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October 14, 1944 - May 20, 2020
Feisty, loyal, hard working, smart, beautiful, determined, nurturing, funny, creative, energetic…the list goes on and on to describe our mother, our sister, our grandmother, our aunt, our friend, Barbara Williams. Born in St. James, Trinidad on October 14, 1944, Barbara blessed this world with her presence. Her childhood determined that success in her life would require a lot of work if she wanted to break the cycle of poverty, alcoholism and abuse. Barbara married young and immigrated to Canada in 1972, strategically leaving her 4 children behind so she could prepare a better life for the whole family in Canada. Off of the sweat of her brow and the strain of her back, Barbara worked hard and paved the way for her own children, her sister along with nieces and nephews as well as her best friend, to come to Canada and have better opportunities in life. Barbara had a fifth child and the entire family moved north of Toronto in 1975 where most of them still reside today. Life was not easy. So many hurdles and obstacles stood in the way but through it all Barbara stuck to her life’s motto, “Hard work and determination equals success.” No one upheld those words like she did! She engraved those words and teachings, which lead to the outcome of those words, into everyone that came after her. Barbara worked relentlessly to raise her family, often holding down 3 jobs just to make ends meet. Throughout her adult life she mostly held factory jobs but it didn’t end there. If there was a craft that could be done: ceramics, sewing, Japanese bunka, macrame, etc., she would do it. Everything she made during the week, after her regular work hours at the factory, would be sold at a flea market on the weekends. Before or after work she held cleaning jobs at motels and office buildings. She also had a paper route, delivering the big bundles of paper for children to individually distribute. On top of all of that there were foster children that constantly filled up any empty space in the house. To say she was a busy woman, was a tremendous understatement. Her sacrifices in life were ones she happily made because she knew it would lead to breaking the negative cycles that surrounded her previously. She proudly watched as all of her children grew into responsible and successful adults with families of their own. She recognized and took great pleasure in watching her best teachings, as they were passed down from her children to her grandchildren.
Without a doubt, Barbara’s greatest loves and blessings in life were her grandchildren. She was too busy and stressed, for various reasons, to be the perfect mother but without a doubt, Barbara Williams was the best grandmother on the face of this earth! At the age of 55 Barbara made the decision to retire and look after her grandchildren full time. She spoiled her grandkids with love and affection that came in the form of: hugs and kisses, endless junk food, sewing requests, food by the order, trips, gifts, stories, advice, laughter, and so much more.
Barbara had a lot of friends that loved and adored her. She was called upon regularly by so many for advice and support; her absence is immediately missed.
Until the last year of her life, Barbara did not know illness. She was strong, vibrant and hard to keep tabs on. Cancer came and drastically changed her world. Through her fight she did her best to prepare first her own mind and then those she loved dearly for what she knew was going to happen. She mustered up enough strength to give her last bits of advice to all of her family members, individually, over a video chat from her hospital bed. The words were recorded and will forever be cherished. Her suffering was minimal and her exit on May 20, 2020 at 4:12 am, was picture perfect. All of her children, her sister and some of her grandchildren gathered around her as she opened her eyes for the last time, looked out at everyone and took her last breath. It was peaceful, it was painless, it was exactly what she prayed for.
Barbara Williams was survived by: her sister- Artel Lewis, her children- Sharon Goodridge-Simon, Shirma Cameron, Gary Goodridge, Susie Goodridge Burns, Lisa Goodridge and their spouses, her 12 grandchildren and her 3 great grandchildren.
She has now rejoined her first born daughter Wendy-Anne, her mother Gladys, her father Hilton and her life long best friend Georgie. Their reunion had to have been met with hugs, tears and then of course, straight to gossiping! Rest in Peace until we meet again.