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Born: Apr 20, 1925

Date of Passing: Apr 11, 2003

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BARBARA ANNE JOHNSTONE Peacefully, on April 11, 2003 at the Selkirk General Hospital, Barbara Anne Johnstone of Selkirk, MB died at the age of 77 years. Born on April 20, 1925, she was predeceased by her beloved parents, Edwin B. and Ruby Johnstone (nee Cowie). She is survived by her sister Mrs. A.W. (Betty) Holbrow and family, Patricia Holbrow, Robert Holbrow and his wife Dorothy Lindsay, William Holbrow, Margaret (Bernie) Van Benthem and their children, Lisa (Stephen) Babiuk, David (Kim) and John. She is also survived by her cousins, Victor (Gerry) Cowie and children, Laura Fowler with Lucy and Lila, Paul (Gery) and John Cowie; and Peter (Dorothy) Cowie and children, Geoff and David; by Anne Harry of Saskatoon and John Michael Giske; and her cousin by adoption Mrs. Margaret (Jack) Teichroeb. A native of Winnipeg, Barbara attended Wolseley, Isaac Brock and Gordon Bell Schools. In 1943 she enlisted in the Womens Division of the R.C.A.F., serving in-flight control at No. 5 Operational Training Unit at Boundary Bay, BC. Following her discharge she entered nursing at the Winnipeg General Hospital, becoming a "capped" student in 1947. As she herself described it, the major shift in her life came later, when her passion for Canadian history led to her appointment as Custodian (later as Curator) of the Hudsons Bay Company museum at its Winnipeg store. Following the closing of this museum in 1961 she was appointed Superintendent of the National Historic Park at Lower Fort Garry, the first woman in Canada to be named to such a position. Here she remained, participating in the forts restoration, until ill health forced her retirement in 1967. That same year she was awarded both the Margaret McWilliams Medal and the Manitoba Centennial Medal for her work in history. Throughout her life, Barbara had a wide variety of interests, including photography, travel, archaeology, the natural environment, and family genealogy. Her passionate concern for Canada, its history and its peoples, stemmed in part from her awareness of belonging, on her mothers side to families the Sinclairs and the Cowies, active in the fur trade in Western Canada for many generations. In addition to her numerous talks, presentations, and published articles on the subject of history, she contributed material both to the Provincial Archives of Manitoba and The Museum of Manitoba. A lifetime member of the Canadian Legion, the Manitoba Historical Society, and the Manitoba Archaeological Society, she also belonged at various times to the Air Womens Club of Winnipeg, the Canadian Aviation Association, and the Womens Auxiliary of St. Matthews Anglican Church, Winnipeg. Barbara will be remembered by her many friends and admirers for her loyalty, her generosity, her sense of humour and zest for living, as well as for her continuing concern for human rights, especially those of Canadaa native people. Throughout her life she was sustained by a strong and living Christian faith that brought her comfort in the face of all adversity. Her family would like to extend special thanks to those many friends and Home Care workers who made it possible for Barbara to live independently in her own home during the final years of her life, in particular, Millie Bakker, Trudy La Pratt and Chrissie Kingsland. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held on April 23 at 4:00 p.m. in St. Matthews Anglican Church, 641 St. Matthews Ave. at Maryland, Winnipeg The Reverend Doctor Cathy Campbell will officiate. Interment will take place at Brookside Military Cemetery at a later date. If friends desire, instead of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of their choice. Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk, in care of arrangements.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 22, 2003

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