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BARBARA ELLEN PIPER
July 20, 1953 - October 31, 2023
Barbara Ellen Piper (Heselton) passed away peacefully in the company of her family at the age of 70, on October 31, 2023 at the Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Barbara was born on July 20, 1953 in New Westminster, British Columbia to parents Jack and Rose Heselton. She grew up in Haney amongst a large and loving extended family. When Barbara was 11, her family moved to Prince George initiating her perpetual and explicit dislike of cold and snow. She moved back to Burnaby, BC as a young adult, embracing the more temperate climate, and later, her husband of 39 years, Kevin Piper.
Barbara was first and foremost a loving wife to her husband, Kevin, and a devoted mother to her two daughters, Julianne and Jessica Piper. She was a source of immeasurable love and support, and will forever be their greatest cheerleader. Barbara created a home filled with warmth and laughter, and was happiest surrounded by her family and many friends.
The family home she lovingly created with Kevin and their two girls in Burnaby was a place of gathering. Barbara loved hosting, and would often bring together neighbours, friends and family for evenings of music and unparalleled home-made feasts and treats. She leaves behind a legacy of kindness and generosity, having instilled values of humility, compassion, and the ability to find light and humour through the toughest times in life.
To spend more time with her girls, Barbara took a career hiatus and ran a home-based daycare for 10 years, through which many lifelong neighbourhood connections and friendships were nurtured. As the girls progressed through school at Douglas Road and Burnaby Central, Barbara enthusiastically stepped up to help out any way she could; from haunted house curator to crosswalk supervisor; school-play Santa to band trip fundraiser.
Barb loved shopping, especially for fabulous shoes. Girls’ trips to Birch Bay, WA frequently brought together different friends and family for memorable weekends featuring fashion shows, good food, and of course, wine. Her passion for travelling further afield was sparked by a trip to Paris with five close girlfriends, the memories of which she would revisit with joy and laughter for years to follow, and in particular the valuable phrase “Je voudrais un verre de vin blanc s’il vous plaît.”
In retirement, she planned and enjoyed many international adventures with Kevin and her family, including to Europe, Australia and South America. When not adventuring abroad, Barbara was dedicated to building community in Kelowna, B.C. where she and Kevin retired to, and renovated their dream home in a duplex next door to her mum, sister and brother-in-law. Barbara and Kevin’s years in Kelowna were shaped by hosting visiting friends and family; staying active through a wonderful community they became a part of at the Rutland YMCA; and a love of good food and wine. Barbara sang in the Kelowna Community Chorus and took a number of classes at the Okanagan Community College. She enjoyed frequent family visits, especially when her “grand-dog” CTD (aka Charlie the Dog) tagged along (he often garnered the greatest proportion of presents at Piper family Christmases).
Barbara was diagnosed with Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy in 2017, which resulted in a fiercely fought battle with progressive dementia. In 2019 she reluctantly overcame her dislike of all things winter, and relocated to Winnipeg, MB to be closer to family support. Barbara continued to enjoy time spent with family, food, and wine. She loved attending live musical performances and events, and continued to make friends and build community everywhere she went.
Barbara will be missed by her husband Kevin, and her family: daughter Jessica Piper and her partner Bradley Lenk; daughter Julianne Piper, her husband Evan Duly and son Aaron Duly. She is also survived by her siblings: Gordon and Naomi Heselton, Mike and Laura Heselton, and Kathy and Dale Blanchard. Barbara was predeceased by her brother David Heselton and beloved Aunt Lillian Heselton.
The family will be planning a celebration in honour of Barbara’s life for Spring 2023, in the BC Lower Mainland: details will be shared in the coming weeks.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the following charities that reflect her compassion and deeply held personal values:
Centre Flavie (Winnipeg, MB)
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (Vancouver, BC)
Barbara will be dearly missed and fondly remembered. Her legacy lives on in the hearts of her loved ones, and her vibrant spirit will continue to bring joy to those who were fortunate to know her. May she rest in peace.
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