Barbara Joyce Nunn

February 20, 1928 - June 18, 2022


FEBRUARY 20, 1928 TO JUNE 18, 2022

     Barbara Nunn was the only surviving child of Arthur and Hilda Lanham, her younger brother, Jack, having died as an infant. She grew up in the country in the village of Darsham, Suffolk, England, where her parents owned a small grocery store, and where she learned early in life the importance of hard work. She did well at school and after graduating, she went to work in a shop in a nearby town that required her to stay in lodgings for the work week. She was independent and travelled round England by train taking holidays with friends.

Barbara met Alfred Nunn in her home village, and their dates often involved cycling miles to attend dances together. Some people were surprised when Barbara decided to marry Alfred and become a farmer’s wife as she knew nothing about farming. However, Barbara was tough and resilient and learned to do many things that others didn’t think she could do – building barns, driving tractors and combines, and looking after animals. It was a hard life, but Barbara was always happy with what she had. Barbara and Alfred had 4 children – Joyce, Peter, Sheila, and Anita – and they brought her tremendous joy. She said that the happiest days of her life were when her children were young, and the family was all together.

Barbara loved living in the country – the peace and quiet and the birds, animals, and plants. She always had lovely gardens and could tell you the names of all the flowers and describe them in great detail. She sewed, knitted, painted, did crafts, baked, wrote the best newsy letters, loved chatting to people, and never forgot a birthday. She never came back from a walk on the beach without a pocketful of stones and shells.

When Alfred decided to move the family to Canada, she didn’t want to go as she was happy where she was. However, she went along with his plan, but it meant that her family was now split in two and this caused her great sadness.

In Canada, they settled in Austin, Manitoba, where they became active members of the community. Barbara was the manager of the businesses she and Alfred ran. She handled all the bookkeeping, organizing, and paperwork for the Austin Sports Centre, rental properties, laundromat, Austin Raceways, and the Whispering Sands golf course. Alfred would have been lost without her managerial skills. When her children left home, she decided to work outside the home for the first time. She enjoyed 10 years as a nursery school assistant in MacGregor. She loved being around young children. Many years after she left, tall teenage boys would greet her in Austin, and she would realize that she had taught them in nursery school. She felt very touched and happy that they remembered her.

Barbara’s husband and her children were her world. She was a wonderful mother – supportive and present without being interfering. She had a great sense of humour and liked nothing better than a good joke or having her leg pulled. When her grandchildren came along, she poured all her energy and love into doing the things with them that she had done with her own children – crafts, gardening, reading books together, and teaching them about the birds, flowers, and animals that they saw in her garden. She made sure she learned about their favourite singers and read their favourite books so she could talk to (and surprise) them with her knowledge. They would often ask, “Grandma, how do you know that?”

She loved opera and would play it loudly at home when no-one else was around. She also loved reading and liked nothing better than getting her head stuck in a book. Unfortunately, she rarely had time to do that, and when she finally did have time, sadly, she had lost the ability.

Barbara’s world became very small and lonely when she lost her hearing, and even hearing aids could not help her. After caring for Alfred during a long illness, and following his death, her mind started to falter. As dementia set in, she slowly lost the ability to do any of the things she loved. She spent the last two years of her life in a care home, and until the end was loved by her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, who will all miss her. We are happy that she is no longer suffering, but the world was a more cheerful place with her in it.

There will be a private ceremony for family only. Anyone wishing to honour Barbara’s life is encouraged to plant a tree or a flowering plant in her memory or put up a bird feeder or bird bath. That would make her very happy.