It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved sister Mary Rita (Sam) Barry (AKA Rita, MR, Mare, Marita and even "Red" at times- hair colour, not politics) after a long fight with cancer surrounded by family in the early morning of Saturday, October 9th, 2021. She was the "glue" that kept her large family together and is survived by her siblings Yvonne Thompson (Joseph), Jacque Muladore (Phillip), Maureen Sheilds (Rod Templeton), Margie Sullivan (Shaun), Bill Barry (Marilyn) and sister-in-law Sheila Thomson along with her 8 nephews, 3 great nieces, 5 great nephews and countless neighbours and friends.
Rita was born in Vancouver but spent her childhood and youth at Lang Bay south of Powell River. Ready for the bright lights and big city of Vancouver at age 17, she started with the Royal Bank of Canada and her 20 year career with them took her to both Montreal and Kamloops. After leaving RBC she went to the North West Territories as the cook for a junior mining company and returned with them to Vancouver as secretary after the company discovered one of Canada's largest diamond mines. Before retirement she managed Johnson's Flooring company and received her real estate license. Always an astute business woman, Rita's career was varied and interesting.
A truly authentic person, Rita embodied goodness and reflected it on others, always putting her family, friends, neighbours and loved ones at the core of her priorities. She contributed actively in her community of Point Grey volunteering for many years with Vancouver's Meals on Wheels, organizing block parties in her neighbourhood and working at the local pharmacy. She knew everyone on her part of West 12th Avenue. Rita was also an avid skier and spent many years in Whistler sharing a condo with friends. A lover of all animals, she especially loved dogs and spent the last several years of her life in the company of her cherished companion, Rascal. Rita was an exceptional cook and hostess, and a meal shared with her was always a special treat through her creative culinary pursuits and ease at making all feel included, appreciated and welcomed. Whenever family or friends arrived from out of town they always stayed at her home, the "Barry B&B". Rita was often the funniest person in the room, and through her keen observations and quick wit, conversations and debates with her were always lively and entertaining. She was a wonderful "Auntie Sam" to her nephews, and took great pride in their lives and accomplishments. She loved bridge and became an avid player participating with many groups and also on-line. A fashionista and traveller, Rita had a flare for life and everyone who knew her benefited from her style, spirit and generosity. She will be dearly missed.
Very special thanks to her doctors, nurses and care aids at both St. Paul’s Palliative Care, and St. John’s Hospice on UBC Campus. In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Paul’s Palliative Care, or the SPCA. A funeral Mass will be held on Friday, Oct. 22nd at 11am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 2465 Crown Street, Vancouver. Due to Covid-19 concerns and regulations, a private family celebration will follow.
Rita met life and death head-on with courage, stoicism and with an innate sense of kindness and humor always intact. Our world and ourselves are better, and certainly more beautiful and well organized, for having Rita among us.