barb shared her love of choral singing with friends and family at social gatherings and around many a campfire. She and Bruce were avid campers, taking annual trips across the country from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island, visiting family and friends along the way. Barb also enjoyed spending time at her Matlock cottage in the summers and in retirement enjoyed 27 February trips to Puerto Vallarta.
Barb was a student at the Forum Art Institute, which nourished in her a passion for art. She was a prolific painter and mixed-media artist, working in serigraph, print making, and later watercolour. Barb had a keen eye for colour. She even convinced her colour-blind husband to travel to Greece and Italy for watercolour painting trips. (This was not a hard sell.)
Barb's life was enriched by many deep and diverse friendships: from the school friends she grew up with to friends met on her travels, in addition to many bonds forged working for various causes and interests.
Barbara was an open, accepting woman. She was a dynamic force for fun and adventure. She was a critical thinker, who never shied away from a debate. She was thrifty - always cut her own hair and melted her lipstick ends to create her own colours. At her home there was only ever powdered milk - half the price but with the same nutritional value.
Barb was a caring and loving partner to Bruce for 58 years, an encouraging mother to her three children, Joseph (Caley Strachan), Lesley (John Anthony) and Matthew (Fraser Valentine) and a supportive grandmother to Emma and Angus Ball, and Sam and Mhari Anthony. Barb is survived by her brother Ted (Phyllis), her sister Ruth Brodie (late John Brodie) brother-in-law Ross Johnston (late Betty-Jo) and their families. Barbara joins many dear friends and chosen family on the other side: Sharon, Percy, Bob, John, Dianne and Gord, and leaves many friends here to grieve her.
Due to the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, a Celebration of Life is being planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages you to give a gift in Barb's memory to any of the organizations she supported, or to a worthy cause that you feel endeavours to make the world a better place, as Barb did.

Condolences may be sent to

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 01, 2020

Condolences & Memories (12 entries)

  • My deepest condolences during this time of loss. Barb played a formative role in my career, shaping many of my earliest learnings about responding to women sexually abused by children - and social work in general. Her impact in the social service network continues, even with those who don't know her directly. May you experience peace during this time of loss, remembering all that she gave to you and others. - Posted by: Heather Block (former colleague ) on: Sep 08, 2020

  • Sending our condolences to Lesley and John and family for your loss. Lesley, your mother lived her life in an inspiring way. We hope that your memories will sustain you through the difficult moments. - Posted by: Michelle Van Hove and Edwin Schaan (Friends of Lesley and John) on: Aug 29, 2020

  • Hi, Bruce, I want to express Jean's and my condolences on the passing of Barb, and wish you well in your adjustment to life without her. My associations with Barb as a colleague, and later, as a friend were meaningful and authentic and often challenged me to grow personally and professionally. Jean appreciates her time with Barb in the book club even though Barb was not on top of her game during that time. We send you and your family our warmest regards and wish all of you many years of happy memories of Barb. - Posted by: Ernie Masiowski (friend/colleague) on: Aug 23, 2020

  • To Bruce Ball and Family and friends of Barbara Ball Naomi and I extend our condolences on the passing of Barbara Ball. Barbara was an extraordinary woman who contributed so much to so many. Naomi and I remember meeting Barbara and Bruce at a Powwow at Fisher River. It was a beautiful day at an open arena/field on the edge of the River. The music and dancing were memorable. It was an example of her interest in Indigenous people and her constant search for ways to help others. Barbara had one quality which was similar to Naomi. She was able to persuade her husband to travel with her on painting trips. Jon Gerrard MLA - River Heights - Posted by: Dr. Jon Gerrard (Friend) on: Aug 20, 2020

  • I just learned that my very good friend Barb had passed away. I am deeply deeply saddened. Barb was my first friend when I moved to Winnipeg in 1976. And I soon came to know the Ball family. In those early years in Winnipeg the Ball family and home became a great place of comfort and friendship forged. Barb soon got me involved in a number of social projects. Later when Barb and Bruce spent their summers at Matlock, Ruthie and I always looked foreword to stopping for lengthy potluck picnics with them on our way to Gimli. We have so many wonderful memories and we will always remember and treasure them. And I will never forget my friend Barb and how she welcomed me to her life - her family. Bruce, Joe, Leslie and Matthew, Ruthie and I wish you strength, peace and comfort. Love, Emma - Posted by: Emma LaRocque (Friend) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • I pray for comfort and support in this time of grieving for Bruce and all of Barb's family and friends. In the midst of your sadness I know your are uplifted by the blessed memories and the incredibly valuable and valued life that was Barb's shared with you all. Personally I have felt greatly privileged in serving Bruce and Barb as their pastor for many years and greatly appreciate their wisdom, kindness, hospitality and faithful living. Bruce, I miss our outings for lunch!! As you grieve the loss of your beloved Barb I know you will be lovingly supported by so many and I pray you will find ongoing joy of life as you travel into a different future. You do not travel alone and as you know, God is a constant and helping presence. Rev. Bob - Posted by: Bob Gilbert (Minister (former)) on: Aug 05, 2020

  • We extend our fondest condolences. Barbara, both with heart and head a lovely person. She created an admirable direction in her life and accomplished so much. We alway appreciated her and Bruce's outreach when we attended St. Augustine Church. -"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!” Emerson - Posted by: Robert and Roger (Acquaintance ) on: Aug 04, 2020

  • Dear Bruce It was with much sadness that I read of Barbara's death this morning. Having had two sisters die last year just a few months apart I know how difficult this initial time will be for you and and the family.. My memory of Barb will always be her wide open smile and her willingness to be involved wherever she could be. Know that she will be remembered by many who received her loving care. Take care of yourself. - Posted by: Nancy McGregor (friend) on: Aug 03, 2020

  • We recall with great fondness our times spent with Barb and Bruce in the 60s in Ottawa. We had all attended the University of Manitoba together, and now we were starting work and raising young families. The girls were in social work while Bruce and I were young economists in the federal government. We did a lot of camping on weekends, each couple taking turns on Fridays to leave early and book spots at the local campgrounds for our fun group of 10, including our pets. This continued as we added kids to the mix. We shared many dinners, and outings with the Balls. We shared babysitting duties as our kids were the same age. Exciting times, as we learned about child raising, bought our first homes and got used to working life in those exciting, but more peaceful times. Its hard to believe that was over 50 years ago. We missed them dearly when they left Ottawa. We got together many times on our trips back to Winnipeg, and Matlock. I remember one Christmas in 1970 we listened all night to an LP Bruce had acquired called Jesus Christ Superstar – hot off the press. One visit to their cottage prompted a visit the Robie Cottage across the road, that was originally my grandparents’ summer home. That brought back a tonne of memories for me and my aunt Donna. My mother, also a social worker, was an artist in later life, and enjoyed spending time with Barb and Bruce. Bruce was a pallbearer at my mother’s funeral in 1978. We are so proud to read of Barbara’s charitable work with the afflicted and abused. She was always such a thoughtful and caring person, and these tasks seem so fitting to her character. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family, as they adjust to her passing. In time the valued memories will overshadow the loss. - Posted by: David Knowles (friend) on: Aug 02, 2020

  • I send my heartfelt condolences to Bruce and family. Barb’s smile and exuberance will be missed by all at Augustine United. Her work and it’s ongoing benefits for so many, especially the legacy of the Laurel Centre she was involved with founding, will serve as a tribute to her for the whole community. I wish you peace and joy in your memories despite the pain of missing your dear Barb. - Posted by: Cori Enns (Friend from Augustine ) on: Aug 02, 2020

  • Heartfelt condolences to all of the Ball Family. I have many fond memories of playing games with Matt and friends, enjoying the fun and very loving Home that Barb and Bruce created. ❤️ - Posted by: Tanya Reid (Friend of Matthew) on: Aug 01, 2020

  • So sorry for your loss. Remembering the many curling games with Barb. Her shots could be deadly. She will be missed. - Posted by: Jean and Ken (Friends) on: Aug 01, 2020

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