Barbara Elizabeth Swartz

December 22, 1923 - July 13, 2020

Funeral Details: A Celebration of Life will be announced for a later date.

Swartz, Barbara Elizabeth

December 22, 1923 – July 13, 2020

It is with sadness we announce the passing of Barbara Elizabeth Swartz (nee Brown) in Newmarket, Ontario on July 13, 2020 at the age of 96 years.  Beloved wife of the late Murray Swartz and the late Ralph Woodburn.  Loving mother of David (Barbara) Woodburn, Heather Swartz, Karen MacMartin, Donna (Eric) Boyko and Grant Swartz.  Special Grandmother of Shanna (Bryan) Parker, Tracy (Michael) Bowles, Drew (Morgan) MacMartin, Kristyn (Adam) Jones, Michelle (Gary) Berwick, Eric (Melodie) Boyko, Laura Boyko and Marjorie, Rhiannon, Calum and Julian Swartz.  Barbara will be sadly missed by her 12 great grandchildren Owen, Chloe, Sara, Isla, Amelia, Charlotte, Henry, Mia, Brody, Anika, Ellis and Maxwell.

Barbara was born in Stamford, Connecticut on December 22, 1923, daughter of Helen and Samuel Brown.  She married a Navy man, Ralph Woodburn, on December 27, 1947, after World War II.   She gave birth to a daughter, Donna, and a son, David, but was sadly widowed with two young children in 1963. A homemaker since her marriage, she entered the workforce as a dental assistant in order to support her young family on her own.

Five years later, a close friend introduced her to Murray Swartz, a visiting relative from Toronto.  After a whirlwind romance, she accepted a marriage proposal, and bravely moved to Canada to start a new life. Murray, a widower himself, brought his own three children Karen, Heather and Grant into the new merged family.   When the children were older, she returned to work at Eaton’s and Sears department stores to help support the family. She also volunteered for many years with the St. John’s Hospital Auxiliary where she played a prominent role.

Barbara and Murray enjoyed a happy life together for 37 years, enjoying an active social life until Murray passed away in 2005.  She continued living in Richmond Hill where she and Murray lived after retirement, eventually moving from their condo to Delmanor Retirement Residence in Richmond Hill, and later in 2018 to the long term care facility Southlake Village.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude to the wonderful staff at Southlake Village. During the months from March onward, the facility was in lockdown due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  This left her unable to see her family In person, and her acute hearing loss prevented most communication by phone.  Video conferences arranged by Southlake staff helped to bridge the separation.  Some very special Southlake staff cared for her, providing more and more support as she needed it in recent months.  Special thanks to Elaine, Bonnie, Ahmed and Heather, to name just a few wonderful people.

In lieu of flowers, donations to a “go fund me “campaign to thank Southlake village Care Heroes would be especially welcome, at

A Celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at a later date with inurnment at Elgin Mills Cemetery, Richmond Hill.  Arrangements entrusted to Peaceful Transition York and condolences may be forwarded to the family through



9 Condolences
  • Reinhard & Vicki
    Posted on: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Reply

    Dear Heather & Family,

    Reinhard and I are so very sorry for your loss. Prayers and hugs to you all. And please accept our sincere condolences.

  • Pam Luedy Jerro
    Posted on: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Reply

    So sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. I have found memories of both her and your dad.

  • M R
    Posted on: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Reply

    We are very sad to hear of your loss, Dave and family. Your Mom lived a very full and long life, but when it’s final there really is no word for the loss. You lost your father before you knew how to perhaps grieve and maybe you will grieve your loving parents now. Your Mom was a very strong matriarch that probably kept you all together. Now it’s up to the rest of you. You have a loving big family. 😷❤️🤗🇨🇦 To all in your family

    • David Woodburn
      Posted on: Saturday, July 18, 2020 Reply

      M R. Thank you for your kind words…..I can’t figure out who M R is though?

  • Phyllis Reeve
    Posted on: Thursday, July 16, 2020 Reply

    Dear Donna and family – so very sorry – and yet as I read her story I could not be sad. Thank you for telling it so beautifully. My sincere condolences.

  • Denise Easson
    Posted on: Thursday, July 16, 2020 Reply

    Dear Heather, Karen,Dave and Grant. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. I remember your mom making me feel like part of the family. She was a wonderful, kind and caring soul.

    • Heather swartz
      Posted on: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 Reply

      Debbie, Thank you for your kind words and memories of my Mom…they mean a lot to all of us.

  • Debbie Weiner
    Posted on: Saturday, July 18, 2020 Reply

    Karen, Heather, Grant, Donna, Dave and all the grandkids,

    I’m so sorry that during this most difficult time you have lost a special person in your life.

    My teenage years were significantly impacted by the Swartz family, and sleepovers and family dinners always brought much excited anticipation.

    I have wonderful memories of seeing your mom in the kitchen surrounded by all the delicious food that she was preparing for dinner and couldn’t wait to sit down with the family.

    She was something of a super woman to me and as a teenager I wondered to myself how she managed to feed this huge family and still look calm and beautiful?

    Just after I got married and realized that it was very stressful having anyone over for dinner, I asked her how she did it. Her advice was simple….”I feel like that too at times, she said, and what helps me is a glass of wine before the company shows up”! She said, “It’s a little trick of mine, try it”.
    She amazed me and her advice has gotten me through many a company dinner! Thank you Barbara!

    Your mom was also the most put together mom of all the moms. Day or night, her lipstick was applied flawlessly, a scarf around her neck and a beautiful necklace of some sort always adorning her outfits.

    She was a woman of principle and so allowing our dog Duffy to relax on the couch when he came calling, (when their own dog Panda was banned ) was always something I found so kind and very amusing.

    Barbara is now at peace and I know that she is looking down at the wonderful family she worked so hard to build.
    She was one of the strongest women I knew.

    I will always have beautiful memories of her and may her memory be a blessing for all of you.

    Our deepest condolences
    Debbie and Family

  • Donna Gordon
    Posted on: Monday, July 20, 2020 Reply

    Donna Gordon
    To: Heather and family Stan and I would like to send our sincere condolences thinking of you at this sad time oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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