Barbara Joan Cotton (Wilson)
May 30 1953- December 31, 2020
With great sadness for ourselves but great hope in our Lord and Saviour, we must announce the passing of a dear, dear wife, sister, auntie, Great Auntie, step-mom, Grandma, friend and servant of Christ. On the morning of December 31, 2020 following a brief illness unrelated to COVID-19, and with both her husband Ross and her brother David by her side, Barbara Joan went home to the Lord and to the reunion with her parents Pam and Lew Wilson which she has always known was ahead for her. Dear wife of Ross R. Cotton (Barrie), little sister of Connie Hudson-Gilbert, Jeff Wilson (Windsor), Jak Wilson (London), David & Shelly Wilson (Barrie) and twin sister to Beth Brown (Sarnia). In addition, her step-son Bram Cotton and wife Justine and step-daughter Rebecca and her husband Steven Street as well as Barbara’s grandchildren Gillian, Jacob, Grace, Celia, Julia, Colin and Annabel are grieving this loss. Also missing her tremendously are eleven nieces and nephews and their spouses and numerous great nieces and nephews, all of whom have grown up knowing her love and devotion to each of them. Ross’ extended family the “Thompsons” will also miss her so much.
Barbara attended Southwood Public School and Vincent Massey Secondary School in Windsor and went on to graduate from Ontario Bible College and then took courses from the University of Windsor. In her youth, Barbara was an active and dedicated member of Oakwood Bible Chapel, participating in the choir and assisting with Sunday School, Bible studies and youth groups such as Pioneer Girls.
For a number of years, she worked for the Toronto Dominion Bank until she began working 20 years for Chrysler Financial Services, a job that eventually took her to the Mississauga area and then on to Barrie, ON where she met and married Ross Cotton who has been the love of her life for the last 16 years.
Barbara was certain of several things: cat love, the healing power of banana bread, the magic dancing power of sparkly shoes, and the role of order and efficiency for a well-lived life, to name a few of them. But more importantly: Ross’s love, the importance of family and the abiding love of God. Barbara enjoyed over 16 wonderful years of marriage to Ross, relished their joint commitment to their church family and enthusiastically planned and enjoyed their vacations. She even took up golf again. She threw herself wholly into family events such as birthday parties, anniversary parties, weddings at which she danced with unlimited joy and energy, and our sporadic Wilson family reunions which have grown to include forty-two people! When together, there was never any question about where Barbara wanted to be—she was with us 100% and was always glad to see each one of us.
Her heart was enormous and her enthusiasm unbridled. She had a servant’s heart, a thirst for God’s word and an appetite for joy and celebration. She loved nothing more than to use her blessings to serve others. She was and remains a vivid example of loving one another as Christ loves us.
Into every life some rain must fall, the saying goes, and some rain fell in Barbara’s life and I think what struck me then and what continues to impress me now is how bravely she picked up everything she owned, left her parents to whom she was devoted, her Windsor family and everyone she knew and set out boldly on a new path in the Toronto-Barrie area. It isn’t strength that makes us look those challenges in the teeth; it’s courage and faith in the face of what we feel certain is going to kill us. Yes, Barbara was an example of joy and of loving one another, but in those days she was also an example, to her many nieces and nephews, of courage, determination and faith that God had something better in His plans for her. and He did, because that move brought her to her Wilson Barrie family and Ross and family and the home she enjoyed so much, and the families and friends she “adopted” including Lynn and children, the Fehrs and the Lambrights and all her church family at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Barbara, along with Ross, served their church family faithfully, teaching Sunday School and cooking in the church kitchen. Preparing for and teaching Sunday School was one of the highlights of her week bringing God’s word to her young boys and girls. She also faithfully studied God’s word everyday and participated fully in Bible Studies. Her last study was Psalm 34. On the refrigerator was her favourite expression “If God said it, I Believe It and that settles it” She also took on the responsibility as Registrar for Camp Cherith-Ontario, a Christian children’s camp, when she was not cooking there. She had such a strong passion for the Ministry of Christian Children’s Camping. We can never know how many lives she touched through such service. Barbara will never know who she lifted up through this work to our Lord.
Christmas was a very special time of the year for Barbara as we celebrated the Birth of of our Lord Jesus Christ. She enjoyed decorating her home with wonderful decorations both old and new. Many family, community and Church events were attended and a number of dinners were held at her home for both family and friends. Even this year before going unexpectedly to Hospital, the entire house was decorated and presents made or bought and wrapped ready for that special day.
Barbara’s sudden illness and her passing on New Year’s Eve has put a particularly bitter end on this already unusually challenging year. But the date does bring a tearful and quivering smile to me as I think of how much she relished New Year’s Eve—the parties that she threw every December 31st complete with decorations, noisemakers, party hats, food and refreshment and her genuine excitement at the arrival of each guest that only sincere love of people and real hope for a Happy New Year can bring. And I smile because I know that if she could not be hosting the party here, she is where she would rather be and remembering her life, her joy and her total commitment to all of us will always be marked with a celebration, a noisemaker and a fireworks bang!
Barbara didn’t want this—an obituary, a funeral or a memorial, any of it. In typical fashion, she didn’t want a fuss made over her. But if there is something she and I (niece Jackie) had most in common as family and it is not our housekeeping or a love of cats, it is our cheekiness; so it gives me particular pleasure to celebrate her in these few paragraphs because she was wonderful and we love her and she deserved to be celebrated in so many ways and for many more years and because she would think it was so cheeky to do exactly what she didn’t want me to do and exactly what she would have done.
So, we celebrate you, Barbara, here in these paragraphs and also with a shared photograph, a story now and then, the memory of you holding your head a certain way and pulling your mouth slyly down and leaning in when you wanted to say something cheeky as an aside to a conversation, something you really didn’t think you should say that was hilarious. We celebrate you whether you like it or not.
And now, because only certain people will read down this far, these are the names that must be mentioned because they are heartbroken and need to be included and some of them don’t even know yet how great a loss this is to them, but will grow to understand it as each day makes them older and wiser and they face challenges of their own: Despite not being geographically close to some, Barbara prayed faithfully everyday for all her family members.
Missing her terribly are
The Barrie Wilsons who enjoyed her presence day to day and with whom Barbara and Ross got to celebrate each milestone:
Meredith Lowe and daughters Lauren and Tori
Greg Wilson, Ali Wilson and children Jack, Luke and Sarah
Leslie and Glenn Crawford and children Kate and Caleb
The Windsor Wilsons who enjoyed her presence in the early years and cherished every visit, every card and email:
Jackie Hudson and Paul Gecelovsky and children Noah, Lauren and Siovan
David and Shelley Hudson and children Megan and Neve
Matt and Staci Wilson and also Bob and Jessica Wilson
The London Wilsons who missed her when she was not with them and looked forward to every visit, every card, every reunion:
Shannon Wilson and Ian Hofer and children Erik, Will, James and Kate, predeceased 2010 and Sean Wilson
The Sarnia Wilsons
Taylor Brown and Erin (Brown) and Bryan Pogue (now of Milton); and
Her beautiful seven Grandchildren who she loved and adored as each came into her life. Of Barrie there is Gillian, Jacob, Grace and Julia Street of Innisfil who she so looked forward to having one day after school each week. In St Catharines are Celia, Colin and Annabel Cotton who visited here and stayed over in the summer time or Grandma and Grandpa would visit there.
Barbara loved us all with a joyful love and she genuinely cared about the people she helped and whose lives she touched. She had a great sense of humour and was committed to the jobs and the tasks she took on. She was hard on herself and set high standards in all parts of her life but she was nurturing of people, of each of her kitties and even of her garden which she so enjoyed and in which she found such peace.
Gentle, quiet, funny, dedicated and welcomed at everyone’s table that was our Barbara.
We will all miss you so much but we know you are rejoicing in Heaven.
Thank you Jackie Hudson (Barbara’s niece) for preparing this Obituary with my minor additions and tears. Barbara very much enjoyed your writing style expressed in the cards and e-mails you sent. Perhaps you will get that book done sometime. As I said would say to Barbara every night “I Love you Babe”. Ross
Memorial donations to Camp Cherith ( https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/camp-cherith-ontario/ or in person at the funeral home) in Barbara's memory would be appreciated by the family.