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SCHMEECKLE, Barbara Ann (nee Sparrow)

August 1, 1928 – November 10, 2017

Barbara, beloved wife of the late Duane Allan Schmeeckle of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her six children on Friday, November 10, 2017 at the age of 89 years.

Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Barbara often reminisced about summers with her family at the Flying E Ranch, on Willow Creek, near Stavely, Alberta. She loved riding in the countryside on her favourite horse Goldie. Barbara attended Holy Angels Elementary School, followed by high school at St. Mary’s Girls School, making many lifelong friendships along the way. She earned a degree in Interior Design from the University of Manitoba, while sharing many special times with her Winnipeg relatives.  In celebration of the Holy Year of 1950, she travelled throughout Europe with her mother and cousin Sheila.  Barbara returned to work in Calgary.  Later, fate in the form of a blind date brought Barbara and Duane, her husband of 54 years, together. Over the next 10 years they were blessed with six children. Barbara embraced her vocation as a mother, and volunteered with various charities and church activities.  She was admired for her great faith, love of family and witty sense of humour.  Barbara played a mean game of Rummy, which she began honing at the age of six playing with her Dad and her Auntie Dean.  Barbara loved being with her young family each summer at Golden Sands Resort in Kelowna, B.C, along with other close family friends. Later, Barbara shared many special times with her family at the cabin in Windermere, B.C.  She also enjoyed bowling at The Glencoe Club with the “Belles of St. Mary’s” and nights full of laughter and fun with her bridge club of long-time friends. Countless backyard pool parties, BBQs, and marshmallow roasts at Gramma’s reflected Barbara’s love of family and created treasured memories for all of her children and grandchildren.  In 2012, Barbara was honoured to ride in the 100th Anniversary Stampede Parade as a descendent of her great-uncle Patrick Burns, one of the Calgary Stampede’s Big Four.

Barbara is survived by her children: Mark, Jan (Mark) Herman, Lynn (Phil) van Steenburgh, Karen (Andrew) Serafini, Paula (Paul) Ackerley and Steve (Anita).  She will be greatly missed by her grandchildren: Samantha, Matthew, Steven (Kari) and Spencer Herman; Liam and Katharine van Steenburgh; Paul, John (Kristen), Peter, Mary, Teresa and Michael Serafini (and their half-sister Annie Woods and her husband Andrew Cornett); Aidan and Shane Ackerley; Nolan and Vivian Schmeeckle; and great-grandson Damien Serafini. Barbara is also survived by several cousins as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Barbara was predeceased by her loving husband, Duane; parents: Mary “Molly” (Burns) and Albert Sparrow; siblings: Thomas “Barney” Sparrow, Patricia (Cyril) Henman, Albert (Myleen) Sparrow, Larry (Rae) Sparrow and sister-in-law Dorothy Sparrow; and great-granddaughter Rose Beatrice Serafini.

Funeral mass (preceded by viewing) will be celebrated at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (5340 – 4th Street S.W., Calgary) on Friday, November 17 at 10:30 a.m.  Reception to follow in the church hall and all are welcome. Condolences may be forwarded through or McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone:  403-243-8200. If so desired, memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimer Society of Calgary, 800, 7015 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 2K6, Telephone; (403) 290-0110.

During her courageous journey with Alzheimer’s, Barbara was supported with great care and compassion by her devoted daughter Jan, whose family lovingly welcomed her into their home for seven wonderful years. The family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude for the loving care provided by long-time caregivers Cathy Millar and Annette Gee, and the compassionate caregivers of Nurse Next Door. The family would also like to thank Barbara’s long-time GP Dr. Balzun, the staff of Units 47 & 73 at The Rockyview Hospital, Dr. Au Yeung, and the AHS Home Care Palliative Care team.  Special thanks to Kory Howard for making exercise therapy fun over the last few years.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Samantha, Connor, & Andrew Ernst :

    Dearest Jan and family,

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences. Although we never met your sweet mother, we thank you so much for bringing her kind-spirit and prayerful example into our life through your stories. Hearing how she recited the Rosary even during the thick of her battle with Alzheimers continues to inspire our family with such an incredible example of hope. We are confident that the Blessed Mother took her by the hand at the hour of her death and welcomed her into heaven with a loving embrace. Our prayers are with her and your family. Love, Samantha, Connor, & Andrew Ernst

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  2. Paula and Family –

    My condolences Paula, I have such fond memories of your mom even though it was way back in high school. Lot of love to you and your family.
    Lise Brown (Ryan)

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  3. Patricia Quinlan :

    Dear Lynn and family, sending you our condolences and wishing we were there to support you. May your moms celebration of life bring comfort to you and your family. Love Pat and Richard

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  4. Katherine Cornakovic :

    Paula and Family,
    Sending our heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Katherine, Michael and Arielle Conn-Cornakovic

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  5. Catherine Yates :

    Dear Paula, Paul, Aidan and Shane; May good memories of your lovely Mom, Mother in law and grandmother comfort you in the days ahead. We are so sorry for your loss. Sincere condolences to your whole family.
    Catherine, Andrew, Aidan and Taylor

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  6. Lindsay Palesch :

    Paula & Family,

    Moms stay in a very special part of our hearts forever, we are deeply sorry to hear of your loss.

    Love Lindsay Palesch (Conn) & Family

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  7. Dear Mark and family, Jarrett and I were saddened to hear of your moms passing, truly a very special woman. Are thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

    Love Erin Purschke & Jarrot Sparrow

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  8. Paula and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you through this sad time. I have such happy memories of your mom, always patient and with a sense of humour about our shenanigans. She was such a sweet lady and did a fantastic job raising a beautiful family; she will be forever missed. It’s comforting to know she is with your dad now. Sending much love to you all.
    Holly (Nelson) and Dave Kerr, and Nelson family

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  9. I can’t claim to know Barb really well but I know she was a great person by the quality of the family she raised The legacy of both her and Duane will thankfully live on through their children. Sincerest sympathy for your loss.

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