Barbara Ann Nichols
February 10, 1931 – October 5, 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Barbara Ann Nichols, who passed away peacefully after a sudden illness in Victoria, BC, surrounded by family. She had moved there at the start of 2020 to be closer to family, leaving her flat by Westmount Park, where she had lived for 55 years.
Barbara was born in Champaign Illinois and grew up in Muskegon Michigan After receiving her BA from Wellesley College and spending a year in Oxford, she married and moved to Montreal, where her daughter Mary was born. She worked in social services until undertaking her Master’s in Social Work at McGill University, following which she taught at Dawson CEGEP. She went on to attain her doctorate in social work, also from McGill, where she taught for many years, forming close ties with her colleagues and students. She was a well-loved professor and provided support to many graduate students in their work.
She had many academic interests, focusing on women, poverty, aging and international development. She travelled widely, visiting many parts of the world, sometimes working, sometimes travelling for the joy of travel. She often travelled with friends and family and was especially grateful in her later years to be able to take a trip with each of her grandchildren.
She loved painting and drawing and was active after retirement at the Saidye Bronfman Centre and then the Visual Arts Centre in Westmount. She loved to sing, and had an astonishing repertoire of funny, popular, folk and other songs. She was involved in choirs, which she loved, under the direction of Mary Jane Puiu and Paul Keenan.
Barbara was a gregarious and compassionate woman who loved people, especially her family and friends. She was interested in the lives of everyone around her and formed relationships with people from all walks of life. She had many deep and affectionate relationships with friends and family (including an extraordinarily extensive list of “cousins”), who will all miss her greatly. She is survived by her daughter Mary Heppner, son-in-law Dan Barrett and grandchildren Hannah and Andrew Barrett.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the charity of your choice would be appreciated. She was particularly supportive of work done for refugees, women in international development, international health provision and peace.
Because of the pandemic, there will be a virtual celebration of her life in November. For an invitation, please contact Mary dot Heppner at gmail dot com.