Barbara Jean Bethune



(née Bell)

September 26, 1928

August 21, 2021


After a long and happy life, Barbara passed away peacefully at Belmont House in Toronto, on August 21st, at the age of 92.


Barb was a loving wife to the late Norman W. Bethune (2006) and sister to her only brother, the late William (Bill) Bell.  She will be missed by many, but especially by her children, Wendy (David Bunston), Susan (David Bowlby), David (Cathy Ryan) and Anne (Michael Pezim); her much loved grandchildren, Jamie (Emily Sorell), Brooke (Christopher McFarlane), Matt, Caitlyn, Scott, Bradley (Maria Milner), Zoé and Mitchell; and her great-granddaughters,  Ellis and Olive.


Born in Toronto in 1928 to Ethel M. Milnes and Gordon DeCou Bell, Barb attended Havergal College (class of 1946) and the University of Toronto (Trinity College), graduating in 1952.


Barb was an active member of her community, enjoying curling and bridge at the Toronto Cricket Club, happily engaged in the life of St. John’s Anglican Church, York Mills, among numerous other volunteer leadership roles.  Barb and Norm loved time at their family cottage at Juddhaven in Muskoka, especially the happy cottage times shared with family and friends.  She was a devoted, caring and supportive mother, loyal friend, dedicated community volunteer, and a fully engaged grandma who got to know each of her grandchildren.  She always had time to play a game…or go for ice cream!  The central and most important focus of Barb’s life was her family.


Our family would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the staff at Belmont House for the extraordinary care and many kindnesses shown to our mom and our family, particularly the exceptional team on 4W.  We would especially like to thank Ali, Simone and Kim for the comfort they provided to Mom over the past few years, and the difference they made for Mom and our family.


A private family service will be held at St. John’s York Mills.  For those who wish, donations can be made to Belmont House  or St. John’s Anglican Church York Mills  Condolences may be forwarded through


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