The Reverend Canon Barbara Graham B.A, M.A.
May 31, 1929 – March 17, 2022
It is with sadness we announce the passing of Barbara Graham. She left us peacefully with much of her family by her side, on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital, after a long and full life. She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Andrew and Sabine, of Autrepierre, France, Neil and Edwige, of Whitehorse, Yukon, with granddaughters, Alya (Ottawa) and Gentianne (Whitehorse) and Duncan and Yvonne, of Oro-Medonte, Ontario, with granddaughter Colleen (Oro-Medonte) and grandson, Ivan, (Hearst). She is predeceased by her parents, her sister Mavis and her husband, Archdeacon William Andrew Graham.
Barbara Graham was born on May 31, 1929, to Ronald and Beatrice Eardley in Coventry, England. She and her younger sister, Mavis, endured the war, sleeping in a bomb shelter during the bombing of Coventry. In 1940, she passed exams to go to Barr’s Hill Grammar School which she loved. It was there Barbara decided to become a nurse, joined the Girl Guides, and the Anglican Church. After the war, she trained as a sick children nurse, in Birmingham. In 1950, she began working as a student nurse, in Bristol, and later became nurse in charge at Baskerville, Worcestershire.
The later 1950’s brought a myriad of changes for Barbara. In 1955, she caught a ship to Canada, and began working as a nurse in Regina, Saskatchewan then in Saskatoon. It was in Saskatoon that she met Bill who was training to become an Anglican priest in the Arctic. Bill was ordained and they were married in 1957, in St. Luke’s, Pangnirtung, on Baffin Island, Nunavut, by a passing navy ship’s chaplain. Shortly after, their first son, Andrew (1958), was born, followed by Neil (1959), and Duncan (1961). Barbara and Bill loved Pangnirtung, but in 1962 the family was transferred to St. Thomas’, Inukjuak, Nunavik, where Barbara started the village’s first Girl Guide Troop. Barbara worked as a mother and teacher at home, part time nurse, and ran the Girl Guides, English Sunday School, and the ACW. She loved and was loved by the Inuit people and learnt to speak Inuktitut.
In 1975, the family moved south to St. Mark’s, Milford Bay, Muskoka, Ontario. Barbara worked as a nurse, at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital. She joined the Trefoil Guild, the Cellar Singers, and saw her sons marry, followed by granddaughters in 1992, 1996, 1997, and a grandson in 1997. Her loving husband, Bill passed in 1991, shortly after they had moved to Bracebridge, Muskoka, Ontario.
At a time, most people retire. Barbara began a new career! At 62, she went back to school part time, starting her B.A. at the University of Toronto. In 2004, Barbara was ordained Deacon and began a long volunteer ministry to Inuit inmates, at Beaver Creek Institution. In 2012, she earned her M.A. from Trinity College, Toronto. She was ordained Priest in 2015 and named a Canon in 2018.
Barbara was only stopped by failing health, she was such a force for so long that it is hard to imagine her gone. She was well loved and will be deeply missed by her family, many nieces and nephews, cousins, friends, the congregations of the churches she has ministered to, and all the people whose lives she has touched. Safe travels and God speed, our Barbara.
A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 PM on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at St. Thomas Anglican Church, Bracebridge. A recording of the service will be posted to our website, following the service. Visitation will be from 11:00AM until the service, at Reynolds Funeral Home, across the road. A reception will be held afterward, at the church, in Browning Hall. Interment of Barbara’s ashes will be held in the spring.
***RSVP ON OUR WEBSITE IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THE SERVICE AT ST. THOMAS ANGLICAN CHURCH***
In memory of Barbara, we ask that you please donate to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation ( http://www.healthmuskoka.ca/ ), St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, in Bracebridge ( https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/18186 ), or to the Diocese of The Arctic ( https://www.arcticnet.org/donate ) and may be arranged through Reynolds Funeral Home.