James McNeice Barr, 84, of Penticton, British Columbia, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at home with his wife and 2 daughters holding him close.
Jim is survived by his wife Doreen of 60 years, daughters Caryn Bryne (Wayne King) and Dawn Horn (Brian); his grandchildren Alyssa, Terral, Austin and Mark; and his first great-granddaughter Charlotte.
Although Jim was born in Chicago, he was raised in Winnipeg from the age of 12. At the young age of 16 he bought a motorcycle and rode across Canada – the first of many motorcycle adventures in his life. On a blind date in 1953, Jim met the love of his life – Doreen Paterson. They married on December 26, 1956 in Regina. Over the next couple of years, they had 2 daughters and moved from Regina, to Thunderbay, and then back to Winnipeg. Jim was a loving and supportive dad who strongly believed his daughters could achieve anything. He was proud of his girls.
Jim was an extremely creative inventor in almost any area he ventured – the front-to-back double stroller he made for Doreen was first of its kind. He could assemble, create, fix, and repair any engine, any tool, any appliance, any toaster – sometimes to the dismay of Doreen who yearned for a new toaster! He approached a problem knowing that he had the solution – thinking outside the box and often using his ingenuity to come up with his own designs to get to the solution.
He attended the University of Manitoba where he graduated in Fine Arts, and was the valedictorian of the class of 1967. In 1970, he completed his Masters Program at Rinehart School of Sculpture in Baltimore, Maryland. He created the first interactive light display that responded to sound with changing coloured lights. That was later sold to a disco in Winnipeg.
The next stop for the Barr family was Calgary where Jim began teaching drawing and sculpture at the University of Calgary in 1970. His art classes were incredibly popular with the students, and he taught in funny and creative ways – always looking for ways to stimulate his students’ imaginations. He was innovative, and set up and taught the first bronze sculpture classes at the university. All of his life he was an avid reader and searcher of knowledge as he believed that he could learn to do anything. He was passionate about sharing that knowledge with those around him.
In 1976, Jim and Doreen bought a small orchard in Penticton, and spent 4 (hot) summers building their new home that was designed completely by Jim. It was an unusual design with 3 connecting hexagons that attracted lots of interest. Jim became an enthusiastic orchardist, continued his love of riding motorcycles, and always inventing better ways to keep the orchard producing fruit. He also started race-walking and kayaking, became a hypnotist and was a volunteer healing touch practitioner at the hospital. He was a strong supporter of Doreen while she pursued her triathlon career, and was always cheering her on and making sure her tires were pumped up! For 3 years, he and Doreen shared their orchard home with their daughter Dawn and her 4 children. Jim would take his grandchildren out with him on his tractor and spent many special moments teaching them how to care for his bees, his garden, and eventually even drive the tractor.
In 2007, Jim and Doreen sold the orchard and moved to Red Wing Resorts where they attended the dances and movie nights at the Clubhouse, and he took up pickle ball. Shortly thereafter, in 2009, Jim started the long difficult journey with Alzheimers. Jim and Doreen worked so hard to slow down that cruel disease, but in the last years he worsened and suffered from a series of small strokes and a heart attack. Up until the last week, he continued walking everyday with Doreen and going on daily car trips for ice cream or Chinese food – his favourites.
On Tuesday, August 2nd, Jim suffered another stroke that paralyzed his right side, and left him unable to swallow. He remained at home on palliative care with Doreen and his 2 daughters who were holding him as he let go of life. He is now at peace and will remain forever in our hearts.
Heartfelt thanks to the wonderful and supportive care from the palliative care nurses, Rhonda, Jill and Christy, Jim’s Nurse Next Door caregiver, Bill McFadyen, Carry Martin, Joanne Montgomery, and to Dr. Kooy and Dr. Watters.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting