Barbara Ann Preston

PRESTON, Barbara Ann January 31, 1931 – April 11, 2016 Beloved by all who knew her, Barbara Ann Preston (Thomson) was born in Spokane, Washington and grew up in Trail, BC, the daughter of Gladys Esther (Thorpe) and Henry Pengelly Thomson (deceased) and the little sister of John Stuart Thomson. For 65 years, the loving and adored wife of John F. Preston, she was the proud mother of Valerie (Joseph Cox) and John (Fawn Baron) and delighted grandmother to Simon and Elizabeth Cox and Liam and Owyn Baron-Preston. Barbara loved and was much loved by the Barton family, particularly John Barton, her Thomson nieces and nephew and their families, Lily Baker, and the extended Preston and Thorpe families. An army wife who sustained family life amid frequent moves across Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Barbara made lifelong friends wherever she lived, especially Allison Withers, Jane Shaw, and Barbra Patch. She shared strategies for moving on a week’s notice, transforming curtains to fit new windows, and comforting children frightened about the second new school of the year with the iron chestnuts. Barbara always volunteered including, among other endeavours, as the organizer and manager for a Red Cross dental clinic in Montreal, an emergency flood responder in Alexandria, Virginia, a therapeutic riding assistant in Duncan, BC, and a reading assistant in Victoria’s public schools. A gourmet cook, she eagerly tried new recipes, prepared sumptuous holiday meals, and entertained warmly. Barbara’s enthusiasm for all forms of drama fed an encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare and a love for North American poetry. At the age of 42, Barbara returned to school, completing a BA (Social Sciences) at the University of Ottawa. After teaching briefly at Algonquin College, she and John retired to Vancouver Island where they trimmed and tamed four acres of BC woodland. She mastered Spanish so that they could travel throughout Mexico, Cuba, and the Caribbean. “Kindness is everything!” was her daily practice and lifelong philosophy. She will be greatly missed by family, friends, and acquaintances around the world. At her request, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Babs, we love you. To leave a condolence please visit

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