Tuesday, May 19th
Star City Elks Hall, Star City
Today we are saying goodbye not just to a father and husband, but a grandfather, brother, uncle, son-in-law, brother-in-law, and friend.
One of Barry's favorite things was an ice cold drink. Of course, the radio had to be on. He enjoyed them in solitude. He enjoyed them alone with his wife. Or surrounded by friends. Or by family. Or one on one with someone who would listen, or someone he could listen to. On the lake at the deck, or under the stars at the acreage. Staring out the window of his shop. He could cry over them, but preferred to hear the world laugh.
He loved his friends and felt fortunate to enjoy close brother-like friendships with Terry, Leonard, Donny, Al, Brent, Jerry, Pat, and Darryl. Every year, Barry and Laurie would host a New Year's Eve party, they would set a theme. Each year they declared it was the last time, but each year started planning it in the summertime. One year to a heritage themed party Barry wore a kilt to celebrate his Scottish ancestry of which he was incredibly proud, a few hours into the party his kilt lost its integrity and all of his friends were excited to see that like a true Scotsman, Barry had neglected to put on underwear.
Barry dedicated most of his working life to the Ferguson Farm, his love and knowledge of farming a priceless resource. His relationship with Bruce went beyond employee and employer - Barry held Bruce in the highest esteem. He loved working with Mike and knew he could get through the long days because of him: they shared many viewpoints and had many chats comparing notes.
He gave of himself to his community serving on the Kipabiskau Regional Park Board and working as the manager for two years. He sat on the School Community Council. He served one term as a councillor for the Town of Star City, and one term as Mayor. He was proud of all the town council accomplished that year but especially the geothermal project at the skating rink. Barry loved to visit with people and when he would leave the house for a quick trip to City Service or the Post office he would say he'd be back in a minute. Inevitably he would run into someone and start visiting and the few minutes would become a half hour.
Barry felt that his greatest accomplishment in life and that which he was most proud of was his four children. When they left home he struggled as an empty nester and always looked forward to their weekend visits at home, the cabin, or the acreage. He was always nostalgic and sentimental but as he got older those characteristics were more pronounced. When reminiscing about days when the children were young he was often brought to tears. It was further compounded when he became a grandfather. Once caring for a granddaughter one of his sisters in law remarked, "Barry, you act like that's your baby!" He quickly answered, "She is my baby." He felt that way about all six of them. Gramps was eager to entertain the girls, getting down on the floor to play, pull up a silly video on YouTube, or scramble an egg and enjoy feeding them. Unfortunately the newest have been denied his particular brand of grandfathering.
Lucas admired his dad in many ways - through his hobbies, through his work, but most of all through his parenting. He loved having his dad home during the winter months and totally available for school pick up and drop off and having lunch ready. He was always there for his kids, no matter what that meant - he would be there. The kids love to hunt with their dad beginning with Lucas' interest where the two formed a special bond and made many special memories with many important people in the killing fields. Barry was a member of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and was an advocate of preservation of wildlife habitat and was increasingly distressed by its destruction. Lucas loved helping keep the gopher population under control with dad and his friends. Barry always ensured his kids knew how to do things safely - hunting, driving, farming, living life day to day. He instilled a work ethic in all of his children. Lucas loved inherting his dad's taste in music, calling him a purist who only liked the best of things - Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Big Sugar, and April Wine were blasted at full volume many a time. Most importantly, Lucas saw demonstrated love and the value of family. Lucas saw his deep love of Laurie, and that inspired him to be a fantastic husband and father.
Patrick said, "I am the man I am today because of my Dad. I learned more from him by what he did wrong than by what he did right. He let me be who I wanted to and never tried to shape or mold me. He let me make my own decisions and have control over my life from a young age. I have always heard his voice in my head guiding me in all that I do and the choices I make. I am thankful I had him as my father. I will always love him."
Tanner was sitting in Grade seven Math class one winter day when there was a knock at the door. Norma Meier opened the door to see Barry bundled up in his warmest ice fishing outfit. Barry said in his deep golden voice "Norma, I'm taking my son ice fishing. Tanner, let's go" Tanner quickly dropped his pencil, grabbed his coat and was out the door. They didn't catch a damn thing that day, but Tanner learned more about life that afternoon than he learned in Thirteen years of school. Tanner was always so impressed with his fathers ability as a redneck superman; filling a truck with firewood, processing an entire whitetail and swilling whisky 'til sunrise all in the same day. Even more impressive was that he could turn around and be so gentle. He would snuggle like a teddy bear. He could make a newborn giggle. He could console and remedy an aching heart with ease. He was a coin with two very different sides and Tanner loved them both. Tanner's passion and ability to light farts was a learned skill that his father lovingly showed him. Tanner finds peace in the thought that his father lived more life in his 57 years than most do in 80. Tanner will forever miss his countless hours spent in the cab of a truck, the bench at the shop, the deck at the lake, the yard at the acerage with his father, listening to that old AM Radio station crackle out mellow hits from the 70's. Singing the lyrics to every other song that came on, and talking about wildlife, firearms, whisky, music, and love. Tanner wished that everyone could take away some advice today that his father passed on to him. On Parenting: Be there. On Vehicles and ultimately everything : Keep it factory, boy. On the bad/tough times; Sleep on it. Things will look a whole lot different in the morning. And on a lighter note: Never trust a fart. Virginia and her dad loved to argue. They could fight like rabid cats and dogs, and go quickly back to father and daughter - other times one or the other would walk away a little worse for the wear. She realised her dad wasn't totally stupid when she started having kids, growing new fondness and respect as she got to watch him love her daughters. It was then that she fully understood the depth of his love for her. And she loved him too - the dusty stink when he would finally come home from work, his spontaneity to drive out in the middle of the night to watch a meteor shower, drive anywhere on a whim, or to take stubble fields home from the Tkachuk's farm when we were "legally restricted" from taking the main road. The boys used to send Virginia to ask their dad for a ride to school when it seemed to cold to walk - he would reluctantly agree simply because it was Virginia asking. When she was the only one left at home and finishing high school, he would have the vehicle warm and ready every morning for a ride Virginia would reluctantly accept. She enjoyed having him in the city this winter and watching Nora fall in love with her "Bop". He always had lots of advice to offer, that Virginia didn't always appreciate but had just grown to turn to his strong foundation of knowledge, wisdom, and strongly held opinions. Virginia always believed she would inherit her mother's infuriating traits, but gets frustrated every time her husband says "Okay, BJ" when she thinks, acts, speaks, or dresses exactly like her dad.
Amanda loved to sit in the shop with Barry after everyone had gone to bed for just "one more" night cap. He was always willing to listen and shared his unforgettable words of wisdom. Amanda loves catching glimpses of Barry in Lucas' actions, and is grateful for the model Barry provided as a husband and father. She loved watching him play with Kadence, his "number one granddaughter".
Emily first met Barry eight years ago on the May Long Weekend at Kipabiskau. She grew to see the unwavering support Barry provided for his wife and kids. It was apparent in his actions and in the way he looked at them. It did not take long for Emily to feel the unconditional love as she became an honorary child. She enjoyed the late night conversations they shared, their inside jokes, weekends at the lake, weddings, and countless family gatherings. She hopes that she and Patrick can teach their girls the rules Barry lived by - to live life to its fullest, to always be yourself and never apologize for that and mostly that family is the most important part of life.
Jacey and Barry clicked. Their relationship was automatic, simple, and based on common interests and a high level of mutual respect. They could talk for hours, lost in conversation or sit in perfect silence. Barry often spoke of how down to Earth Jacey was, how she carried herself with grace and dignity, and that Tanner had found a wonderful partner. Since his passing he has been every puff of smoke, every closing door, and every empty chair.
Barry always referred to Kirk as his favorite son-in-law. He treated him as another son, teaching him how to hunt, fish, and trusting him with his only daughter. After the Petrie boys would pile into one truck, it would be Kirk left partnered with Barry in another truck for hunting season - Kirk believed that Barry was his hunting lucky charm, as he never made a big kill unless Barry was with him. Barry and the kids used to joke that there was an estranged fourth son between Patrick and Tanner because of the large age gap, Kirk fell perfectly between the two, filling "Peter's" void. The last time Kirk saw Barry was in Saskatoon and he had asked Kirk for a ride in his new vehicle. Barry explained to Kirk what the city looked like in the seventies throughout the west side and down town of Barry's old stomping grounds. Kirk will cherish that time for the rest of his life. Kirk never took the opportunity to tell Barry how much he loved him, but he did - for raising his wife, for being Gramps, and for being his hunting buddy
Kadence loved to snuggle her Gramps - he always hugged her and said "I love you." She loved to play "Animal" with him, and go hunting rocks. Kadence said her Gramps was always happy, and he always was when she was around. Amanda loved watching them play Big Pup, Monsters High, and Barry's commitment to Kadence always having a smile on her face.
Violet loved playing blocks and building a tower with gramps, and she enjoyed walks at Gigi's house this winter. She liked his hair his eyes and his beard.
Nora and Zoey had grown to love their Gramps deeply over time and he loved them too. Mabel and Rose were privileged enough to be held for a precious few minutes.
Barry loved his mother in law, Mary. After his own parents died Barry decided that he would adopt Mary as his mother. He loved to ask her about homesteading - everything from raising chickens to gardening. He loved his siblings, and his siblings in law, his many nieces and nephews, their spouses, and their children.
Barry and Laurie were best friends. They were passionately in love with each other. Barry was proud of Laurie - he hated to do things without her because he loved to be seen with her. He loved to sit with her and would often ask her to quit working and come and sit down a minute, she sometimes complied where they would have a simple conversation, a philosophical discussion, or reflect on the past together. They were a good team, and shared many high fives over the years like this winter after successfully grandparenting through any number of little girl troubles, or during gardening, cleaning house, or yard work. Barry would tell her he loved her several times a day whether stepping out for a moment, for the day, at bed time. He would tell her how beautiful she was, how great her bum looked, and once again how much he loved her. He would bring her flowers "just because". He never left the house without a kiss. They were together for thirty nine years, and he had recently called from the field to remind Laurie that the anniversary of their first date was coming soon. For thirty nine years he loved, cared for, and pampered Laurie.
To say he will be missed is an understatement.