Barbara Twaddle
Barbara Twaddle

Obituary of Barbara Twaddle

Passed away peacefully, at the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH) after a courageous battle with cancer. To summarize Barb, in a few paragraphs is an impossible task (so put on your reading glasses).

Barb was born in Meaford, to her loving parents, Cecil and Alison Laycock. She was the younger sister of Denis, Sandra and Murray, and big sister of David and Carolyn. Her youth was spent being adventurous, playing in the dirt with her siblings and neighbours, swimming, and befriending any animal she could find (excluding snakes). After graduating high school, she wanted to help others, and was inspired to attend nursing school. She worked mostly around the Meaford area, and then finally moved her career to Kapuskasing. 

It was in Kap that she met her husband Richard (aka Dunc) Twaddle. Together they led many adventures, most of which involved the infamous gold hippie van (complete with beaded curtain). Excited to begin their new lives together, the two were married in 1981. 

When they started their family, Barb left the nursing field, but never her role as a caregiver. Danica and Justin loved how special their mom made their childhood. Simple adventures like camping and road trips to see family, involved “trip toys” to open at the start of the drive, and measuring distance traveled in “Muppet shows”. She always made sure the journey was just as important as the destination (stopping for picnic lunches, swimming in any creek or stream). Danica and Justin grew up with homemade Halloween costumes, delicious baking, veggies gardens, and more love than anyone could imagine. Barb created a safe space that became the lifelong spot for all the kids’ friends to hang out at too.  It was in being a mom that she realized she was meant to work with children, and so when her kids were a little older, she returned to work, this time as a school librarian, and then as an Educational Assistant. 

As her kids grew, so did Barb’s family. Danica married Steve and Justin married Yen. Steve and Yen were like her own kids, and they adored her too. It’s not often that a mother-in-law becomes such an important and loved fixture in people's lives, but Barb was different. 

She added another role to her life in 2012, as she became “Gramma'' to Phoenix. She would do typical grandma things like bake treats and make homemade quilts (of Phoenix’s favorite characters), but she’d also hop on the back of a tube and zip around the lake with him or play lazer tag in the dark. Their adventures to Richards Landing included, picking berries, making pickles and jam, collecting shells on the beach, bonfires, fishing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. When she visited Barrie, they’d spend hours at the greenhouse, days at Wasaga beach, cuddling up for movies or hiking trails. His face would light up each time he would find one of grandma’s special musical cards in the mail, or a postcard, telling him how much she missed him. 

It seemed everywhere she went people would gravitate toward her. In Kapuskasing, she and Cathy would toast with Long Island iced teas, talk for hours, and laugh until their sides hurt. At work, Jean and Wally kept her wanting to show up each day. On the Island, Riverside Drive residents became an important fixture in Barb’s life. We know she will be missed at her regular coffee and fireside chats with Dawn and Roger, garage visits with Marylou, summertime toasts with Terry and Leanne, morning greetings from Odo, walks with Doreen, and teasing Ernie for being from Timmins as he paddles by her beach each day.

Barb had a soft spot in her heart for animals and had everything from a pet raccoon to dogs. She fed the birds, squirrels and chipmunks on the island, and of course all of the deer preferred Barb’s all you can eat flower garden buffet. At the end of her life, as she was snuggling her dog Missy, she mentioned that she was eager to be reunited with her pets on the other side.

Retirement with Dunc on St. Joseph Island meant summers digging her painted blue toes into the sand, watching the boats go by, kayaking, gardening and fishing.  Fall brought coffees on the deck, and long hikes. In the winter, she snowshoed, and continued her hobbies of quilting, and knitting for loved ones. In the spring, she’d start her seedlings in the windowsill and plan out her crops. Before she passed, she even reminded Dunc to start the tomatoes this week! We’ll all be sure to remind him to keep up with things, and if he doesn’t, we’ll sigh and use her famous phrase “you can’t tell a Heinz pickle nothin’!”

Thank you to all of the staff at the Health Sciences North in Sudbury, Sault Area Hospital and ARCH for the care given to Barb in her last few months.

The family asks that in memory of Barb, donations can be made to ARCH. 

Arrangements entrusted to Northwood Funeral Home Cremation and Reception Centre (942 Great Northern Rd, 705-945-7758).