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Date of Passing: Jan 05, 2021

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1926 - 2021

Patricia (Pat) Barber passed away peacefully at Carleton Lodge on January 5, 2021 in her 95th year after a lengthy decline.
She was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Gordon; her parents, Bill and Winona Clarke; sisters, Nonie and Jacquie; and brother Gerry.
She leaves to mourn four children, Josh (Cheryl), Martha (Bob), Peter (Sherry), and Katherine; six grandchildren, Daniel (Lindsay), Beth (Jerren), Gabriel, Michael, Stephen, and Tristan; and one great-grandchild, Molly. She is survived by sister Maria Wimpenny, sister Colleen Laprairie, brother Bill Clarke (Joan), and sister-in-law Donna Clarke, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Born and raised in Bowmanville, ON, Pat was the eldest of seven siblings. She was the first in her family to attend university and graduated from University of Toronto at age 19 - one day before her 20th birthday. She qualified as a teacher and taught at high schools across Ontario, then England, and longest of all at West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg.
In 1952 Pat went on a summer holiday with a friend intending to visit England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. The best laid plans were abruptly changed when she met her friend's brother Gordon, a Canadian serving in the RAF in England. A whirlwind romance followed: they were engaged within ten days and married a few months later on Boxing Day, 1952. Being married to an RAF officer, Pat, with her characteristic pluck, endured many, many moves, and frequent military-imposed separations. One of the moves was to Aden travelling alone from England on a troopship with a toddler and a baby in tow. There followed ten years in England and two more children.
In 1967 the family moved to Winnipeg where Pat became a much-loved English teacher at West Kildonan Collegiate. She instilled a love of reading in her many students and inspired her children to be curious, tolerant, and to value family and education. Pat had a prodigious memory and was an amazing storyteller. Thanks to her planning and organizing skills, she entertained frequently, welcoming people from around the world into the home where guests enjoyed her remarkable cooking and hospitality, all done while she was teaching full-time and raising her four children.
Three years after Gordon's death, she moved to Ottawa in 2010 to be back to her Ontario roots and closer to some of her family. During her time in Ottawa, Pat took great comfort and joy from her family and her many loyal friends' visits, phone calls, and letters.
Funeral Mass to take place at St. Patrick's Fallowfield on January 12 at 11.00 a.m.; attendance will be limited to immediate family members. Interment at a future date in Hartney, MB beside Gordon. If conditions permit, at that time there will be a celebration of Pat's life to be held in Winnipeg.
As a lifelong teacher, she always held the needs of her students highest. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Patricia Barber Scholarship Fund at West Kildonan Collegiate, through the Seven Oaks Education Foundation accessed via

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 08, 2021, Jan 09, 2021

Condolences & Memories (37 entries)

  • I have very fond memories of Mrs. Barber. She was a wonderful, kind and gentle woman with enormous patience and understanding. She always considered all of the devils she taught as humans with potential for something special. It has been over 50 years since she taught me and I still think of her from time to time as a grand memory of what education was about. May she Rest In Peace. - Posted by: Jeffrey Selby (Former student) on: Jan 17, 2021

  • RIP Mrs. Barber. You and your family were a huge part of my early years. I grew up next door and had sooo many amazing talks with both of them. Watching them build the pool and having an invite to jump in whenever I wanted and watching her husband build an airplane in his garage for years and being the first one to sit in the plane. They were the best neighbors and then to have her as a teacher was awesome sometimes. (Couldn't use any excuses cuz she knew my parents so well). She gave me books my entire life and made sure I loved to read thanks for being you. RIP hugz to all her family and friends. Renay Corrin next door on Southall Dr from 1967 on - Posted by: Renay -Strykiwsky (Neighbor ) on: Jan 14, 2021

  • Pat has left me with warm memories of an entertaining afternoon of tea and goodies in her lovely condo on Gerard St. I was fascinated by her beautiful and varied wall art and I was curious about them. Always a wonderful storyteller with a remarkable memory for detail, she shared the stories behind them, at times circling the world. Time flew by as I listened and enjoyed a second cup of tea. Wonderful memories. Thank you, Pat! - Posted by: Ruth Grewe (Family Friend) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • Kind, caring and firm. Mrs. Barber sparked the willingness to be the best we could be and provided the tools to make it happen. My understanding of the English language started with Miss Murray. Self expression started with Neil Webster who just recently passed. But it was Mrs. Barber who kindled the love of reading. Her legacy as a teacher is depicted in the many tributes. I had the blessing to be welcomed in the Barber household through Josh and came to know each of the children. They are the excellent collective legacy of Pat and Gordon as parents and people. My sincerest best wishes to the family for solace in the many fond memories. Rest now, dear lady. - Posted by: Howard Skrypnyk (student and friend) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was the one teacher who believed I had more potential than what I was displaying. She said, Sherryll, I know you have a hard time memorizing the plays but you are good with organizing,resourcefulness and creating props. So why don’t you do that instead. Everyone has a gift and those are yours. Because she believed in me, I was able to believe in myself. Thank you Mrs Barber. I will miss you! - Posted by: Sherryll Stenberg (Former student) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber took a lazy and disinterested student and effortlessly managed to instill a lifelong interest in reading and writing. Her interest and encouragement was genuine, which was likely what made her such an exceptional teacher. My heartfelt condolences to the family, who must be proud of, but not surprised by the many tributes herein. - Posted by: Mike Cavell (former student) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • I taught part time on faculty in Hamilton for 19 years. It occurred to me more than once that some of my methods were not original, and that “Firm but fair” came from my own time in Mrs Barber’s classroom, 1970s. The deepest impressions are left by exceptional people. Condolences to the whole family. (Especially Katherine, who was always 1% smarter than me.) - Posted by: Ray Torbiak (Student) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was my English Teacher at WKCI and like so many absolute favorite! I am so very sad to hear of her passing. Mrs. Barber was kind, caring and inspiring. Teaching was truly her calling as is evident by all the messages here. Mrs. Barber, you made a difference in my life and you will be missed by all who were touched by your presence. My heartfelt condolences to her family. May she rest in peace. - Posted by: Sandy Cohen (Rutkowski) (Former Student WKCI) on: Jan 12, 2021

  • The best teacher I ever had. She dedicated herself to her students. - Posted by: Louis Kessler (her English student at WKCI, 1971-1974) on: Jan 11, 2021

  • I want to extend my condolences to Mrs. Barber's family and the students that loved her. Mrs. Barber was an exceptional human being and the best teacher you could ever ask for. She opened so many avenues that we could all explore. She mad an use enormose difference in my life and was a very good friend. I will always cherish my thoughts and grateful she was a part of my life. Mrs. Barber, rest in piece till we meet again. - Posted by: Joanne Juskow Eck (Student) on: Jan 11, 2021

  • I was saddened to hear of Mrs. Barber's passing. She was one of my favorite teachers and her enthusiasm for English and teaching was second to none. She encouraged my writing and made English fun to learn. I will never forget having to act out a portion of a play in class. Mrs. Barber was also a neighbor and I would often say hello as she was walking by my house. My condolences to the family. - Posted by: Karen (Mulla) Schultz (Student WKCI Class of '86) on: Jan 11, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber made Shakespeare accessible for me. She was a key part of a teacher-culture at WKCI that inspired me to become an educator. I was privileged to reconnect with her decades later, occasionally running into her after Mass at Holy Rosary Church. She had aged not a whit. Best wishes to her family, especially to my classmate, Peter. - Posted by: Dan Torbiak (former student) on: Jan 11, 2021

  • I am very sad to hear of Mrs. Barber's passing. She was an inspiration to me, and instilled in me a lifelong love of English literature, creative writing and poetry that I cherish to this day. I loved her classes at West Kildonan Collegiate. She told the best stories! She was a very special teacher and a remarkable woman - kind, caring and so generous with her time and wisdom - she encouraged me to be a better writer by drawing from my personal experiences. She helped me find my voice. I will never forget the faith she had in me at a time when I lacked confidence in my abilities - it mattered. She mattered. In the years after graduating from high school, I would often see her after mass at St. Anthony's church. I will always remember her beautiful and welcoming smile when she recognized me. My sincere condolences to her family and friends. May she rest gently in the peace and light of God's love. - Posted by: Michele Sarna (Former English student at WKCI (1978 - 1981)) on: Jan 11, 2021

  • Sad to hear of her passing. She was my English teacher as well. She made English enjoyable and made me want to express myself on paper. As I look back she knew how to communicate with kids and show us our strengths while giving us a path to make our weaknesses better. She was one of my favorite teachers period 🙏🏿 - Posted by: John Ulmer (Student ) on: Jan 10, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was my grade 10 English teacher at West Kildonan Collegiate. She was my favourite teacher. Mrs Barber made English fun but she had high standards for us. I remember the special effort she made to make learning Shakespeare fun for us by having an evening event in her classroom with food, acting out a part of Romeo and Juliet and music too. To get in, everyone had to memorize several lines from the play. It was super fun! She had everyone read a book a month and then give her a report on it. I always loved telling her about the books I was reading, she was always so interested in them. She was a caring, enthusiastic and creative teacher. RIP Mrs. Barber. - Posted by: Roberta Archibald ( nee Sanders) (Student ) on: Jan 10, 2021

  • We are so sorry to hear of Pat's passing. We first met Gordon, then Pat, almost 30 years ago in Winnipeg and we were blessed to have known such outstanding people. To Josh, Martha, Peter and Katherine, you are in our thoughts and we hope your memories of your mother will provide some comfort. Pat's was a life truly well-lived. - Posted by: Rod and Colleen Ridley (Friends) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • I was saddened to hear of Mrs Barbers passing. She was my favourite teacher and 40 years later, I can still hear her encouragement and the lessons she taught me. I’m not surprised by the number of students who have said she was their favourite teacher. She was one of those people you will never forget. Rest well Mrs Barber ❤️ - Posted by: Carla Hocken (Student ) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • Oh Mrs. Barber! You, my wonderful teacher, made such a positive impact on my life. Reading through the tributes, I see you did that for many, but obviously, made each one of us feel individually special. I am so lucky to have had you as my teacher and have such wonderful memories of you. You will always have a special place in my heart. RIP Wonderful, wonderful, Mrs. Barber. My deepest condolences to her family. - Posted by: Sandra Robbie Koropas (Student WKCI) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • "Mrs. Barber" was one of those teachers a student never forgets. In fact, she popped into my thoughts just the other day. Some small life event called to mind a sage bit of advice she had shared with me more than four decades ago. The result: I felt guided and grounded, and gained a useful new insight. What a remarkable skill to teach a student! That's the kind of lasting influence she had. She taught us more than literature; she taught us how to think. - Posted by: Gail Granger (Former student) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • A wonderful teacher who had a profound influence on her students. Her gift to me was inspiring a life-long love of literature and learning. She served as an example not just for teachers, but what we should aspire to be as humans. Heartfelt condolences to her family, both immediate and extended. - Posted by: Brigadier-General Craig King OMM, MSC, CD, MBE (Student (Class of 1979)) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • We lived across the street in WK where Pat and family were always great neighbours. Our sincere condolences to the Barber family, RIP Pat. Bill & Donna. - Posted by: Bill & Donna Shklanka (Neighbours) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • Sadly a long and fruitful life has ended. Pat enriched so many lives, ours included. We only knew her later in her life but very much enjoyed her company and her warm, witty and generous spirit. Our sincere condolences to all the family. - Posted by: Greg and Gloria Lampert (Friends) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • Although I was never a student of Mrs. Barber’s, I had the pleasure of knowing her. She was an inspiration to those she taught and those she worked with during extracurricular activities at West Kildonan Collegiate. Her students and children benefited greatly from her joy in learning and she has left a lasting legacy with so many. Sweet dreams Mrs. Barber. - Posted by: Patty Bambrick (Former West Kildonan Collegiate student) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • Sad to hear about Pat’s passing. One of my all times great teachers, full of wisdom, kindness and wit. She lived a full life and touched so many of our lives. Hugs to Martha, Josh, Peter and Katherine. Your friend from over 50 years ago. Bruce Raber - Posted by: Bruce Raber (Student and friend ) on: Jan 09, 2021

  • I’m saddened to hear of Mrs. Barber’s passing. We lived on the same street in Winnipeg, and I remember her walking to West Kildonan Collegiate. She will forever be my favourite teacher, helping me to see my own potential paving the way to my academic pursuits. I know I’m one of many students on whom she left her indelible mark. Condolences to her family. - Posted by: Theresa Livingston (Student at WKCI) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Josh, Martha, Peter, Katherine and family, my sincere condolences for the loss of your mother. Mrs. Barber was both my neighbor and my English teacher in high school. She was a great lady. It was difficult to be a student of your neighbor. English was never my best subject but she pushed me to do well. I was the only student that I knew that had her for every session of high school English. I’m sure that was no coincidence! I have many fond memories of the Barber family and the plane Mr. Barber built in his garage and their pool. - Posted by: Richard Reif (Neighbor / Student) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • 40 years ago, Mrs. Barber taught grade 11 English and encouraged me to direct a class play I wrote, based on an updated version of Macbeth (about Joe Clark and Trudeau Sr.). She was inspiring and very supportive, and I often think back to her as one of my most favourite teachers. I am very fortunate to have had her in my life. RIP - Posted by: Michael (Former student, 1980) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Mrs Barber was my English teacher in grade 11 and 12 at WKCI. She was an inspiration and always made class enjoyable right down to the bonus point system. In my grade 11 class I received such a good grade my mom actually called her to ensure it was correct! She was an Awesome teacher and made learning fun. RIP Mrs. Barber. - Posted by: Mark Popovich (Former Student WKCI class of 1981) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • I am so sorry to hear Mrs. Barber passed away. I think of her and Gordon often as I look at the framed print I have hanging in my room. It was paid for with a gift they gave Ben and me when they heard we were getting married. They were such a wonderful couple, so full of love. She was a wonderful teacher, intelligent and caring, and I am grateful to have known her. - Posted by: Kyla Wiebe (Friend) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was my favorite teacher at WKCI, I always enjoyed her class she made English fun and interesting. My deepest condolences to the family. R.I.P. Mrs. Barber - Posted by: Robert Stockmann (Student ) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was a neighbor and a former teacher, during my attendance at WKCI in the mid 80s. She was a remarkable person, who challenged me academically, and we laughed often when she compared me to my elder Sister, who had also been her student! Mrs. Barber is among the very few teachers in my life, whom I will never forget! Many heartfelt condolences to her family during this difficult time. - Posted by: Tami Livingston Ewert (Former student) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • She was my favourite teacher, I always looked forward to her classes, she was a very caring and understanding person, she would often tell me about how she remembered seeing me and my sister in church when we were younger and she liked how my mom would always have us dressed the same - Posted by: Debbie Turner (Student) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Mrs. Barber was my favourite teacher - her class was always great to attend with all the books and movies we watched. She really believed in me which meant a lot to me! - Posted by: Debbie Hargreaves (former student) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • I was lucky to have Mrs. Barber as my English teacher. My sincere condolences to Martha, Josh, Katherine, Peter, and family, on the loss of this very good woman. - Posted by: Karen (Shreiber) Howell (Former WKCI Student) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • So sorry to hear of Mrs Barber's passing. She was my teacher at West Kildonan Collegiate in the English Dept. Her warmth and kindness will be forever instilled in my heart. I will never forget her teaching of Romeo & Juliet which gave me a passion for Shakespeare. " The sands are number'd that make up my life; Here must I stay, and here my life must end". RIP Mrs. Barber gone but not forgotten. - Posted by: Lorraine Bryck (Student West Kildonan Collegiate ) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • I had the great privilege of knowing the Barber family (especially Josh) and of course Pat, who was my Grade 10 English teacher. Always gracious, well-spoken, and very literate/cultured, Pat had high expectations from her students - encouraging me to work hard, develop a lifelong love of great literature and become a better writer. Because of her influence, I spent the lion's share of my career as a successful professional writer and teacher. And for that, I am forever grateful to Pat! My heart goes out to all family members. 5 years ago, I lost my dearest father Don Couch and mother. So I deeply understand how overwhelming grief can be. Hang on to the boat my friends ... you have a lot of love and support from each other, and those like me. May God bless and keep you always! Brad Couch - Posted by: Brad Couch (Family friend) on: Jan 08, 2021

  • Although I was a reader before I took Mrs. Barber's grade 10 English class in 1969, she accelerated my literary knowledge with her requirement that we read a book a month. This began my love of the classics like Hardy and Dostoyevsky. She also offered the suggestion to always read with a dictionary nearby. A habit I continue to do this day. She was a wonderful, inspiring teacher. - Posted by: James Chapryk (Friend) on: Jan 08, 2021

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