Barbara Duff
Barbara Duff
Barbara Duff
Barbara Duff
Barbara Duff
Barbara Duff

Obituary of Barbara June Duff


Barbara June Duff
January 23, 1933 - January 1, 2021
Toronto, Ontario - On the Friday, January 1, 2021, Barbara June Duff, passed away at home at age 87.

Barbara was born in Brigden, Ontario near Sarnia. Barbara was the youngest of five children including Bernard, Ruth, Marie and Doris, born to Stella and Abraham Bedard.

Barbara had an especially close bond with her sister, Marie.  This bond remained across the years until Marie’s passing in 2003.  In the early 1950’s Barbara struck out to tour Europe with Marie, ‘to see what was out there’.  From this first trip, Barbara had caught the love of adventure and the passion to experience how others live.

They enjoyed many adventures together and Marie met her future husband Hans during their travels.  Marie and Hans married in Europe and then emigrated to Australia where they eventually settled in Adelaide and started a family.

After returning home to Canada, Barbara began working in the Sarnia area.  However, instead of settling down, she followed Marie to Australia and worked there for a year.  She returned to Canada and settled in Toronto, employed with a food manufacturing company where she remained for over 30 years. 

In the early 1960’s Barbara met Lloyd Duff and discovered that they shared a love of music, theatre, and the arts. They married in 1962.  They moved to mid-town Toronto with their young son, James to build a future for themselves.  Sadly, shortly after she announced her retirement in 1989, Lloyd was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away later that year. Family was Barbara’s touchstone throughout her life.  She often travelled back to Sarnia to visit relatives and friends and was particularly close to her cousin, Phil Palmer, his wife Ruth and their extended family. Over the years, Barbara could always be found with her brother & sister-in-law’s Morris & Dorothy and their extended family for Christmas.   

Beyond travelling, Barbara made good use of her Public Library card over the decades as she was an avid reader and especially enjoyed mystery and romance novels.  Barbara was a member of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum and was also a Friend of the Shaw Festival.

During retirement, Barbara continued to travel near and far, sharing laughs and adventures with her travelling companions. She travelled back to Europe on a number of occasions, visiting London, Stonehenge, Greece, Madrid, and Barcelona with her friend Ola Switzer. In North America, Barbara and Dorothy visited their sister-in-law Jean Swanson, and her extended family in Washington state.  They also climbed glaciers in British Columbia, strode down Sparks Street in Ottawa, and embraced the culture of the old City in Montreal. 

Barbara made return visits to Australia planning a new adventure for each trip with Marie and her family. Driving countless hours in the Outback, encountering only the road-trains. Inspecting the bolts for the ‘roo-catcher’ on the car. Feeding eucalyptus leaves to Koalas. Wine tasting in the Adelaide Hills. Noodling for opals in Coober Pedy. Camping out in gorges, and peeking about for Tasmanian devils. On these trips of a lifetime, she also made stops to explore Vancouver, San Francisco and Hawaii. 

Closer to home, Barbara enjoyed many trips ‘to the theatre’ in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake with her friend Judy Kohn, with whom she had worked for many years.  Barbara and Judy also shared countless outings to galleries, festivals, movies, and restaurants in and around Toronto.  She was Instrumental along with Diane and her sons Graeme Longland and Sebastian Palfrey in supporting Barbara with the necessities for living independently as well as connecting socially during daily phone calls.

Barbara enjoyed Ontario cottage visits with Morris, until his death in 2013, and with her nephew David and his family in Southampton for many years.  Her last outing before the COVID 19 lockdown was to the Soulpepper production of the Riverboat Coffee House, with her niece, Diane and her wife, Tatra.

A Commemorative Tree is planned in one of her favourite parks in the St.-Clair area where Barbara took her dog, Cleo, for walks, through the City of Toronto’s Commemorative Program.

Barbara is survived by her son, James Duff, and her nieces and nephews, Eva, Michael and Chris Leitner; Diane and Dave Duff; Stephen and Brian Lee; and their families as well as her many cousins and Friends.

This page is intended to be a tribute to Barbara.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and photos.  Her memory lives on with all of us.