Barbara Burton
(May 1, 1926 – November 3, 2017)

She was born Ethel Barbara Kenn on May 1, 1926, but always went by the name Barbara. She went from selling ice cream tickets in Blackpool to relocating to Canada with her husband Duke, whom she married while wearing a wedding dress made out of a silk parachute — one that her fiancé bought on the black market.

Barbara was the fourth of five children born to Basil and Ethel Kenn in Knarsborough, England.  She had an older half-sister, Lorna, and half-brother, Colin, as well as an older sister, Peggy, and a younger brother, John.

Barbara met Duke (Marmaduke) Burton while working at Pablo’s Ice Cream parlour, and they were married on November 14, 1944. They moved to Canada in 1956 and had two children, Graham and Sandra. Graham and his wife, Patricia, live in Scarborough and have three children, Colin (Nadia), Daniel and Rachel. Sandra resides in Stratford.

When Barbara and Duke got married near the end of World War II, family members on both sides saved up three months of fruit and sugar rations to make their wedding cake. Duke bought a parachute so that Barbara would have something to make into a wedding dress — later, she turned it into many pairs of silk underwear.

An accomplished seamstress, Barbara also made the gowns she and the other gals wore during ballroom dancing. She and Duke accumulated an impressive collection of dance medals and acknowledgements.

Barbara and Duke imigrated to Canada in June of 1956, sailing on Cunard’s The Cynthia while Barbara was expecting their first child, Graham. They initially settled in the Beaches but eventually moved to Marawa Court in Scarborough where Barbara resided for almost 40 years.

Marawa Court was a very close-knit community, and Barbara and Duke soon became good friends with all their neighbours. So close, in fact, that Barbara became a second mother to several of the neighbourhood children, including Joanne and Janice Field and Kerry Robertson.

She was actively involved in Graham and Sandra’s sports – carpooling to games and practices, keeping stats, coaching and training. When her grandchildren Colin, Danny and Rachel came along, once again, Barbara became highly engaged with their sports, including travelling to Germany for the World Dragon Boat Championships.

Among many other things, Barbara and Duke loved to travel. In the early years they enjoyed camping — starting with an army surplus tent, and eventually progressing to a tent with a floor and adding a dining tent. Over time they graduated to a tent trailer and then finally a motorhome.

Barbara and Duke developed a very active interest in minerals and gemstones. They belonged to the Walker Mineralogical Club and the Gem and Mineral Club of Scarborough, and this hobby took them across the continent exploring and collecting minerals and gemstones.

The two spent many hours working together creating pieces of jewelry working mainly in gold wire, gemstones and silversmithing, and selling their wares at local jamborees and swaps throughout North America.

Sadly, Duke died following a construction accident in 1989, leaving Barbara a relatively young widow. After his death, Barbara remained in their home on Marawa Court which was close to Graham and his family.  She found special solace in the love and joy of her grandchildren and played a significant role in every aspect of their lives. She also became a cherished member of her daughter-in-law Patricia’s extended family, all of whom enjoyed her travel stories and details of her hobby interests that she shared at many family gatherings. She especially looked forward to visits from her grandson, Danny, who came by most Sundays to help with chores.

Barbara continued her love of travel with ‘the ladies’, covering much of the rest of the world.  There were many highlights including her final trip to Hawaii in 2014 with Sandra (and her ‘second daughter’ Joanne).

Barbara spent her final years in Stratford to be close to her daughter Sandra, who was a tremendous support and caregiver. Barbara led a long full life and died at the age of 91 on November 3, 2017. She faced all life’s challenges with the stoicism and stiff upper lip one would expect from a Brit.

Barbara will be interred beside Duke in a family-only ceremony at St. Margaret’s Cemetery. The family will be hosting a Celebration of Life at Graham Burton’s home, 33 Bethley Dr., Scarborough on November 18, 2017 at 2:00pm.

There will also be a gathering in Barbara’s memory on November 29, 2017 in Stratford at The Milky Whey, 118 Ontario St. from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the charity of your choice through the W.G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford.  519.271.7411

Service Information

Celebration of Life
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 2 pm
Graham Burton
33 Bethley Dr.,
Scarborough, ON

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Milky Whey
118 Ontario Street
Stratford, ON

Private Family Interment
St. Margaret`s Cemetery

Memorial Donations
Canadian Cancer Society
Charity of One`s Choice


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      W.G. Young Funeral Home
      430 Huron Street
      Stratford, Ontario N5A 5T7

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