SAILORS, Barbara Isobel Beatrice
Passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 29, 2022 at Huntsville Hospital at the age of 65. Barbara was born on June 15, 1956 in Moose Factory, Ontario, to parents Clarence and Emma (nee Nickoshie) Sailors. As a teenager, Barbara moved to North Bay to attend high school. There, at a Fur Harvester Convention dance, she met her life partner, Tim Friesen. As young adults, the two worked and traveled before moving to Huntsville after the birth of their first child.
A proud member of the Moose Cree First Nation, Barb managed to maintain both her Cree language and her friendships with those she knew on reserve. She would return several times a year to visit friends and family, in particular her sister, Janet, with whom she was close. Her two sons would often come along on these trips, developing fond memories, camping, riding bikes with other kids, or collecting fossils to sell to tourists alongside Barb’s beautiful handicrafts. She was a skilled crafter and artisan, especially good at crochet, jewelry and beaded leatherwork. As well as selling at craft shows, Barb would gift creations to friends who continue to treasure them.
In Huntsville, Barb struggled for a while being so far from those she knew. However, she developed into a social butterfly. With a good sense of humor and a love for telling stories, she could make friends with whoever she spoke to. Tim would often find her chatting away with someone she seemed to have known for years, only to find out she’d just met the person. She would make friends with her sons’ friends’ parents, their eventual spouses and all their parents too. Her natural friendliness would always help to make people feel welcome.
As a parent, she was strict, but incredibly caring. She paid attention to whatever interests her sons would develop, cultivating and encouraging these however she could. The boys were always well dressed for the (often cold) trips up north, everything they could possibly need packed up and ready to go. With an incredible memory, she knew everyone’s birthdays and always knew where missing items had been put. As the boys grew, she found other ways to ensure everyone was looked after. Sending food home after a family dinner, buying thoughtful gifts or even just pointing out the Coke when someone was in the fridge betrayed her attentiveness to others. Her grandson was especially loved in this way. She always had him on her mind, looking for gifts to buy him or ways she could help him with things. Her caring even extended to some wild cats who lived near the house. Keeping them fed and watching their antics brought Barb a lot of joy.
Barb is survived by her loving partner, Tim Friesen, aunt Hilda Jeffries, siblings Janet Sailors, Bob Sutherland and Andy Sutherland, as well as children John and Michelle (Ainsworth) Sailors and Seguin and Miranda (Thomas) Sailors. She is the adored grandmother of Mahikan Sailors. John and Michelle are also foster parents, and Barb ensured foster children were always thought of and included in events however she could.
The family would like to thank staff at Huntsville Hospital for their care of Barb in her final days, as well as kindnesses paid to the family afterwards. Thanks also goes to those at LHIM Community Nursing Clinic, especially Rachel who advocated for Barb in her illness.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Billingsley Funeral Home. As Barbara is to be laid to rest in Moose Factory, the funeral service will be held there, details to be determined. If desired, donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario or Diabetes Canada would be gratefully acknowledged as expressions of symapthay.