We are so proud of our mum, Dorothy Elizabeth (Dee) Barton, and all she accomplished in her life.
Born in Calgary on January 4, 1929, she was raised on her parents’ orchard in Creston, B.C. There, she nurtured a love of gardening and orchard-keeping—notwithstanding the disagreements she had with her dad about how high she should climb on the fruit-picking ladder – and how hard she always fell.
Mum always had a keen sense of adventure. In 1955, she and dad (Stan Barton) drove from Trail to Kitimat, travelling as a convoy with dad’s work crew, heavy equipment, trucks and trailers. Early into the journey, they unloaded one of their Caterpillar tractors to pull their own, and other vehicles, through the door-deep mud of Highway 16 West.
Upon arrival in Kitimat (by train from Terrace), mum and dad took up temporary residence in a very basic plywood shack in Alcan’s construction camp (now Riverlodge): over time, they built a succession of new homes, schools and commercial buildings. Later, they did similar work in Kemano (the site of Alcan’s power station). In early 1960, they moved their operations to nearby Terrace. Once settled, mum and dad continued their construction activities, which by now included the manufacture and erection of pre-fabricated homes. Their companies were Barton Construction, Sav-Mor Builders Centre and Nor-Pine Homes. Mum was in charge of sales and also wore many other hats, both in the business and out.
She taught secretarial skills at the vocational school in Terrace (now Northwest Community College) and worked with new immigrants on their English language abilities. We fondly remember lively gatherings with them at our house in Terrace Winter family trips to Hawaii were a highlight.
Our parents moved to Sidney on Vancouver Island in 1975. After dad died in 1984, mum continued to design and build homes in Victoria. Always very social and wanting to learn, she graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in sociology at age 70.
In 1997, she designed and daughter, Betty and her construction crew, built yet another new home in
Victoria: from there, mum operated a successful B&B for 12 years.
She made all her own jams and wines, prepared spectacular breakfasts, researched all of Victoria’s tea houses, and kept up with the various happenings around town to best advise her B&B guests. In fact, “Dee’s B&B” was touted on the Israeli Tourism web site as, “…the only place to stay when you are in Victoria”.
Mum loved sailing in the Gulf Islands with friends, and later, with son Doug and family. She was an avid
hiker and angler. A long-standing Sunday tradition of mum’s at our cabin on Lakelse Lake near Terrace was taking the boat and fishing rod out to catch a breakfast of trout to complement dad’s famous crepes.
Mum was an expert pie-maker, particularly known for her blackberry/apple pies from her own apple trees, and blackberries picked personally along the golf course path across from her house in Saanich. She frequently did flower arrangements for her church, neighbours and friends; volunteered for many years as an ESL instructor at UVic, and was active in her neighbourhood association. In recent times, she served as secretary at her Abbeyfield home monthly member meetings.
Mum selflessly died on February 25, 2015 with her daughter, Susan (who had battled with terminal Multiple Systems Atrophy for a number of years) in Victoria.
Mum is survived by her loving son, Doug McClary (Denise); enthusiastic, smart grandsons Stephen (Alexa), Paul (Emily); Mark and Andrew, and devoted daughter,
Betty Barton (Grant Piffer).