Barber, Gina

Barber, Gina

December 17th, 2017

Gina Barber (née Vanderbelt), much loved partner for 47 years of husband James E. "Ted" Barber, in her 75th year at Victoria Hospital, London on Sunday, December 17th, 2017. Gina leaves behind her sisters, Bonny Mossip of St. Thomas and Rita (Andrew) Tadema of Sparta; her brother, George (Thea) Vanderbelt of Keswick and her brother-in-law, John Barber of London. She will also be missed by her nieces and nephews, to whom she read many bedtime stories when they were small, and her many great-nieces and nephews. Also missing her will be her good friends, both animal and human. Gina came to Canada, from the Netherlands, with her parents, Hendrick and Henny, and her siblings in 1950. She worked hard to become assimilated, sometimes to the chagrin of her family. Gina did well in school and like so many working-class girls of her era, entered Teachers College. Upon graduation, she taught in elementary schools in Hamilton and London, earned a BA in her spare time and then volunteered with CUSO in India. Upon her return, she enrolled in, and graduated from, an MA program (Sociology) at UWO. She then taught at Fanshawe College as well as working for FWTAO in Toronto for one year. Gina was passionate about politics, managing many political campaigns at all levels and twice serving as a federal NDP candidate. She served on London City Council from 2006-2010, where she and three other councilors – Joni Baechler, Nancy Branscombe and Judy Bryant – were called "the Killer Bees" for their hard work in attempting to ensure responsible land planning and development. She also spearheaded the WHO age-friendly cities movement in London. Following her retirement from council, Gina continued to keep an eye on City Hall, sharing her observations and insights in a well-researched blog, London Civic Watch. For the past few years, Gina focused her energies on The Society for Learning in Retirement London, where she introduced a computer clinic which brings together Western students and seniors and started a seniors' choir. She has also served on the board of Fanshawe Chorus, the London and District Labour Council, the Historic Sites Committee, the City of London Committee of Adjustment and the Byron Justice Circle St. Leonard's. Gina loved opera, books, cooking, writing lyrics, decorating and gardening. She enjoyed entertaining her friends and she had a tender heart for animals, especially cats. Cremation has taken place. Gina's ashes will be scattered in the spring. Friends are welcomed for visiting at WESTVIEW FUNERAL CHAPEL, 709 Wonderland Road North, London, on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. followed by a service of remembrance at 11:00 a.m. Donations in memory of Gina to the Society for Learning in Retirement London, Ontario's NDP, Federal NDP or the Karen Schuessler Singers would be appreciated. 

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Book of Condolences

Harold UsherSaddened at Gina's passing. Seems that no matter how long we live on this Earth, our work is never finished and I suspect Gina, even though she accomplished a lot, would have liked to accomplished a lot more, even if it was through others. I worked well and closely with Gina during her term on City Council, she as part of Board of Control and I as City Councillor. We had many discussions about the Issues facing our City, one of those being the existence of "Board of Control." I was NOT in favour of the demise of Board of Control as she was, but I was against the Superiority that most member of the Board exhibited - SO I SIDED WITH HER PROPOSAL THAT SE DISPENSED OF THE BOARD. I believe the final VOTE was 10 IN FAVOUR and 9 AGAINST. She was a great believer in equity and inclusivity and supported me along the way on these persuasions. More than anything she believed in the decency of Human Dignity and opportunity for all. I sincerely hope there will be others who will serve with her persuasions and belief as a backgrounder to theirs and help our City to be a place where Quality of Life continue to improve for All. R.I.P. Gina Barber. You will always be remembered positively by me and my wife, Melba. Harold Usher.
Matthew BrownI had the privilege of knowing Gina as both my professor and through the NDP London West Riding Association. Gina was my sociology professor at Fanshawe when I first came to London, and her courses intrigued me to broaden my understanding of social issues. When she contacted me before the 2011 election to get involved I immediately took the opportunity and learned a lot from her in terms of how to run a campaign, get the points across, and really engage at the local level through the riding association. She made me feel like I could contribute and feel included when I had a question or needed some guidance and direction. I truly value the experiences I got to have with her as a mentor. It is very saddening to hear of her loss and she will be greatly missed. Thank you Gina. RIP.
Victoria StirlingI was privileged to know Gina; she was a woman not afraid of speaking her mind. She felt. as I also do, when actions are required to try and change a wrong she'd give it her best shot. My condolences to her husband and family at this sad time but be proud of her and what she accomplished. May you be at peace Gina. Victoria Stirling
Wendy SivyerMy deepest sympathies to Ted, Bonny, Rita, George and families.
Helen RiordonMy condolences, Ted, and to all the family, and to all Gina's political family. We will all miss Gina--her sense of humour, her determination, and her wonderful ability to get us all motivated. Gina was one of a kind and I will truly miss her LINWOOD
Audrey Cole and Monte BlackGina has been, for more than 40 years, the best friend anyone could hope to have. Whether the occasion was one of Gina and Ted's. almost monthly barbecues with close friends, (usually with one of Gina's seasonally appropriate fruit pies) a theatre or opera date or just a visit over a cup of coffee Gina exhibited love, warmth and indefatigable good humour. There was another side to this personality that those of us who tried to keep up with her during election campaigns were acutely aware of. While no one could even pretend to match the combination of energy, enthusiasm, and qualities of leadership that Gina exhibited, demands were always made with good humour and a recognition that what we could offer was sincerely appreciated. We, along with a caring community will greatly miss Gina.
Vicki Van LindenEven though Gina did not hide the fact that she was terminally ill, it's still hard to take in that she is gone. I can't think of many people who lived as well as Gina did, and who handled dying as well either. She was a profoundly decent human being. She was extremely kind and generous with me regarding mentorship on animal related issues. More than 10 years ago when I was just becoming active in animal issues someone told me to call Gina. From that moment on she remained a trusted advisor. She was always encouraging and always willing to try to find a strategy to solve whatever problem was before us. My deepest condolences to Ted. One cannot say about many people that an entire city is better off because a particular person lived there, but we can say that about Gina. The ripples of Gina's well-lived life will be radiating for many years to come.
Jane VelocciGina Barber was one of smartest educators I've ever met. She was bright and caring and absolutely Fearless. I am sure she faced her diagnosis with the same conviction as she showed in the classroom and in the political arena. Rest Easy Gina.
Paul AugustineThe NDP and City of London are saddened with Gina's loss. She was a trailblazer and a go getter and, she will be missed. Please accept my condolences at this time.
Barry WellsEverybody I knew loved Gina and so did I. She was a breath of fresh air on London city council and during her active community life. Her loss by a handful of votes on October 25, 2o10 to a misguided candidate who wasn't up to the job, nor even close, was a real loss for London, as is her passing. Sincere condolences to Ted and family.
Marion & Terry Boyd & Joseph Dunlop-AddleyOur thoughts have been with Ted and Gina’s family since we first heard of Gina’s death. We share your loss of a wonderful woman of such amazing energy and dedication to her students, her fellow Londoners and especially all those who are most in need of a caring, supportive and progressive community to which Gina was always so passionately engaged. We remember with fondness Gina’s boundless commitment to the democratic process during so many elections (civic, provincial and federal) over so many years. Gina inspired our family to campaign as hard as we could for justice, peace and equality for all citizens. Gina worked as hard as all of Marion’s supporters to see Marion elected to Queen’s Park in Ontario’s first NDP government. At Fanshawe College, Joseph and Terry were privileged to be Gina’s colleagues over many years. Both in the classroom and--when necessary-- on the picket line, we were committed to ensuring the best possible education for our students. We shared much pride in seeing our students succeed in challenging careers or going on to further studies at university. We had hoped to be with all of Gina’s friends and loved ones at the Service of Remembrance, but we are snowed in up on the Bruce. We are with you all in spirit as we celebrate Gina’s life and all her accomplishments.
Peggy MatserMy condolences to Ted and to Gina's family and close friends who are grieving her loss. Gina touched so many lives and left an indelible impression wherever she went. Her big beaming smile was infectious, as was her love for music. For SLR London, she made such a great contribution, including by forming and maintaining our link with the Computer Club students at UWO, and by being the sole driving force in starting our rapidly-growing choir, the Seriously Little Rehearsed Singers. to which she committed herself who9le-heartedly right up until her last days. Her legacy at SLR will continue and she will be remembered by all our members fondly and gratefully. Carry on, are no doubt leading an angelic choir now.
Robert McMaster - Jennifer WhiteGina will be missed by so many, from so many walks of life, in London and beyond. Her strong community spirit and knowledge of politics was open and used for the good of all. Gina (and Ted) became good friends with Jennifer and myself, and Gina became a powerful mentor for Jennifer as a member of the NDP. Encouraging and backing Jennifer on the local, London West NDP Executive board and later on when both were members of the Ontario NDP Executive Board. But it wasn't all politics with Gina and Jennifer, heading of to the opera or theatre during their trips to Toronto for breaks from the long executive meetings. Gina loved music of all kinds and was a big supporter of the "Music of Knockgrafton", that was the music performed by Jennifer and myself. Gina Barber was there to help bring our music to the public. We love and miss her.
Gary BrownWhen I remember Gina. I could write thousands of acolades but I always remember a huge kindness. It was after the election (Theresa's first win) I had wrapped up my campaign and had to drive to Toronto to pick up my Dad. Got back just in time to stop in and congradulate Theresa. Gina and Irene were there too. I could not stay long as I had to go and pick up signs. I never forget. Gina just said go home get some sleep. Our volunteers will take care of this. Sure enough first thing on the morning signs were dropped. Thanks Gina. It has always been remembered. For this and your tireless community work and the fantastic example you set for women and all of us Thank you
Michael KlugMy condolences too to Ted and her family. Her contributions to this City have been immense and will endure for years. I knew her as dogged, intelligent, kind, principled, exemplary in so many ways. To say she will be missed, doesn't do it really do it justice.
nirmal jainJune and I are shocked and saddened about Gina's passing. We fondly remember many happy times we spent in London with Gina and you, Ted . We also remember and cherish Gina's visit to Lunenburg Nova Scotia. Gina's contributions to worthy causes and ever friendly personality will be remembered. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
Anne PapmehlA great loss for Ted, Gina's family, her friends and the City of London. She was truly a remarkable and inspiring woman who lived her life with the utmost integrity. She was very helpful and supportive to us on the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee during her tenure on City Council, and I shall always remember her gracious hospitality through the lovely strawberry socials and annual Christmas open houses at her and Ted's cozy Byron home. My deepest condolences to Ted, her family and her beloved cats.
Lynne and Scott PorterTed: We are saddened to hear that Gina has passed away. We send deepest condolences to you. I had the pleasure of working with Gina in General Arts & Science. Gina and I shared a few good few laughs. Lynne
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