BARRETT, Mary Eileen
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1921 - 2012
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mary Barrett, peacefully at home on November 2nd, 2012 at the age of 91. Mary leaves to mourn her beloved sister Barbara Lawson and brother-in-law Win. Mary was predeceased by her parents, Dr. Henry and Jesse Barrett (Lee), brothers Robert, William and Harry (who died shortly after birth). Mary will be missed by her nephews and nieces. She will be fondly remembered by her devoted friends and the many people whose lives she touched.
Mary was a remarkable woman: A nurse, teacher, administrator, humanitarian, artist but above all a wonderful, wise, and compassionate human being. All who knew her were impressed by her integrity, moral courage, curiosity, humility, commitment, kindness, and dignity. In her lifetime, she accomplished much and inspired and transformed the lives of many. Mary was an enlightened leader, a pioneer in the field of nursing. Having graduated with her RN from the Victoria School of Nursing, London Ontario in 1945, she arrived in Montreal and joined the staff at the Jewish General Hospital in 1946 and for 10 years worked in the Operating Room. In 1958, she completed a Bachelor of Nursing from McGill University and returned to the Jewish General Hospital as its Director of Nursing Education. At the time, most nursing training schools followed an apprenticeship model. Mary believed that this form of training was outdated and ill equipped to prepare the next generation of nurses. She believed in university education for nurses and developed the Jewish General Hospital's nursing training program along these lines. In 1967 she enrolled at Case Western Reserve University where she earned a Master's degree in nursing. Mary was impressed and excited about Quebec's Parent Report on Higher Education that recommended that nurses be educated in the general educational system. In 1969, she was appointed as the first chair of an Anglophone CEGEP Nursing program. In 1976, she returned to the Jewish General Hospital in the position of Director of Nursing until her retirement in 1986. During her tenure as Director of Nursing she created structures to give nurses a voice at the decision-making table. Mary was always motivated and driven to do the right thing - even when doing the right thing was not easy. Her calm, confident, and determined manner combined with a first rate intellect and sterling character won her the respect of many. In her retirement she pursued her passions of reading, painting, bird watching, and travel. Mary was a happy, contented, and satisfied person. She passed away as she had lived - peacefully and in harmony with herself and with the world around her.
Mary will be buried in a private funeral service. A memorial service in her honor will take place at the Jewish General Hospital at a later date. A notice will appear in The Gazette.
Contributions in Mary's Memory can be made to the Mary Barrett Nursing Education Fund, Jewish General Hospital Foundation, 514-340-8251 or by mail: The Jewish General Hospital Foundation, 3755 Côte St. Catherine, Room A-107, Montreal, Quebec, H3T 1E2.
Published in The Gazette on Nov. 17, 2012