Mother, wife, daughter, sister, speech-language pathologist, manager. Born Dec. 16, 1950, in Baltimore, Md. Died Sept. 8, 2011, in Richmond Hill, Ont., of breast cancer, aged 60.
People never tired of hearing how Barbara Salkovitch met her husband, Steve.
Barb grew up in Baltimore, Md., one of four children of Harry and Anita Stein. She arrived in Toronto on Thanksgiving Day weekend in 1980 to head the speech clinic at Baycrest Hospital. Having settled into her new apartment a few weeks later, fate had her bump into Steve Salkovitch’s mother, Sophie, in the lobby one day. Barb had an unlisted phone number, so Sophie conspired with her sister-in-law Evelyn, who worked at Baycrest, to obtain said number.
A few days after Barb’s birthday, a blind date took place. Sparks flew, and by Valentine’s Day it was agreed that marriage was in order. Three days later, a home was purchased downtown, and Barb and Steve married there in April, 1981. Her friends said it wouldn’t last.
It did. Thirty years.
Having completed her master’s degree at Penn State, and the course work for her doctorate at the University of Georgia, Barbara put work on her PhD dissertation on hold while settling into her new life and job. She became immersed in building what was a two-person department at Baycrest into a clinic staffed by many speech pathologists, audiologists and occupational therapists. It was a mammoth job, but she managed it with her usual diligence, innovation, dedication and kind-heartedness. And plenty of Day-Timers, her lifelong obsession being the pursuit of the perfect organizer.
Son David and daughter Marni came along to keep life interesting, and busy. Barb was an expert at juggling the responsibilities of motherhood with a career, always actively involved in her children’s lives.
Following Baycrest, Barb held various management positions, working at West Park Hospital, Bloorview-MacMillan Children’s Rehab and for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, she remained optimistic through operations, radiation and chemotherapy. If asked how she was, she would invariably respond, “I’m fine.”
Between recurrences, Barb and Steve were able to travel, her favourite place to visit being Barcelona, Spain. She became a case manager with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), visiting clients in her final year with the aid of a cane, as the cancer had spread to her bones, but still never complaining.
During one of her last periods of alertness while in hospice care, Barb discussed wedding plans with Steve, Marni and her fiancé, Jason. Barb passed away with her family by her side. Marni and Jason were married a month later on an unusually spectacular October day. All agreed that Barb had, as usual, risen to a position in upper management.
By Stephen Salkovitch, Barbara’s husband, and Marni Salkovitch, their daughter.