February 18, 1911 – August 21, 2020
Vivian Grace Barr (née Robertson) passed away peacefully on August 21, 2020. Vivian far surpassed the achievement of becoming a centenarian and lived to be 109.5 years old! Her life was filled with extraordinary experiences and remarkably fierce independence. Born in Vancouver, B.C. to William Alexander Robertson and Margaret MacKay Robertson, on Robson Street on February 18, 1911, Vivian may be the oldest born-and-bred Vancouverite and British Columbian on record!
Vivian was the youngest of three children and was quite “sporty” throughout her life. She first learned to golf at the age of 12 from her mother, who hailed from Scotland, and who herself learned to golf while crossing St. Andrews golf course on her way to and from school. Vivian became serious about golf in her twenties and once committed, she cultivated a lifelong passion for the sport. She was Point Grey Golf & Country Club’s longest living, active playing member. However, not one to let age slow her down, Vivian patiently waited until the age of 95 to record her first hole-in-one and garnered national acclaim! She continued to play golf and ten-pin bowled regularly until the age of 105.
Vivian was an independent and adventurous young woman who, after becoming a widow at the tender age of 21 (Atkinson), was determined to forge a career for herself in an effort to become self-reliant. She started out as a telephone switchboard operator and moved into more challenging roles as a supervisor and manager in department stores and offices. She also enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp during the second world war and transported large military vehicles while stationed in Edmonton, Alberta.
It was around that time that Vivian found and married the love-of-her-life, Harold Marshall Barr. Their combined passion for golf and unbridled work-ethic made them a perfect match. After the war, Vivian easily transitioned into becoming an importer/exporter with Harold. She became a successful business owner, moving into new lines of business as Vancouver grew and opportunities abounded. Their import/export business took Vivian and Harold to all corners of the globe, long before travel was common. Their love of Asia, particularly Japan, created a life-long respect for Japanese culture and cuisine. Vivian did not stop working until well after 100 years of age and firmly believed that having a strong sense of purpose was one of the secrets to her longevity!
After Harold passed away in 1967, Vivian entered into a business partnership with their long-time accountant, Charles Albert. Together, Vivian and Charles forged a strong friendship and business relationship, while building several successful businesses and exploring commercial opportunities around the world.
Vivian was preceded in death by her husband, Harold M. Barr, siblings William & Ann, and her parents. She is survived by her cherished daughter-in-law Nina Gordeeff, grandchildren Michael Barr (Sandy Oman), Tanya Peterson (Kipling), and Marina Schellenberg (Barry), five great grandchildren (Jessica, Andrea, Christina, Caitlyn, and Jackson), nieces Jenny Weiland and Patsy Scott, great niece Angie Weiland-Light (Eric), great niece Mary Tanaguchi (Ian), as well as several other great nieces & nephews. She is also survived by her business partner and dear friend, Chuck Albert, along with many treasured friends and golf cohorts. The family owes a very special thank you to Elma Apoin who provided tremendous care, love, and kindness to our beloved grandmother over the last several years.
Vivian believed that drinking scotch, eating plenty of vegetables, and playing golf were the secret-trifecta to leading a long and successful life. She loved discussing politics and the ongoing technological accomplishments of mankind. Vivian was not weighed down by the past and encouraged everyone to look to the future with positivity and fortitude.
Vivian maintained her independence and dignity right until the end; teaching those around her the importance of grabbing life by the golf club and forging ahead.