In Memory of





Obituary for Barbara Lee McIlquham (Frink)

Barbara Lee McIlquham

On Thursday October 29, 2020, Barbara Lee McIlquham (nee Frink), loving wife of Douglas Clifford McIlquham and mother of six children passed away at the age of 89 in Whitby, Ontario.

Barbara was born on October 6, 1931 on a farm in Ernestown Township west of Kingston Ontario, to Walter and Ruby (nee Spratt) Frink. She left home at the young age of eleven to attend high school at KCVI in Kingston and then graduated with an RN from the KGH School of Nursing at Kingston General Hospital in 1952.

She married Doug McIlquham on June 27, 1953 and they raised three sons and three daughters together: David (Elaine), Donna Cooper (Richard), Susan (Dr. Ken Barss), Scott (Wendy), Cathy Olley (Adrian) and Bruce.

Our mother was a kind and forgiving woman, wife and mother. She was the embodiment of “turn the other cheek” and a great role model for temperament, civility and absolution. We think (know) she demonstrated and had lots of practice in the 67 years Mum was married to our father, and the 35 years she had children, and especially teenagers under her roof! Hers was unconditional love, and no matter how much we tested Mum, her grandchildren challenged Grandma, or the great grandkids exhausted GiGi, she never looked at any of us differently.

Mum was also a nurse and even though she only practiced her craft for a short time before David was born, she proudly wore that “cape” her entire life. “Once a nurse always a nurse” as the old adage goes, which we often joked! In her last few years, Mum might not have remembered the right name or word, but she always knew she was a nurse. Mum & Dad moved to a retirement apartment at Taunton Mills four years ago and we always smiled when she saw the staff in “scrubs” and immediately was transported back to her hallowed halls of KGH.

Barbara was born on a farm, grew up in Kingston away from her parents (as she wanted an education), and raised her family in Hamilton and Oshawa. She was much more adventurous than most people guessed, which was best demonstrated by that decision to leave the farm at such a young age and live with her older sister in Kingston. Barbara was truly Doug’s partner in their life journey, and she even spent much of the 90’s working side by side with him in the family business, Murray Johnston’s Ltd. One of the happiest times of her life was retiring with Doug and moving back to her family property in Collins Bay, and building a final home. She spent many years there looking out at the lake she grew up beside, honing her skills of graciousness, patience and tenacity while dealing with Doug “in retirement”!

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Walter & Ruby Frink, her sisters Pauline Schultz (Ottawa), Geraldine Gray (Kingston) Bertie Little (Kingston) and brother Ernie Frink (Wilton). In addition to her husband Doug, six children, and sons-in-law & daughters-in-law, Barbara is survived by eleven grandchildren, their spouses and partners, seven great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Armstrong Funeral Home in Oshawa handled Barbara’s funeral arrangements and cremation. A celebration of her life will be held at an appropriate time in the future, when we all can be together. Then, we will remember an intelligent, kind and wonderful woman, who was loved and respected by all, and who never, ever whispered an unkind word about anyone.

Although Barbara loved flowers, she always counted her coins (a result of being raised on a farm and having six children), so would not wish you to spend money on them now. If you are inclined, a gift in her memory to a charity or your choice would be much appreciated. Online condolences may be left at