Barbara Lee (East) Tower of Camrose, AB passed away peacefully on December 2, 2011 at the age of 62. She was born August 28, 1949 in Camrose, AB. She was predeceased by her parents, Tom and Jean East and an infant brother, Douglas. She is survived by her children, Tronn Tomtene of Grande Prairie, AB and Tracey Tomtene, of Vancouver, BC, her husband Jim and his children, Dean Tower of Whitehorse, YK and Aaron Tower, of Regina, SK. Barbara also leaves behind many relatives and friends.
Barb was born in Camrose but lived in various cities around Alberta throughout her early and adolescent years. She was a great athlete, breaking the provincial high jump record and acting as captain of the basketball team even at a height of just 5'4. At the age of 21, she married Gordon Tomtene and moved to Birch Hills, SK where she became a full time mom and farm wife. She filled her spare time with curling bonspiels, volunteering, craft shows, making up crazy skits with Annelle and Peggy and crashing parties dressed up as various characters, such as 'Basil and Cecilia Rathbone', 'Bonnie and Clyde', 'Nortvet' and who could forget 'Ole' and 'Olga'. And when she hit the dance floor at the Civic Centre, everyone knew it! She could jive with the best of them.
After her divorce in 1992, she moved to Camrose with her daughter and was welcomed with open arms by her many relatives. It was right around this time that her cousin Liane was leaving the family photography business to move to Red Deer with her husband. So there just happened to be an opening to work with Barb's dear cousins, David and Glenn and her wonderful Aunt, Vera. Many a customer will report that they always looked forward to being greeted by Barb's big bright smile and warm welcome when they walked in the door...not to mention a humorous quip or two and always lots of laughter.
After marrying Jim in 2000, they took an annual summer vacation to the Yukon which included canoeing, hiking and camping along the rivers which she very much anticipated each year and had numerous stories about. She was an avid gardener who meticulously maintained her flower beds and garden and loved to spend summer evenings in the backyard amongst her fountains and flowers with neighbours, family and friends.
She was also known for creating unique knitting wares by hand and with her knitting machine. She could be seen every year selling ponchos, scarves, fingerless mittens and other clever creations at the Spirits of Christmas Craft Show in Camrose.
In short, Barb had character. To have known Barbara is to have loved her...a fun loving spirit that could light up a room. She was such a sociable person and natural extrovert, giving of herself so freely, never inward-looking or self conscious.
She had a serious side too and was an amazing Mom to her two children as well as a dedicated wife. She demonstrated each and every day what it meant to be gentle, kind, caring and selfless. Her life didn't always bring the easiest of circumstances but she never felt sorry for herself and her sunny side came through in any adversity she faced...including cancer. She was always the one comforting us!
We are all better people for having known her. Her infectious laughter, warm spirit, bright light, beautiful smile and twinkly eyes will be missed but forever and always, spiritually present.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
- E.E. Cummings
Music: 'Obvious Child' by Paul Simon