Barbara Maguire, a long-time resident of Vesuvius Bay on Salt Spring Island, died of complications of pneumonia at 4:14am on November 4th, 2010. She was 93 and had been in declining health for the past 18 months.
Mrs. Maguire, the wife of the late Edward H. Maguire, was born Aug. 20, 1917 in Edmonton, Alberta, the second of four daughters of Dr. Harold and Irene Brown. The family moved to Vancouver while Barbara was in her teens. She later earned a degree from the University of Toronto in physical therapy.
She met her future husband during World War II and the couple moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where Mr Maguire underwent naval training that led him to spend more than two years at sea. Capt. Maguire skippered a mine sweeper during the Allied invasion of Normandy where his ship swept Omaha Beach the night before the American landing.
After the war, Mr. Maguire joined the Canadian diplomatic service as an officer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, followed by postings in Santiago, Chile, Madrid, Spain, Washington, D.C., Singapore, Hamburg, Germany and Detroit, Michigan.
Mrs. Maguire always said she loved the diplomatic life and thrived in organizing events and parties in behalf of Canada. She said she strongly believed that diplomacy was a team game and she and her husband did that well together.
The Maguires had two children, Maureen, born in Halifax and Dennis, born in Buenos Aires. Both were at her side when she passed away.
During a home leave in 1962, the Maguires acquired a house on the beach of Vesuvius Bay. They retired there in 1973 and over the years developed many friends and were both enthusiastic golfers.
“Where has this been all my life,” said Mr. Maguire shortly after he began his full-time Salt Spring residency. Mr. Maguire died in November of 1982. In spite of her loss, Mrs. Maguire remained active in Salt Spring events and worked hard to improve her golf game. Most importantly, she stayed deeply involved with family affairs and the local community, which included regularly playing the piano at Greenwoods, knitting for the Hospital Guild, and volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce.
Her daughter, Maureen, is a teacher and was Barbara’s closest and most important companion throughout her mother’s life. Maureen met and married Don C. Becker, a correspondent for United Press International in Singapore. Although the Beckers subsequently moved many times, the two families always got together for Christmas, whether it was in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Miami, New York or San Francisco. Of course, the most popular reunion venue was Salt Spring.
Mrs. Maguire’s son, Dennis Maguire, is an architect who has practiced in Vancouver and Whistler, and plans to spend more of his time on Salt Spring. Like his sister, he has two children, Morgan, a Vancouver lawyer, and Aileen, also a UBC graduate currently on a world study tour. The Beckers have two children, James, who heads up the Canadian operations of a large real estate firm and father of four, and Brian, a photographer and naturalist who lives in Bend, Oregon.
“I’ve been lucky to have two loving children, four delightful grand children and four wonderful great grandchildren,” Mrs. Maguire said on her 90th birthday party celebration at Vesuvius. Looking from her water-front garden across the bay to the mountains of Vancouver Island, she said “I guess you have to say it has been a pretty good life.”
The family is planning a memorial gathering in the spring, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.