Local artist and woman of influence in the early days of the art gallery, Barbara Highe is remembered in an exhibition at the Terrace Art Gallery for the month of February.
Barbara and her husband Don moved to Terrace in 1968 with their two sons, Jim and Angus, and their daughter Kathy arrived in 1969. In 1975, they built their home on Cranberry lane where they lived very happily. Don and Barbara became very involved in the community, Bluebacks Swim Club and the local soccer club.
Barbara was involved with the Terrace Arts Society for many years, and also started her career as a well-known artist. Over the next several years, she spent many hours in her studio producing a wide collection of artwork.
At the time, the art gallery was located in a tiny corner of the Terrace Public Library basement. In the 1970s, when the city added a new addition to the library, Barbara went to the city asking that it enlarge the basement to make room for a larger gallery. It was through Barbara’s efforts, and other local artists at the time, that Terrace got an improved gallery.
Barbara was born on March 27, 1922, the first child of three to Johann Ecker and Barbara Berger, were married in Linz, Austria in 1920. Barbara’s mother died in 1933.
In February 1942 she joined the German Red Cross and trained in Vienna. She spent the war years there as an operating theatre nurse, assisting in the amputation of frost-bitten fingers and toes from German soldiers returning from Russia.
In August 1945, she was discharged by the United States Medical Supervisor and she transferred to the German Military Hospital at Schloss Cumberland in Gmunden, Austria for nearly a year.
In October 1953, she booked ship’s passage from Bremen, Germany to Quebec City. She then travelled by rail to Toronto where she worked as a nurse at the Toronto General Hospital for two years.
During 1955, Barbara’s father died. That same year, she passed her Basic English and Citizenship Examination. She returned to Austria to finalize her father’s estate, mainly the sale of the family home in Linz.
For the month of November 1955, Barbara worked for El Al Israeli Airlines in Vienna. A Canadian visa was issued to her and she sailed on the Italian freighter “Vesuvio” from Genoa, Italy.
In March 1956, she re-entered Canada at Nanaimo. In September, she began work as a teletypist for C.P. Air at Vancouver Airport until her resignation nearly two years later.
Barbara was working for MacBlo in Vancouver in 1961 and was planning to leave for a job as a radio operator on a ship, when she met, and fell in love with, Don Highe. Barbara died peacefully at home on December 16, 2009, with Don and their three children by her side.
Everyone is invited to an exhibition of Barbara’s artwork at the art gallery. Proceeds from sales of her work will go to the gallery’s operating costs. See City Scene for more details.