My father, Terry, began the next great journey at 5 am on August 18, 2020. It was the day after an incredible lightning storm, the kind we used to watch together when I was a little girl. We would sit on the covered porch of our farmhouse in Ontario, eating popcorn, and counting down the seconds from the fork lightning to the sound of the thunder. That, he said, would tell us how far away the strike was. This is just one of the many memories of my father, where we were together, and he was teaching and making me feel safe and loved. Terry had that effect on many people, not just his family.
His profession was Teacher and that is what he did all his life, whether he was teaching high school, writing manuals for the federal government, writing columns for local newspapers, writing his books, or participating in craft fairs. He always taught everyone around him, selflessly and without judgement. He was a true sage.
Everyone loved my father, none more than my mother though. They were a love story for the ages. They met at the age of 19 and stayed true until her dying breath last spring. How they cared for one another. A Fine Romance. And together, they built a large and happy family. To both of them, family was the most important thing, without question.
My father gave up lucrative career moves because he felt the job would take time away from his family. They would have five children, the first, Michael, died in childbirth, the second, Patrick (1951-2011), followed by Eileen (1953-2016), then Kevin and me, Shannon. We were a big, obnoxious, loud and boisterous family, full of love and energy with a strong zest for life. This was my father's greatest pride, his family. And he was so loved in return. He remained relevant and adored until his death at the age of 92. He survived the death of two of his children and his beloved bride with dignity and strength and he led the rest of the family through these dark times. I simply can't imagine a world without my father in it.
Terry was quite a figure on the Sunshine Coast...well, actually he was wherever he lived. He was the author of many books including Sunshine Sketches I, II and III, A Fine Romance, Last Chance This Life, and several poetry books. For years, he wrote a regular column with his own sketches of local unique homes and places on the Sunshine Coast, for the Coast Reporter. Terry was also a beloved teacher at Max Cameron High School in Powell River for many years before he moved to the Sunshine Coast. He also spent time consulting with the Federal Government in Ottawa, writing manuals and teaching communications. Communications was his specialty...like teaching, it would follow him throughout his life. He wrote Boss Talk, a management and communications book which is still used by Telus and the RCMP to this day. And then there was The Five Minute Policeman, a manual of techniques for De-escalation for police confrontations. Dad also worked with artist Roy Henry Vickers and policeman Ed Hill on the historic Native Reconciliation many years ago. He was heavily involved with the local AA chapter and acted as mentor and sponsor for many people who became his friends. His last drink was in 1980.
There is so much to write about this man, so many stories, so many achievements, so many who loved him, I cannot put it all into this obituary. There will be a celebration of his amazing life in the spring, when we are not confined by Covid...a service for my dad without hugs just won't do.
Terry Barker is survived by his son, Kevin Barker, myself, Shannon Barker (Robin Atchison) and was predeceased by his cherished wife, Connie and his older kids, Patrick Barker and Eileen Clyde (John Clyde). He leaves wonder and love to his grandchildren, Brendan Clyde, Brittany Morrow (nee Clyde)(Kris Morrow), Derek Atchison, Kenny Barker and Alex Clyde. He is also greatly missed by his beloved sons-in-law, John Clyde and Robin Atchison.
Spring service to be announced. There is a Facebook Group entitled "Terry Barker Memories" which anyone can join. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Terry Barker, please visit our floral store.