Advanced Search:

Regular Search
❮ Go Back to Listings


Born: Oct 10, 1957

Date of Passing: Dec 11, 2021

Offer Condolences or Memory

Adjust Text Size: A+ A-

October 10, 1957 - December 11, 2021

It is with broken hearts we announce the sudden passing of Neil Barker. Neil was the light in any dark room and he brought love and laughter to so many.
It is said that the pain one feels when being left by an acquaintance, friend or family member is a gift: It is a sign that the person is deeply missed. Neil left so many of us with memories that are bountiful and thus, so much pain.
Left to cherish his memory, his partner of 13 years, Elizabeth, son Cameron (Alana); grandsons, Harvey and Nolan; son Jordan (Hayley), stepdaughter Kelsey (Jake) and baby Frankie and stepson Tanner. Neil was brother to Warren (Val), Charlene (Larry), Karen. He leaves many beloved nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends around the world. He was predeceased by his mother and father Viola and Bill Barker. Neil loved his two sons immensely and was so proud of all their accomplishments. You would never have a conversation with Neil when he didn't speak of his pride and admiration of Cam and Jordy and now their families as well.
Neil's nickname, "Steel Neil", was well earned as he could be as tough as nails but then could share softness and tears with many of his friends and family. His friends felt comfortable asking for his assistance and Neil considered it a pleasure to help. He would easily paint a friend's house or cycle across mountains, if asked. His dedication to the care and comfort of his parents was a testament to the man he was.
Neil grew up in Fort Garry, attended Vincent Massey High School and the University of Manitoba. He joined the Winnipeg Police Department in 1979, providing dedicated police service to the citizens of Winnipeg, Manitoba for over 25 years. During his career, he served as a beat constable, Sergeant, detective, and homicide investigator. Later in his career, he served as the Major Crimes Coordinator. Neil held a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice. He was an academy instructor at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa. He served as a hostage negotiator for 14 years and was head of the Canadian Police College Interrogation Training Program.
As a highly skilled polygraph examiner, with advanced expertise in interviewing techniques, Neil was a dynamic speaker lecturing throughout North America. He began offering his instructional interrogation course for the Niagara Regional Police in 2008.
Neil opened a consulting business and developed a course which was delivered to all major police agencies in Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canadian Foreign Affairs, Canadian Intelligence and Terrorism, and many others. Neil also taught abroad in multiple foreign countries.
Neil was an amazing athlete. As a young man he played for the The Northend Flyers winning the Canadian Slow Pitch Championship in Halifax and the team was later inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. One of many accomplishments he was proud of.
Neil had a passion for hockey and played for numerous teams, finalizing his career playing for the University of Manitoba Bisons. Neil held yearly on ice hockey training courses in assisting future, past and current NHL players. Neil helped scout many junior players and trained youth in self-defence skills, specifically for on ice hockey combat. Neil played regularly with the Niagara Regional police teams and nearly every Boxing Day in Winnipeg. He loved being a protector of the weak. Neil coached Fort Garry and Riverview hockey and instructed at the Golden Horseshoe Hockey School in Niagara for seven years. He was on the ice at least two days a week and loved sharing his passion of hockey with his two grandsons, Harvey and Nolan.
Neil played many other sports and did quite well in all he tackled, other than golf! He had a passion for running, fitness, and boxing. He was a specimen at age 64, in a class above most.
Neil liked sweet drinks, odd named beers, classic rock, old style hockey, Bobby Orr, the science of body language, and the Special Olympics. He cherished his many friends and family members, always making an effort to visit them across Canada.
Neil spent his last nine years in Port Dalhousie, Niagara where he enjoyed the community, the wineries, and the people. He quickly became a very loved friend of many throughout Niagara.
Neil was semi-retired and spent his free time travelling the world with Liz and his friends Pam and Shaun, visiting his son Cam and grandsons abroad in Kazakhstan and France. Neil was fortunate to have many friends and an unwavering bond with lifelong buddies Shaun and Richard and with Mitch, who Neil served with on the police force. He cherished the bonds he made with those he mentored - both friends and family.
There will be Celebration of Life in Winnipeg and St. Catharines in the New Year, details to be announced.
George Darte Funeral Home in St. Catharines, is providing interim planning and services.
Interment will take place at Thomson "In the Park" in Winnipeg at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Special Olympics Canada at or Jump Start to support kids in sport and play at
Neil was a mentor, friend, and the life of any party. To say he will be missed is a complete understatement. We have peace knowing he is in heaven bringing love and laughter to all who were there before him.

Rest peacefully our dear friend….
until we meet again.

Online Guestbook -

Publish Date: Dec 21, 2021


October 10, 1957 - December 11, 2021

It is with broken hearts we announce the sudden passing of Neil Barker. Neil was the light in any dark room and he brought love and laughter to so many.

It is said that the pain one feels when being left by an acquaintance, friend or family member is a gift: It is a sign that the person is deeply missed. Neil left so many of us with memories that are bountiful and of course much pain.

Left to cherish his memory, his partner of 13 years, Elizabeth, son Cameron (Alana), grandsons, Harvey and Nolan, son Jordan (Hayley), stepdaughter Kelsey (Jake) and baby Frankie and stepson Tanner. Neil was brother to Warren (Val), Charlene (Larry), Karen, neices and nephews, many cousins and friends around the world. He was predeceased by his mother and father Viola and Bill Barker.

Neil loved his two sons immensely and was so proud of all their accomplishments. You would never have a conversation with Neil when he didn't speak of his pride and admiration of Cam and Jordy and now their families as well.

To view this obituary and Online Condolences,  please visit

Publish Date: Dec 18, 2021

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Dec 18, 2021, Dec 21, 2021

Condolences & Memories (27 entries)

  • A lot of great memories come to mind after sharing our school, hockey and baseball days together while growing up in the "planets" in Fort Garry. After moving West following our university days and no social media at the time, it was difficult to stay in touch but, our paths did cross over from time to time. Neil was the friend and teammate you wanted in your corner. His thoughts and wisdom were calculated which made you sit back and think. As kids you never appreciate the advice that someone gives you, however when Neil offered his to me, it led to better outcomes. Thank you my friend and my sympathies to all of Neil's family. - Posted by: Dave Adams (Friend and teammate) on: Jul 17, 2022

  • My sincere condolences to the Barker family and his many close friends. We were 2 yrs apart in age, so we never played on the same Fort Garry hockey/baseball/football teams growing up. However, we had a mutual respect for each other through sports. I know he would have been the first to cover my ass if he ever saw I was in harms way..RIP my friend. - Posted by: JAMIE THOULD (Friend) on: Dec 27, 2021

  • I was so saddened to hear of Neil's passing. The one thing I would like to add as I agree with all the accolades was this did not matter who you were, chief or janitor he always treated you equally and I respected so much for that. Condolences to your family Neil and rest in peace my friend - Posted by: bob gray (friend/collegues) on: Dec 24, 2021

  • Loved the guy. Will miss you. - Posted by: Ron horch (Team mate) on: Dec 23, 2021

  • I agree wholeheartedly with what others have said here, about Neil/Barks being such a unique human being and a mentor too many throughout his life. I am not going to repeat what others have written, although many aspects applied to me also and I benefited from knowing him. Instead I will share a story of Neil and myself, during his Wpg years. In the fall of 1989, I was one of many Wpd participants in the Mb Special Olympics relay day and opening ceremonies at the U of M. Neil, his pal Mitch and a few others, had rented an R/V that served as a rural and city support bus during the day. That evening it served as a city wide joint forces “fun bus” with military, rcmp and wpd onboard and driven by Barks. The events wore on thru the night with many, many big laughs throughout, the majority of them being compliments of Neil. After the sun came up, I was concerned as a “newly minted” first time plainclothes constable, who was due to work a dayshift and I was Gooned!! Barks took charge, into the fun bus we went and drove to the Psb. Neil ensured we kept a low profile, going inside via the basement garage and not running into any bosses. After a quick spin-dry in the locker room, back into the garage we went and I into a detective car. Barks went upstairs and soon after returned with my partner Ed, who ensured a greasy spoon breakfast and pail of coffee had sobered me up before I saw the S/Sgt later that morning. Neil taking care of others or to use a hockey analogy “being a great winger”, enabled me to finish the play. He and I shared, many a laugh over the years about this event, as we would see each other along the way. My sympathies to your families and friends, both in Manitoba and Ontario. Rest In Peace now Barks. Kmart - Posted by: Kevin Martell (Friend/Colleague ) on: Dec 23, 2021

  • I echo these tributes. The only thought that I would add is the value he placed in community building and the responsibility that we all have to giving back to our community. We shared the appreciation for outdoor ice. It was al ways fun to chase him around the rink and laugh about it afterwards. RIP Barks - Posted by: Ted Bigelow (Friend) on: Dec 23, 2021

  • Police departments are composed of a huge abstract of individuals with a myriad of personalities and character traits. Some are absorbed into the general fabric of the job, and travel through that career without much ripple or notice. Others make themselves an obvious stand-out often from their first days on the job, and some of those, ride a tsunami of a presence throughout their lives and careers. Neil Barker was one of the latter. It will be said that Neil could be expected to be heard first from amongst the crowd, and this was for certain how he rolled, no matter the setting. Everybody quickly learned where Neil stood, a tough guy, and champion of the oppressed and downtrodden as it were on whatever situation. And if you were a bad guy looking to mix it up with the cops, you were about to have a very bad day. There are too few Neil Barkers in the world, and we have very sadly lost the best of them. Rest easy Neil. Dave Shipman - Posted by: Dave Shipman (friend) on: Dec 23, 2021

  • Saddened to read of Neil's passing. Many years ago I played football and baseball with Neil. In fact Neil's Dad was our baseball coach one year. I think we called him Skip. Our paths didn't cross for many years but have fond memories of Steel Neil. Condolences to the Barker family. Rest in peace. - Posted by: Rod McDonald (Friend) on: Dec 23, 2021

  • I am saddened and shocked to learn of Neil’s passing at such a young age. Sincere condolences to his family. - Posted by: Helma (Friend of family some years ago.) on: Dec 21, 2021

  • It is sad to see such a vibrant and strong man leave this earth. I can say one thing for sure, he was the best of the best! - Posted by: Barry Bilou (Co worker) on: Dec 21, 2021

  • Neil was also a very good football player and we played together for the Fort Garry Lions back in the late 70's. I'm sure the extended FGL family is saddened by the news. We knew him simply as "Barks". Tough as steel and the most loyal friend you'd ever know. Barks has left us too soon but he cast a big shadow. Condolences to the family. - Posted by: Bruce Swail (Team Mate) on: Dec 21, 2021

  • I am saddened to here of the passing of Neil, it's been many years since our paths crossed, but I have many fond memories of times with Neil back in Winnipeg and as a teammate for the Manitoba Bisons. Neil was a tough competitor and after have many tussles on and off the ice it was nice to finally have him as my teammate. He will be missed. My condolences go out to his family and friends. - Posted by: Shawn leslie (Hockey teammate and Winnipeg friend ) on: Dec 21, 2021

  • To Karen, Charlene and Warren, I am so sorry for the loss of your brother Neil. He was my surrogate brother for my 1st 5 years and we watched so many TV shows and hung out together when he got home from school. He was my 1st crush and I will never forget the ball games I got to see or him acting in West Side Story at VMC. He, like Bill and Vi were so intrinsic in my formative years and forever impressed in my memory. To all of his family and friends, my deepest condolences. - Posted by: Carol McBride (Friend) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • Neil played hockey with my brother and he spent a lot of time at our house. In hockey there is a lot of fighting so I was a bit surprised that he entered the police force as I thought his hockey years might end with him on the other side of the law. From reading about his life, I can see that he contributed greatly as a police officer. My sincere condolences to all those who knew him. I saw him in 2012 when he attended my mother's memorial service. True to what I read about him, Neil gave a funny but touching story about my Mum which was a really great memory for us Warners. In the New Year we will meet at that same place and I can't wait to hear all the stories from those who attend. - Posted by: Ianthe Warner (friend of my brother, Willy Warner) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • Neil had a charisma that was palpable. He was a natural leader that others gravitated to, both on and off the job. He defended the blue line with a fierce passion. He stepped up always. Protecting the weak, the uncertain, all persons that needed it. Truly a great human being! RIP Brother. Much respect and affection. Bob. - Posted by: Bob Irwin (Friend) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • So sad to hear the news. I've know Neil from when he worked at the Polygraph School at CPC in Ottawa and in the various units I was assigned with here, and Neil would come in as in instructor on a variety of courses. That laugh and that smile are what defined him. Over 20 years of running into him and he always had time to spare so we could catch up. My deepest condolences to the family at this time. - Posted by: Steve Kemball (Job related) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • We offer our deepest condolences to all the family. Neil accomplished many things in his lifetime and will be missed by all he knew. May cherished memories replace the grief and loss of his sudden passing. - Posted by: Ian and Diane McNeill (Friends) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • Our deepest condolences to Liz, Cam, Jordy and the entire Barker family. Neil was so much to so many. As a Police Officer he was an expert in his field and a mentor to many. He was someone to admire and look up to. As a person away from the job he was so much fun to be around. You knew when Barks was present and you just knew you you were in for some pure entertainment. A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to visit and stay with Neil and Liz. He showed us all his favorite wineries and we had a blast. There was always one thing you could count on and that was that Barks would always ask for the sweetest wine on the premises. Memories we will cherish forever. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed. (Griz). - Posted by: Daryl & Ann Anning (Friends/Co-worker) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • I’ve literally known the Barker family my whole life. I don’t have the words to describe the feelings of loss and sympathy for the Barker family. Neil was a true friend to so many people and a big brother to many guys like myself. He on so many occasions whether it was on the hockey rink, schoolyard or out socially that if Neil witnessed something that he didn’t like he’d step in and stand up for his friends. Neil was so proud of his boys without gloating. He had a way of being the life of the party and center of attention without trying which is how I will always remember Neil. It’s hard not feel sad but I feel I better not because he may appear from nowhere and kick my butt. To the Barker family Neil had a incredible impact on many people lives, I’m truly sorry for your loss. Lorne Evans - Posted by: Lorne Evans (Friend) on: Dec 20, 2021

  • Dear Warren and Val, Charlene and Larry, and Karen, and Family, I am deeply saddened to hear of Neil's sudden passing. Hearing the news sent me back to a place where he always made people smile. His sense of humour brought people together. Those memories of him will never fade. Thinking of the Barker Family during this difficult time. I grieve with you. With heartfelt sympathy and love, Mary - Posted by: Mary Kuzmeniuk (Friend) on: Dec 19, 2021

  • I knew Neil back in school. All the way through high school. A great guy and talented at all sports. We all grew up in Fort Garry and lots of fun times at Victoria C.C. I was shocked to hear of his passing and my condolences to the entire Barker family! Neil was a solid stand up guy. - Posted by: Vern Hiebert (Classmate ) on: Dec 19, 2021

  • Tributes are made that say someone who passed was "one of a kind". That moniker simply doesn't truly describe NEIL. He was many levels above one of a kind & it's difficult to describe unless you really knew him. He truly was an outstanding Police Officer who gave everything & more to those he served, worked with & his friends. He will be sincerely missed in the Police Universe that he made a better place because of his presence & his endless contributions. I had the pleasure of working with NEIL in the Crime Division & those memories will not be forgotten. Sincerest condolences to ELIZABETH, CAMERON, JORDAN & all family members. RIP NEIL. - Posted by: Garry LEACH (Former colleague/co-worker) on: Dec 18, 2021

  • Steel Neil, another friend and mentor gone way too soon. Condolences to family, Liz, Cam and Jordy. Godspeed Barks, your work here is done. Smitty - Posted by: Kevin Smith (Friend/colleague) on: Dec 18, 2021

  • Neil, You gave so much to so many. You had a significant positive influence on everyone you interacted with. You were a friend, teacher, mentor, role-model and just an all around fun guy. You were ‘straight-up, no politics, just the real thing, doing the right thing for others, defending the weak, ensuring what was fair for the team. You’ll be missed by so many of us you helped along the way! Baldsy. - Posted by: Can Baldwin (Friend) on: Dec 18, 2021

  • Our deepest condolences to the Barker families. We know all too well of your suffering and words cannot express the sorrow you feel. Neil did indeed light up a room, you could hear him long before you ever saw him and being in his presence was always fun and interesting to say the least! Cherish those memories, we are all thankful he was part of our life. Stan & Sandra Allen and family - Posted by: Stan Allen (Cousin) on: Dec 18, 2021

  • Myself along with many other friends and associates will truly miss Neil. My condolences to the family. - Posted by: Kim King (Friend) on: Dec 18, 2021

  • I’ve known Barks a lot of years and have many memories of a great guy to be around. He will be missed Rest In Peace Barks - Posted by: Dave Lysyk (Friend) on: Dec 18, 2021

❮ Go Back to Listings