Obituary of Anne Marie Barclay
In memory of Anne Marie Barclay, who was born Anne Marie Penner on February 7th, 1927, to Anna and Jacob Penner in Harris, Saskatchewan: Anne passed away on June 12th, 2022, at Lion’s Manor, in Winnipeg, having survived her older brothers, Henry and Pete, her older sisters, Rita and Trudy, her younger sister Frieda, and her younger brothers, Erve and Hugo. She was the last living member of her generation of the Penner family. Anne leaves behind her children, Peter, Penny, and Paul; Peter’s partner Elizabeth and their son Patrick, and Penny’s partner Wade and their four children, Brenna, Jordan, Dominic, and Ethan; as well as Brenna’s partner Andrew and Jordan’s partner Lindsay. Also surviving Anne are Anne’s late husband, Frank’s, younger brother, Hugh, and his wife, Masami Barclay.
Anne was the storyteller in our family. Her stories gave us a history of the soul of our family and an understanding of the life of the family before any of her descendents have lived memories. The Penner family fled Russia with three children already born in the chaos that followed the 1917 revolution. They lived in Saskatchewan and Alberta, eventually settling in Waldheim, Saskatchewan. Anne went through early childhood in the Great Depression and came of age in the 1940s. Before Anne’s last year of high school, the family moved again, this time to Chilliwack, B.C. Anne worked for a pharmacist after high school, helping to put her younger sister through nursing school. Attending a wedding in Victoria as a bridesmaid, Anne met Francis Walter Barclay, a friend of the groom. Soon, on September 3rd, 1955, Anne and Frank were also married.
The couple put everything they owned into a car and drove several thousand kilometres to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. There, Anne and Frank’s first child, Peter, was born. Later, the family lived in Deep River, Ontario. Anne bore her daughter, Penny, and a second son, Paul, in that town. In 1966, the family moved back to Manitoba, this time to Pinawa, where they lived for 48 years and where Anne and Frank will now both rest.
Anne loved classical music and hymns, the Steinbach radio station, tea, home-cooked meals, a well-stocked pantry, gardening and preserving. Her stuffing was the highlight of our Christmas fare. She made outstanding fruit pies, rhubarb, apple, blueberry, and plum. She was a formidable picker of blueberries, a skill developed as a fruit picker in the Okanagan in her youth. She disliked camping, suffered from car sickness, and looked with disapproval upon improperly shoveled driveways, hedges poorly trimmed, and games in which the winner won by too much. As a mother of a growing family, Anne’s sneeze could wake the neighbours. Anne was an active person. In her own words, she was like a house on fire. She ran up and down stairs all day long. In the words of one of her friends, you could eat off of her floors. That’s because she used elbow grease when cleaning them. She valued privacy, family gatherings, straight A’s, and steady jobs.
Anne loved God, the Bible, her church and her church family. Anne loved her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. Her devotion never wavered. She delighted in children at each stage of their growth and cherished each change in a child’s life. This is what she gave her life to and how she left her mark in our souls, minds, and lives. Truly, becoming a grandmother gave Anne a second wind in life. In her golden years, Oma loved caring for her grandchildren, playing games around the kitchen table, taking walks, and watching Blue Jays games with Opa. She did not live quite long enough to become a great grandmother.
Anne Barclay was tough. In 1975, Anne battled cancer. She left hospital three days after undergoing major surgery, and after a few more days of rest, went back to running the household. She lived for 47 more years. However, the difficulties that came with the loss of her husband, and with age, proved to be the greatest challenge Anne faced in her long life. Our family’s deepest gratitude goes to the workers who held Anne in their constant care through these pandemic years at Lion’s Manor, where she could live close to Penny, Wade, and their four children. Anne was at once a woman of her time and an individual like no other. Anne Marie Barclay was loved, and she will be missed; her memory and her gifts will be cherished, as those of us who knew her continue on the paths she did so much to prepare.