Monday, October 2, 2023
October 2, 2023


Bianca Barnes

July 28, 1925 – November 2, 2016

Bianca was ready, willing and waiting…to be reunited with her beloved husband, Gordon Barnes, who predeceased her on October 20th, 2013.

Bianca was born in Montreal on July 28, 1925, the daughter of Albert and Elizabeth Kempton. She is survived by her brother Richard Kempton of Los Angeles, nephews Alexander Kempton of Los Angeles and Jeffrey Kempton of Green Bay, Wisconsin and nieces Madeleine Carlson of Seattle and Candace Stevenson of San Francisco.

When Bianca was very young her parents moved to New York City, then to Los Angeles, where she attended public schools.  Bianca worked as a chauffeur for the United States Army in Santa Barbara during World War II. After the war she was a free-lance artist in San Francisco. Bianca was a passionate, empathetic and feisty woman who cared greatly about social justice. Her political activities contributed to her eventual return to Canada after marrying Gordon Barnes in 1949.  Bianca and Gordon moved to Vancouver in 1954, where her husband enrolled in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia, where she began her career as a graphic artist, initially in the UBC Extension Department. Bianca and her husband moved to England in 1959 with the intention of exploring the waters there, for the next five years, initially in London, then in Leicester, where she worked as a commercial artist. They had a vision of building a boat and sailing across the Pacific, returning to Vancouver with that purpose in mind, in 1963. Bianca studied at the Vancouver School of Art while working at the Province on their Spotlight Magazine for which she designed the cover pages. In 1969 Bianca began her long career as the graphic designer of the University Library at UBC. She designed the publications, exhibits and signage of the library. She made a number of short documentary films on subjects such as the Anthropology Museum and the Asian Studies building at UBC, and a film on clear-cut logging in British Columbia. Bianca was a lover of nature; she enjoyed hiking, camping and sailing alongside Gordon. She adored animals and birds and had an acute appreciative and celebratory eye for beauty in unusual things and places.

Upon their retirement in 1989 Gordon and Bianca moved to Salt Spring Island, living in their beautiful home on Fulford-Ganges Road, where they continued to work on their boat, the “Adriana”, that they had been building since 1969.  The odyssey of their labour was celebrated by the publication of their book, “Real-Time Boatbuilding”, that came out in 2009. In 2011 they chose Meadowbrook Seniors Residence as their new home.

Bianca will be greatly remembered and missed by the many people who knew and cherished her friendship and her unique take on a life that she generously shared with others.

The family wishes to give a heartfelt thank you to Director Maureen O’Brien, the staff and her many friends at Meadowbrook, Dr. Ronald Reznick and his staff, the nurses and staff at Lady Minto Hospital, and to the many dear friends and caregivers who so lovingly and joyfully supported and cared for Bianca.

In respect of Bianca’s wishes no service will be held. You may enjoy a comforting visit to the Salt Spring Island Public Library; to sit upon the memorial bench that Bianca had lovingly bequeathed with an inscription in memory of Gordon. 

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