BARBARA KATHLEEN CHUTSKOFF

BARBARA KATHLEEN CHUTSKOFF

Barbara Kathleen Chutskoff was born July 7, 1951, at Grand Forks, B.C., to parents William and Polly Chutskoff. Barbara was the oldest in a family of three children: Barbara, Howard and Cynthia.

Barbara, together with her siblings grew up in Grand Forks on the family farm on Carson Road. Her years were spent enjoying childhood activities with neighbourhood friends. As she got older, she helped out with household chores including housework and helping with the family garden.

Barbara received her education up to Grade 12 at the local schools. She was a good student and enjoyed school life. In high school she participated in student government and many other school activities.

During Barb’s years in Grand Forks she was an active participant in Doukhobor activities. She attended the USCC Sunday meetings for children and later participated in the USCC Union of Youth, singing in the choir and socializing with other youth. Barb would remain a life long member of the USCC.

Upon graduation from Grand Forks Secondary School in 1969 and after taking a year off and working for a local law firm, Barb decided that she wanted to go into the medical field, either as a physiotherapist or a medical technician. She enrolled at Selkirk College in Castlegar where she took a general science program in preparation for transfer to a University in Vancouver. However, her plans for a career in the medical field never materialized, and she returned to Grand Forks where she worked another two years at the same law firm.

In 1973 at the age of 22, Barbara moved to Vancouver to pursue the next phase of her life. Having decided not to continue with her post-secondary education, she entered the work force and quickly secured a job with British Canadian Importers, a small private wholesale distributing company of bakery and dairy equipment and ingredients. She would spend the next thirty years with them where she became a well-respected, trusted and valued employee.

Barbara settled in the West End of Vancouver where she would live the remainder of her life. Here she was lucky to have met a number of people who became dear, lifelong friends and remained a very important part of Barb’s life.

In due course, several friends from Grand Forks also moved to Vancouver and Barb re-established ‘small town’ friendships in the big city. Many years were spent singing together in the UYD, organizing and performing in concerts and participating with other ethnic groups in various activities. Barb was a doer and enjoyed the activities that kept her active and in touch with her religious roots and heritage.

Barb still holds the distinction of being the first female chairperson of the UYD. Besides helping to organize and participate in some of UYD’s more memorable concerts like Sunrise to Sunset and the 20th Reunion concert, a highlight of Barb’s involvement was the trip to and performances at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Barb would often fondly remember her many childhood travels with her family and had the desire to do a lot of traveling in her adult years. She did manage to make a couple of trips to Hawaii and one to Mexico as well as several shorter car trips to various Canadian and US destinations. She was also fortunate to be able to take a cruise to Alaska with her parents to celebrate Polly’s 75th birthday.

Although Barb never married nor had children of her own, she was the biggest ‘kid’ at heart and loved to dote on her niece and nephews, play games and laugh. There were no special occasions that went unnoticed. Whether it was a birthday, Christmas, Easter or graduation, Barb would be there with cards, gifts and big hugs for all. She also attended many baseball and hockey games, school concerts and graduations. In the past few years, when Barb was not as mobile, she would keep in touch by phone and then computer and email! She was thrilled to keep connected with her loved ones online, complete with photos. She continued to keep in touch with Doukhobor activities via computer, most recently watching the Brilliant Talent Night with the technology of live stream.

In recent years Barb experienced health problems which resulted in a short term disability situation, and later turned into long term disability. She was obliged to quit her job, which was a very difficult thing for her to do. Her whole life suddenly changed, but with patience and help from her family and friends, she made adjustments in her life style to accommodate her physical situation. She was determined to keep her independence and was ever optimistic about her future. Barb passed away peacefully in her sleep, in her own bed, in her home, on the evening of April 5, 2011.

Barb was predeceased by her younger sister, Cynthia Meehan in 1999 and her father, William Chutskoff in 2006. Barb is survived by her mother, Polly; brother, Howard and his wife, Lorraine and nephews Misha, Andrei and Matvei Chutskoff of Surrey; as well as brother-in-law, Neil Meehan; niece, Kristina and her husband, Allan Prins; and nephews, Joe and Nick Meehan, all of Calgary.

Barb will be remembered for her generous heart, positive spirit and hearty laugh. She will be greatly missed by her family, relatives and numerous friends. A funeral service for Barbara was held at the USCC Community Centre followed by burial at the Sion Cemetery on Saturday, April 16, 2011.

The family of Barbara Chutskoff would like to thank everyone who attended the funeral, the USCC organization and the Grand Forks community. Thanks to Peter Rezansoff for officiating, JJ Verigin for his kind words, and to all those who spoke and shared memories of Barb. Thank you as well, to the cooks, grave diggers and singers; to those who sent condolences, brought food or visited, we appreciate your kindness. Thank you Eli Popoff for the Russian translation of the biography. We also thank Everett Baker of the Grand Forks Funeral Home for his service and guidance. May God accept her into His Heavenly Kingdom and may she rest in peace.


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