May 13, 1955 - April 21, 2021
Blair Thomas Barr passed away on April 21st, 2021, after a two-month battle with brain cancer. Ever the fighter, he fought until the bitter end, keeping a positive spirit and “power forward” attitude through it all.
Blair grew up in Calgary, AB. He opted to learn his life lessons at the rink or outside, only coming home when the porch light went on. Then off to U of C, followed by U of A where he acquired a BSc in Forestry and a team of lifelong friends. Always drawn to the outdoors, Blair’s work took him from High Prairie to Edson, finally landing in Houston, BC in 1981. At the time, Houston was booming and he joined an influx of young professionals flocking to town, all coming from university for their first real jobs and only planning on staying 5 years. This was where he met Jan.
From there, life got bigger. Blair bought his first house on Round Lake. Jan and Blair were married, and Kim, Kevin and Rebecca followed. Life moved the Barr family from Telkwa to Coldstream, then Williams Lake and Armstrong. Blair’s career took him from small town BC to Swaziland, then onto Merritt and the Coquihalla Highway where he was the ‘Top Brass of the Mountain Pass’. Forestry was Blair’s biggest interest and hockey his favourite outlet. If you knew Blair, you likely were his teammate in one of them, or possibly both.
Blair was strong, stubborn and straightforward. His Dad told him at an early age, “to gain respect, you have to treat people with the same respect that you will want from them. Leaders lead by example”. He lived by those words in all aspects of life. He was stern, but kindhearted; serious, but secretly a joker. He was a quiet observer with a big presence. He was the coach for “Team Barr”, immensely proud of his three children and in awe of his wife Jan. He was a lover of outdoor adventure and travel, and, who on any given day, could be found at the family cabin tending to his fruit trees and vegetable gardens, or out hunting and fishing.
Blair is lovingly remembered by his wife Jan, son Kevin, daughters Kimberley (Alex) and Rebecca (Nick), his first granddaughter Rowynn, mother Josephine, brother Darryl (Patti) and their family, as well as a team of the most supportive friends and family a guy could ever ask for. Blair leaves us with a life well lived and his only regret being that he did not have more time.
For all the love and support felt over the last few months, the Barr family would like to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts. The memories and messages shared will keep Blair’s spirit alive. To all who loved him, keep your head up and your stick on the ice.A celebration of Blair’s life will be held at a later date.
Dear Jan, Kim, Kevin, Rebecca and families, Please accept our heartfelt condolences and sympathy. It is still hard to believe. I feel so privileged to have met and worked with Blair. When we first met, I knew Blair was an exceptional and talented Forester. I always admired his professional attitude which earned him deep respect within the Forest industry and contractor community. Our Riverside time together was great. Blair had all the attributes, character and forestry vision we were trying to instill at that time. He was a tremendous company supporter and cheerleader from inhouse hockey tournaments to the emblazed logo underwear. Blair made a huge difference during our Riverside days. These are difficult times for you and your family, and I just wanted you to know that I will greatly miss Blair. In deepest sympathy, Don Couch
Jan and family, so sorry for your loss, from the early days playing fastball and then slow pitch in Houston and later hockey with Blair, he enjoyed whatever he was doing and made sure everyone around him did as well. I remember his Golden Retriever who he always had with him caring his ball glove to practise. Our thoughts are with you Jan! RIP Blair.
Jan and family, My sincerest condolences. I only knew Blair through the Highways Maintenance Sector seeing him mostly at Road Builder functions or the odd time around Armstrong. We probably spent the most time together at a Snowfighters Conference. I watched with interest and admiration how he dealt with the challenges of highways maintenance and in particular the “Coq”, with skill, professionalism, innovation, passion and a service excellence attitude. I am grateful for the times we were able to share insights and experiences, especially over a barley beverage. I only wish we could have done it more. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Joe Wrobel
Dear Jan, I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family. In our brief time in Houston we got to know you and Blair. I remember the fun times we all had curling, and will always respect Blair as a leader in forestry. Alec Sawitsky
Dear Jan, I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish you all the peace and comfort that you need at this time and every day as you move forward. I hope your heart smiles of loving memories with every thought you have of Blair. I am sure he is with you in spirit at all times.
Blair was someone who I had the honor of working for in Houston BC. My condolences to Jan and family.
My condolences Jan and family. Blair hired me in 1995 in Houston, one of the best group of guys I have ever worked with, led by a go get ‘em attitude. My interview questions were quite simple. Do you hunt? Do you fish? Do you play hockey? Answering yes to these 3 questions got me hired.
Blair was the Woodlands Manager at Houston Forest Products when I was hired as a temp in the early 1990s. As the "Woods Temp" I was overlooked when all staff were granted an annual salary increase. When Blair learned of this he not only facilitated a significant pay increase for me but ensured I was made a permanent employee with health benefits and pension. Blair demonstrated that respect for all on a daily basis.
My sincerest condolences to Jan and the kids, Blair's mom and Darryl. Although the news of Blair's passing was not unexpected, it was and is hard to accept. i have had a flood of memories of Blair this last week, including playing hockey together with the Crazy Blades, heading south to Mexico, trips to Washington state in a brand new Z28 where we visited hot spots such as Yakima and Humptulips,and a trip to Tahsis on Vancouver Island, to name just a few. Not being an outdoorsman in the classic sense, I didn't see Blair as much as i would have liked in recent years, but whenever we saw each other, we picked right up. As everyone who ever met Blair well knows, he was really a great guy and will be sorely missed.
Jan and Kids; I am so sorry for your loss, Blair was an amazing person and someone I considered a great friend and Mentor. Your dad gave me my first opportunity in Management and I was in shock when that happened. I always remember asking him why he hired me and without stating word for word what he said(to keep this PG), the "firm but fair description sums it up". Your father is a big reason for many of my successes not only in the Forest Industry but also in the RCMP. Our belief structure is exactly the same and what I still use today. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Tom and Cindy Gill