Passed away peacefully at Toronto Grace Hospital, on Monday, December 4, 2023, at the age of 95. Beloved wife of the late Andrew. Loving mother of Chris and Diane (Patrick); and grandmother of Katherine and Noah.
Barbara was born in Toronto on May 12, 1928, to Robert Cumming and Eudora Kitzelman, and was their only child.
She met her life partner Andrew playing bridge and they married on January 9, 1958, at Hart House, at the University of Toronto. Barbara and Andrew loved tennis and made several trips to London and Paris to watch Wimbledon and The French Open. Barbara’s mother was from Illinois and nearly every time she went to visit family in Chicago, they would take her to see Chicago Cubs games, where she even had the chance to see Jackie Robinson play. Naturally, when the Blue Jays launched in 1977, she became an instant fan - so much so that Barbara and Chris went to see the very first game on a snowy April day. Baseball games became a key part of the family’s life, and over the years Barbara was fortunate enough to attend several playoff games, and World Series games. Barbara and her family attended at least one game together every year from 1977 until 2019. Blue Jays games became a family tradition and were the site of numerous birthdays, Mother's Days, and Father's Days.
Barbara was extremely gifted and, on several occasions, completed 2 grades in one school year. As a result, she started at the University of Toronto when she was 15 and graduated with her bachelor of commerce degree in 1948. She was one of the first female chartered accountants in Canada. She worked for several accounting firms before launching her firm in the 1980s. She merged her practice in 1991 and the new firm became Gory and Stavreff, Chartered Accountants. She retired shortly thereafter. Post-retirement, she stayed incredibly active. She was on the governing council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. For all of her years of volunteering in the chartered accounting industry (nearly 40), she was awarded the FCA & FCPA designations. She served as the president of the Academy For Lifelong Learning. She also served as president of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra. She served as a board member and officer of the Women's Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) Foundation, the Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs, the Women's Musical Club of Toronto, Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada, and several others. From 2010-2019, she served with the Associated Senior Executives (ASE). She launched the residents council at Tapestry Village Gate West, where she lived from 2014-2022. And most recently she served on the stakeholder advisory council of the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), where she served until early 2022. Over the years, she was quoted & interviewed for countless publications including in The Globe & Mail. She was a member of Humbercrest United Church for approximately 60 years and served many years on their finance committee.
Barbara’s family wants to thank all of the staff who have taken incredible care of Barbara over the last 20 months, including everyone at Tapestry, St. Joseph's Hospital, The Reactivation Care Centre, Runnymede Rehab Hospital, Chartwell Grenadier, and Toronto Grace Hospital where she spent the final 6 months of her incredible life. A special thank you to the incredible personal support workers from Home Instead Toronto West who became more than just support staff to the family.
Friends may call at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, on Monday, December 11, 2023, from 10-11 am. A Funeral Service will follow in the Chapel at 11 am. Interment at Park Lawn Cemetery. If desired, donations may be made to Toronto Grace Hospital or Humbercrest United Church.