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Joyce Carman Barkhouse

Joyce Carman Barkhouse

Born In: Woodville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Born: May 3rd, 1913

Passed in: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada
Passed on: February 2nd, 2012

Joyce Carman Barkhouse, CM, ONS. Born May 3, 1913, in Woodville, Kings County, Nova Scotia, Joyce died February 2, 2012, of heart disease in Bridgewater, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. She is predeceased by her husband, Milton Joseph Barkhouse (1915-1968) and all in her immediate Killam family: her father, Harold Edwin Killam, a medical doctor, and her mother, Ora Louise (née Webster); sisters Margaret Dorothy (Carl) Atwood, and Kathleen Eleanor (Laverne) Cogswell; brothers Frederick William (Gardy) and Harold Edwin (Edna). She is survived by her son Murray Roy (Eileen), her daughter Janet Louise (Greg Howard), five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She will be profoundly missed by them, and by many loved and loving nieces and nephews and their families. After graduating from Kings County Academy at the age of 17, Barkhouse attended the Provincial Normal College in Truro and became an elementary school teacher. She worked in various places in the Maritimes, and later in Montreal. While teaching, she became aware of a lack of Canadian reading material for children, and wrote short stories, poems, and plays to fill this gap. So began a passion that was to earn her national recognition for her pioneer work in the field of Canadian Children’s Literature. When her husband died after a serious illness, Barkhouse returned from Montreal to Nova Scotia. Her first book, George Dawson: The Little Giant, was published in 1974. Later books for children include Pit Pony, which was made into both a movie and a television series by Cochran Entertainments and aired on CBC, and a children’s picture book, Anna’s Pet, which she co-authored with her niece Margaret Atwood. Involved in the formation of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS), and in the early days of The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC), and the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), Barkhouse served on the executives of all these groups. She was a founding member of the WFNS “Writers in the Schools” program. Both TWUC and the WFNS gave Barkhouse honourary life membership; the Federation’s Atlantic Writing Competition prize for children’s writing bears her name. Barkhouse cared deeply about the writing community in her province and country, and will be sadly missed by many younger writers with whom she sustained lasting friendships. Honoured by both her beloved native Nova Scotia and her country, Barkhouse received the Order of Nova Scotia in 2007, and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009. Cremation has taken place; a memorial service for family and friends will be held at a later date. Donations may be made to the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia for their Writers in the Schools program, their Atlantic Writing Competition, or their fund to help support indigent writers; the Harbourville Restoration Society; or charity of choice.

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