The Life of Irene Barker
October 21, 1939 - January 30, 2021
On Saturday, January 30, at 3:40 am, while at home, Irene (Trussell) Barker passed peacefully into the arms of her Saviour Jesus, whom she loved so dearly. From diagnosis to the day she went home to heaven was only a few short weeks. She was able to spend her last week at home which was her clear desire, with family by her side. She was 81 years of age.
Irene was born at home on October 21, 1939 in Liverpool, England to Annie Victoria or “Queenie” (Cottrell) and William Trussell and was their only living child. She was born at the start of World War II and named Irene, meaning Peace. Irene grew up in post-war Liverpool, attending Holly Lodge High School for Girls until she was 16 years old, when she left school and began office work. As a young child brought to Sunday School, she accepted Christ into her life. She had a clear personal faith and trust in Jesus and dedicated her life to serving Him, whatever the cost. At Calvary Baptist Church, in her late teens and early twenties, she led the youth with her boyfriend/fiance/husband, David Barker.
At 4 years old, Irene and David met at Calvary but it wasn’t until she was 16 that she turned her attention his way. Their relationship began with a walk home in the rain under an umbrella and is even now fondly remembered, commemorated with a painting in their living room. They were married on June 16, 1962 and made their first home in Ormskirk, a Lancashire market town. After only 2 ½ years in their new home, they moved to Matlock, Derbyshire, to join a faith-based, evangelical organization known as “Project”. Working alongside South African evangelist Ken Terhoven and his wife Win in youth outreach conferences, they trained many hundreds of youth and young adults throughout the UK. During this time, Irene and Dave had 3 children: Steve, Andrew and Jeanette.
With their young family in 1971, Dave and Irene followed the call of the Lord to Canada to continue their evangelistic ministry and were welcomed by a small church in Stouffville called Memorial Christian church. Eventually moving into Toronto in 1976, Dave joined the staff of Banfield Evangelical Missionary Church as their pastor of evangelism. This became home for 9 years before being commissioned to plant Cabbagetown Community Church in the inner city of Toronto. In each of these places, Irene exemplified generosity, kindness, and care, “looking not only to her own interests, but also to the interests of others” with her main desire for others to know Jesus.
In 1980, Irene and Dave were thrilled to welcome Charlene (at 7 years old) into the family, specifically choosing her as their fourth child. Irene continued to have many roles between 1976 and 1991: pastor’s wife and minister in her own right, mother of four, sometimes five, working for Rex Humbard Association, then for Christian Children’s Fund of Canada as Director of Administration for 11 years where she developed a passion for helping children overseas.
Following yet another call of the Lord, Dave and Irene moved to the Tri-Cities area of Vancouver, BC in 1991 to plant a new church - Evergreen EM Church. Irene became office manager when the church became Hillside Community Church and was privileged to return to Toronto a couple of times a year as she served for several years on the national board of World Relief (now TearFund Canada). Developing many new friendships and loving each of the communities in which she found herself, Irene continued encouraging people to come to Christ and to church, mentoring and discipling many.
Irene’s last move was to Calvary Baptist Church, her final church home where, not only did she not retire, she took on even more ministry. Her passion was the Welcome Team as she desired that people feel part of a family when they walked through the door. Finally, she created the Prayer Team where she encouraged people to prayer, sending updates and thinking of others even in her final days in hospital. Irene was a master of organization, loved to give gifts, always remembered people’s birthdays and anniversaries, checked in with others to see how they were doing, and was a mentor and mother to many beyond her own family. She loved a good joke, had an open heart for anyone she met and was a devoted grandmother and great-grandmother where she provided much support, spiritual direction and chocolate.
Irene is predeceased by both her and Dave’s parents, her daughter-in-law Colleen in 2006 and her beloved brother-in-law Crawford McIntyre in April 2020. Irene is survived by her true partner in life, her husband Dave Barker of Port Coquitlam, sister-in-law Jenny McIntrye of Kendal, England and Jenny’s four children, her own children: Steve Barker of South Surrey, BC, Andrew Barker of Toronto, ON, Jeanette (Tim) Unruh of Whistler, BC and Charlene Barker of Delta, BC, her grandchildren: Jennifer Graham (Steve), Luke, Rachel, Abby, Ben (Jeanette and Tim) and great-grandchildren: Liam and Makayla (Steve). We would like to thank the Royal Columbian Hospital staff and the Fraser Health Nursing and Support staff for easing Irene’s last days. We would also like to thank the communities of each of the churches in her life for being her spiritual family.
In lieu of flowers, we would welcome donations to Tearfund Canada (formerly World Relief) as children, relief and development have been some of Irene’s passions for many years. www.tearfund.ca/irenebarker
Live Stream Service (You Tube) will be on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 12:00 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Coquitlam - You Tube link to follow. There will be a drive by time at 2:00 pm at the church and we would love you to join us for this time. Please refer to Calvary’s website https://www.calvarybaptist.ca for more information and details.