McLAREN, Eleanor Audrey (Babs)
October 31, 1916 - July 16, 2014
Film maker, photographer, gardener, adopted grandmother; lover of classic movies, animals, a good bottle of red wine and all things chocolate. Born in Hythe Kent England, Babs returned to Canada on a troop ship with her mother Reitta (Moore) after her father Richard J. McLaren, who served with the 1st West York Regiment, was killed in action in 1918. It was the first of many transatlantic voyages and fuelled a taste for travel and adventure that took her around the world, from a bicycle trip in Brittany in 1938 to a 4 month motor trip through the Middle East in 1968 with beloved friend Alma Duncan (1917 - 2004). Babs was schooled in Hamilton, Switzerland and Florence, Italy. She enlisted in the RCAF and was posted to the Western Air Command in Victoria, B.C. where she obtained her commission in 1943. Three years later she took a job at the National Film Board, where she met Alma Duncan. Together they formed Dunclaren Productions and their stop animation films, peopled with handmade puppets, garnered international recognition. Babs and Alma shared homes in Arnprior, Cumberland and Ottawa, Ontario where they loved to entertain, always in the company of beloved family dogs. The tradition of entertaining was important to Babs, whether it was brunch at Claire de Lune, or pizza dinners in her suite at the Rockcliffe while watching one of the hundreds of movies that she and Alma had collected. Always quiet, proper and fiercely independent to the end, Babs loved a good story, visits with friends young, old (and furry), and of course cocktail hour at the Rockcliffe Retirement Residence. Her loving adopted family Anne Maheux, Greg and Madeleine Hill (and Alice) will miss her crinkly smile, her pleasure in eating asparagus with her fingers, and in sharing a good bottle of red wine. Babs is survived by loving cousins Patsy Bosomworth, Bob (Helke) Ferrie, Duncan McLaren and Bill (Daphne) McLaren. Friends are invited to visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O'Connor), Ottawa, on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. until the time of Service in the Chapel at 3:00 p.m. If friends so desire, donations may be made to the Ottawa Humane Society in Babs' memory.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen on July 19, 2014