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Barb Bertch  April 29th, 2024

Barbara (Barb) Bertch was born in Youngstown Ohio in 1949.  After she left home to live in New York City, Barb’s early interests were directed towards protesting the war in Vietnam, studying music at NYU, and cycling.  Her days as a bicycle courier in New York City may have helped sparked her love of adrenaline inducing activities.  Cycling from San Francisco, she arrived in Banff in 1978.  Surrounded by nature, she knew immediately that she had found her home.  Barb thrived in Banff, eventually becoming a proud Canadian and joining the Banff Warden Service as one of a group of early women pioneers in a male-dominated profession.

Physical pursuits and nature were always close to Barb's heart, and she was a fierce competitor in running races and cross-country skiing.  But it wasn’t all about competition: she enjoyed canoe-tripping on remote wilderness rivers, mountaineering, and powder-skiing with friends at back-country ski lodges.  Most of all, Barb passionately loved doing these things with her life partner of 46 years, Reg Bunyan, even though, by his account, her "misplaced faith" in his abilities sometimes led to hair-raising perils on glaciers, rivers, and in remote mountain country — none of which fazed Barb.  Even into her 60’s Barb was a force to be reckoned with, skiing into a wolverine research bait site in -35 weather with a 30 kilo beaver carcass and thinking she was having “the best day ever”.  

Barb was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease ten years ago and while the disease slowly eroded both her mind and body, that same grit and determination allowed her to maintain much of her autonomy and capacity, still skiing until several months before her death. She never complained about her deteriorating condition, but strived to keep on doing as much as she could with the partner she loved. Barb died peacefully on April 29th, 2024, deeply missed as an inspirational one-of-a-kind woman. 

 A memorial service will be held in the fall.

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