Shirley Barrier

Obituary of Shirley May Barrier


Shirley May Barrier (MacLeod) - passed away peacefully at Shannex Ryan Hall, Bridgewater, November 7, 2020 at age 89 with family by her side to comfort her. Shirley was born October 21, 1931 in Queens County to Robert “Bob” Ensley MacLeod and Mary” Mammy” Emma (Shultz) MacLeod.

She is survived by her sons, Russell (Melinda) and Donald; daughter, Ethel (Jamie Oickle); son in law, Tom Barnett; grandchildren, Andrew (Jolene), Anthony Barnett (Meghan O'Leary), Douglas Barrier (Alison Birdsall); great- grandchildren Alisza, Alanah, Eloise, and Liam Barnett, including her many nieces and nephews.

Shirley was predeceased by parents, Robert (1958) and Mary (1980); sisters, Elenora, Muriel, Ruth, Alice, Blanche, Marguerite, Valeria-Pearl; brothers Eugene, Robert, Errol, George; beloved daughter, Thelma Barnett (Barrier) and husband, Arthur Norman Barrier.

The tenth child of twelve, Shirley was raised and educated in the community of South West Port Mouton to a loving family and community. A fisherman and community Constable for a father, and a mother who taught school and was a midwife, Shirley learned to love the sea and to be loving and compassionate at an early age, helping her Mother and Father. As a child, Shirley didn't want to miss out on anything her siblings were doing including singing in the church choir. After much persuasion, she was finally allowed at a young age to sing with her sisters. Singing wasn't her only passion, many times she would be found by fishermen floating in a rowboat in the bay after she had lost the oars or was too tired to row. Picked up and brought to shore she would only do it again because she loved the water so much. This love of the sea and adventure lead her to LaHave in 1947 where barely sixteen and wanting to work, her father introduced her to Captain Archibald Publicover who needed help with his maritime shipping business and so the adventure began for Shirley. Starting as a housekeeper she soon found herself doing other chores like buying supplies for the ships, bookkeeping, picking up the crew and finally the everyday operations of the business. One of the first challenges was learning to drive, so the Captain put her in his Cadillac to learn and shortly after was told she was good enough to get her license, this would result in many driving experiences and trips to the States. Mom was proud that she never had an accident, though with a laugh admitted she had a heavy foot and was stopped more than once.

The highlights of her job were the many trips on the ocean delivering cargo from Nova Scotia to American ports. Many times, the crew would be asked to find Shirley because she was missing, only to find her atop a mast look out eating an apple. Preparing for social events, sailing on a schooner on the LaHave River, or helping in the LaHave River Yacht Club were some of the other joys that filled her life during those many early years working with the Captain.

Soon Shirley was discovered by a man from Montreal who loved the sea and boats also. Arthur and Shirley were married in Rose Bay March 1957. This started a new chapter of her life, having a family, running a grocery store for a short time before moving away to city life in Montreal in the early 1960’s. Returning home to Nova Scotia in 1976 motherhood was the core of her existence; gentle, nurturing and kind, family was everything to her. Mom was everything to us also, having only good memories of our mother and the love she had for us. Mom felt great joy having family get together and feeding everyone, a cup of tea was always a starting point. Driving her grandchildren out to get a treat or having them at home with her was a highlight, beaming with joy.

Shirley was liked and loved by anyone who knew her, never complained and always appreciative and empathetic. Always quick to tell a story of an adventure, Mom would often say —"I've had a good life" with a smile. We will miss Mom's love and compassion but her essence will carry on always with us.

A special thank you to all the wonderful, kind, and loving caregivers at Ryan Hall who made the last seven years of her life special, thank you from the family.

Arrangements entrusted to Sweeny’s Funeral Home, 35 York Street, Bridgewater where on-line condolences may be made by visiting

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