Peacefully, in the early morning hours of July 4, 2021, Jessie Anne Barbara MacKenzie (née Easton) went to be with her Lord. Born in Nelson in 1932, Barbara (or “Babs” as she was known growing up) spent most of her school years in Castlegar. No stranger to the “Queen City of the Kootenays”, Barbara was the grand daughter of Jessie and William Byres, a stonemason whose capable work on retaining walls is still visible in parts of the city.
While working in reception in both the legal and medical fields in Castlegar, Barbara met Wayne MacKenzie in 1951— a geologist exploring the West Kootenays— dancing with him at Playmor Junction where young people from both Castlegar and Nelson would routinely meet. Barbara and Wayne married in Castlegar in May, 1952.
After accompanying Wayne in his mining career through various locations in Washington, Idaho, Maine, New Brunswick and Virginia, they both returned to the Kootenays when Wayne received a calling to Christian ministry in 1955. After a time spent studying at Union College (now the Vancouver School of Theology) at the University of British Columbia, the couple embarked on a new career path in both missions and pastoral ministry. Complimenting her husband’s more introspective character, Barbara was highly relational and gregarious— with a strong pragmatic streak and a well-developed gift of service. In total, Wayne and Barbara raised a family of four children and served multiple locations in British Columbia— including Whonnock and Webster’s Corner (Maple Ridge), Alert Bay, Bamfield, Kamloops, Enderby, Squamish, and Revelstoke. They returned to Nelson in 1976, where Barbara worked for many years as a Nurse’s Aide at Willowhaven— a care facility on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.
Following her retirement, Barbara remained in Nelson, sharing many wonderful years with her husband, Wayne, until his passing in March 2000. The MacKenzie family would like to take this opportunity to thank Barbara’s Rosemont neighbours for their significant help and kindness through the years. We also want to thank Barbara’s professional caregiver, Emily, and her various Community Homecare workers and nurses for their invaluable support in enabling Mom to live independently for many years. Also, a heartfelt thank you to the staff at the Mountain Lake Senior’s Community (Evergreen 15), where Mom spent her last few weeks.
Barbara is survived by her four children: Susan (Maynard) Embree of Maple Ridge; Hollie (Jim) Burrage of Nanoose Bay, Carolyn (Richard) Fortin of Surrey, and David (Berenice) MacKenzie of Courtenay; by nine grown grandchildren: Christopher, Matthew, Johanna, Megan, Joshua, Rebecca, Aidan, Aliyah, and Joshua; by her brother Bill’s children: Patty (Dale) Davies, Colleen (Dan) Nabata, and Bob (Teresa) Easton; by six great-grandchildren; as well numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grand-nephews on both sides of the Canadian-American border. She is also survived by many relatives in Scotland whom she faithfully kept in touch with and was able to meet in 2001. Barbara was predeceased by her parents, Annie (Byres) and William “Bill” . Easton; her beloved husband, Wayne; her brother, Bill Easton; and by one son-in-law, Don Stich.
In thanksgiving to God for His grace in Barbara’s life, a memorial service will be held at the Thompson Funeral Chapel on Friday, July 16th, beginning at 11:00 AM, followed by a reception (details pending). She will be interred at the Nelson Memorial Park cemetery at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations in Barbara’s memory can be made to: World Vision Canada or to First Baptist Church in Nelson, whose Elders faithfully served her communion, as a shut-in.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.— Psalm 23:6