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.
March 15th, 2021
I’m very grateful to meet her and got to know her personally while I was living at her home during my collage years. I grew up in a non-Christian home in Japan and I didn’t know anything about the Bible but God gave me an opportunity to come to Canada to meet Barkers.
When I was studying at Coquitlam College, Irene and Dave were my guardians. There had a responsibility to look after me but more so they really showed me their love and care at their home.
I did study English in Japan but it was only from middle school and it wasn’t probably taught so I was struggling to read and write in English. Irene and Dave taught me the basic part of English grammar and I began to understand how this language works. I particularly didn’t enjoy writing any types of cover letters. It was something I still struggle to write and I never knew what to write. However, Irene and Dave always had a time to help me and they did help me to proof read my writing. It took many practice but eventually I was able to express my thoughts in English. Because of their help, just last month I got a job as a Data Consolidation Analysis!! There are several missionaries that working in Japan to build churches in the city of Nagaya. God is giving me an opportunity to work for these missionaries.
My heart sank when I found out that Irene was sick and she wasn’t recovering. I wish there was more time so that I was able to come visit her and let her hold my daughter.
I’m not sure if I can be patient like Irene and Dave if I had to teach English to someone but I’ve learned to love others like they did for me so I hope I can do the same to others. Life seems long but I start to realize it’s really short so while I have a change, I like to make to most of it.
Irene, thank you for teaching me so many good lessons!! You always gave me good advice and I don’t want to forget about all the good laughs we got to share at your place! You’ll be missed!!
February 12th, 2021
Once upon a long time ago, in a land far across the ocean, where people speak with funny accents, (and think that their football team is the best!), a little girl was born. She grew a head full of curls and a heart full of love, and she always had a twinkle in her eyes. As she grew she learned to love Jesus, as His love captured her heart. She learned her ABC's and her 1,2,3's and her Doh-Re-Mi's...And she hid God's Word in her heart. She grew up to become a woman of deep faith who always loved, depended upon and wholeheartedly trusted in the God who never failed her. Her life was a constant reflection of Jesus to everyone she met. She and Dave have been such an incredible, loving team, both in life and ministry, in all the years they have been together. Each of us have our own stories of how God has loved us through them. God knew, all those years ago, that this world would need such a woman as this, for such a time as she lived. Whatever, wherever and whenever the time had been, she was always ready for whatever He called her to do, or to be! And so, when the time came recently for her sudden departure, although she surely grieved in knowing that she would be leaving her loved ones behind, yet she rejoiced in knowing that she would be where her Saviour was calling her to go. We are heartbroken, both for her family, as well as for ourselves and all who knew her.
Irene was one of a kind, absolutely irreplaceable! She radiated the love of Christ wherever she was and had an incredible way of making a person feel genuinely loved, cared about and appreciated. She also had a sneaky way of convincing a person that they were the right person for a job that needed doing! With a twinkle in her eyes and a cheeky cock of her head, she would smile, as the person (me, or anyone else) would eventually cave in and accept the request! This side of heaven will never be the same again without her here. We will miss her deeply. May we all strive to follow the example of a true servant heart that Irene left us, with a smile on our faces, and the joy of Jesus in our hearts.
February 12th, 2021
I was so blessed to have Irene in my life at an early age..18.. and a friendship that has continued up until the present. I am 65 now and was so happy whenever Dave and Irene came to Vancouver Island, as we would be blessed with a visit. I remember eating many meals withDave and Irene when I worked with Vision International. I enjoyed having fun with their little ones. I will always remember the strength of faith and love that Irene had for her Saviour. My whole family were blessed with their friendship. I cherish the memories of Irenes smile, wonder sense of humour and contagious laugh. My husband described Irene well when he said, “ I will miss Irene, she was a really fine lady”. We love you Irene, we will cherish your memory and we will look forward to being together again.💗💗😗
February 12th, 2021
Mr. Barker, Andrew, Steve, Jeanette and Charlene.
Please accept our sincerest condolences on the passing of your beloved wife and mother.
May she rest in peace and may her memory always be a blessing.
She will be missed by so many. Forever in our hearts.
All our love, Roger, Stacey and Kayla Wiley.
February 11th, 2021
A Memorial Tree was ordered in memory of Irene Barker by Lawson and Karen Murray xo.
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord ... They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. "
Irene was a fruitful tree! Our love,
Lawson and Karen Murray xo
February 10th, 2021
I'm deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Irene; one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted and giving persons I've ever met. During the time I started attending Calvary Baptist Church, she was always one to make you feel welcomed, invite you for special events, and she always knew exactly what to say when giving advice. She made you feel like family and you never had to question her intentions. Such a genuine person ALWAYS open to praying with you or giving hugs and a word of encouragement to brighten your day. I remember going back to visit years after not seeing her and Pastor Dave and feeling as though I never left. I will definitely miss her warm, inviting spirit.
Sleep on Irene. Take your rest. We love you so much, but Jesus loves you best. My prayers go out to her family and friends during this time.
February 10th, 2021
Irene and Dave came to join us in our Evangelistic ministry in the early 1960’s. All the years they worked with us they never faltered in their service for Jesus Christ. Many times Dave would be away from home because of ministry. Irene would carry on looking after their young family and holding the fort at home.
As I think back I remember Irene as a blessing to me and to others who joined the team. Always caring, loving, hospitable and ready to reach out to those in need. Many times Irene would invite someone for tea so that she might be able to speak to them about Christ.
Always cheerful and with a smile and would make opportunities to witness for Jesus Christ.
Although through the years we were separated in distance, whenever we met, we were able to pick up where we left off. A true, loyal and faithful friend. You were much loved.
We can rejoice that Irene is now with her Saviour who she loved and served, but our sadness is for all who loved her that she is not with us any longer. Especially to you Dave and family. My thoughts and prayer for you is that the Lord will hold you fast. Much love, Win
February 9th, 2021
Ruth and I send our love and deepest sympathy. We have fond memories of your love for the Lord. We are praying for you.
Robert & Ruth Erion
February 6th, 2021
I was one of the blessed children in Ormskirk when Dave and Irene opened their home on a Wednesday night. Also in Project Evangelism when we lived in a flat above them and I would play with their babies, Stephen and Andrew. Very good times full of Jesus and His love.
February 5th, 2021
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at A Simple Cremation
Write a Tribute
Please note: Your tribute will show up AFTER it has been approved by the friend or family member in charge of this account.