Friday, September 29, 2023
September 29, 2023

PHELAN, Barbara ‘Bo’ (nee Southern)

Barbara ‘Bo’ Phelan (nee Southern)
July 22, 1928~Dec. 1, 2021

Barbara ‘Bo’ Phelan (nee Southern) born on July 22, 1928 in Peterborough Ontario, has died in her 93rd year in Victoria, B.C.

Bo started life as a country girl and, although she travelled far and wide internationally and lived in various cities including Montreal and Toronto, Bo’s most enduring love was for life in the countryside, ideally in a cottage beside the water, surrounded by dogs and beauty.

Bo found this dream location on Salt Spring Island BC where she spent the last 30 years of retirement with her husband of 68 years, Daniel ‘Dan’ Phelan as well as with her grown children, Tracey, Jamie, Darragh and Maureen. Much like Bo herself, some of these were also smitten with the beauty of this coastal region and have put down roots here as well.

Bo enjoyed active early years as a graduate of the University of Toronto and she particularly relished her time at CBC in the early ‘50’s before her life as a wife and mother began in earnest in 1954 when she married Dan while he finished his studies at Cornell University in Scranton NY. Busy, busy years followed, full of the joys and sorrows of family life, beginning with the loss of a first daughter, Mary Julia, who did not survive.

Shortly thereafter the four other children were born and Bo and Dan were swept up in all that family life entails: home making and career pursuits, and, later in life, lovely winters skiing in Ontario and playing tennis, and swimming on Sanibel Island, Fla. These passions continued for Bo well into her 70’s and 80’s as did her love of making family meals and taking long walks in nature.

Over the last 24 years on the island, Bo especially cherished visits with her only grandchild, Conor Phelan Barry, son of Jamie and Mark Barry. And most recently, Bo received a visit from her only nephew on her side of the family, the only son of her only sister Joan Kieffer (nee Southern), the Rev. Charles ‘Chuck’ Kieffer of Phoenix, Arizona.

Bo was also part of the large extended West Coast Phelan clan and had life-long friendships with Dan’s brother, Peter Patrick Phelan of Vancouver and his sister, Darralyn Bonnor of Victoria as well as their children, Bo’s many nieces and nephews, on the Phelan side of the family.

Bo’s family would especially like to acknowledge Dr. Ron Reznick, Bo’s faithful physician of thirty years and Jean, who listened so patiently whenever Bo called the office. More recently, both Sandi Muller of Heritage Place and Darlene Carpenter Valcourt of Salt Spring Island, have also shared their friendship with Bo and have given her loving care. Finally a special thank you to the staff at Parkwood Court, Victoria, BC, where Bo spent the final months of her life in comfort and peace.

A celebration of Bo’s life is planned for sometime in May 2022, in Toronto, Ontario where Bo’s ashes will be laid to rest with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. JJ Southern, at Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto Ontario. Please contact Hayward Funeral Services on Salt Spring for more details by emailing or Bo’s only son, Darragh by emailing


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