Barnes, Ralph Spencer

Ralph Barnes passed away peacefully on August 19th at Meaford General Hospital. Greatly missed by his loving family, Norma his wife of 55 years, his daughter Heather Barnes and his son-in-law Duane Lee, his grandchildren Meredith and Spencer Lee and sister-in-law Lynne Leitch and her husband John and their children Graham, Ellen, Hilary and Heather.

Born in Toronto, Ralph attended the University of Western Ontario where he obtained a BA in Economics and an MBA.  He went on to be the Gold Medal winner in his CMA class, and attended an Executive Program at Harvard.  Well known in the Toronto financial community Ralph held senior positions with several prominent corporations including George Weston Ltd.

Ralph and Norma met at a YMCA dance and were married in 1965. They were partners in life sharing adventure and fun with family and friends.  Their passion for travel took Ralph and Norma all over the world, starting with their honeymoon camping across Europe for three months.

Ralph was a sports fan and lover of the arts. He greatly enjoyed skiing at Georgian Peaks and playing golf at the Georgian Bay Club with many of his lifelong friends.

Ralph’s positive attitude, zest for life, and caring compassionate personality endeared him to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

A private family service of interment will take place at a later date.

As your expression of sympathy, donations to the Meaford Hospital Foundation would be appreciated and may be made through the Ferguson Funeral Home, 48 Boucher St. E., Meaford, ON   N4L 1B9 to whom arrangements have been entrusted.   Please visit to share your memories with Ralph’s family.



Private family interment at a later date.

Donations: Meaford Hospital Foundation
Make a donation in memory of Ralph Spencer Barnes

Memories & Messages of condolence

  1. LInda & Craig
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    We will miss that mischievous smile and all the great times we had together, golf course, Toronto, Florida, and at home. Our lives are more complete having known you and the memories live on forever. Hope they have lots of gimme putts in Heaven and you drive the ball straight and long. Your legacy lives on through your wonderful and caring family.

    God Bless you Ralphie, forever in our hearts.

    1. Lisa Scott
      Monday, August 24, 2020

      Norma, Heather, Duane, Meredith and Spencer.

      We are so sorry about Ralph’s passing and we will miss him terribly. As Norma always reminds us – weren’t we so lucky to share such amazing times together over the years, building from one generation to the next. Ralph is a big part of those memories and he will live on through them and our retelling of them now and forever.

      Sending love and hugs to you,
      Lisa, Chris, Norah, Fraser and Maeve

  2. Mary and Ian Smith
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    Our sincere condolences to Norma and family
    We remember Ralph as a kind, positive person, fun to be with golfing or out for dinner,
    He will be missed by all that new him

  3. Janet and David Greyson
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    To Norma and Heather and family

    We want to express our sincere sympathy to you at this time . Our thoughts are with you


    Janet David and Maggie Greyson

  4. Christine Lasky
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    Norma, Heather, Duane and family,

    Robert and I are deeply sorry for your loss. Ralph was a kind generous man and we will miss him. I worked with Ralph at Weston Foods and remember him fondly from those days. Of course we all skied and had great fun at the ski club. The last meal we had at Judy B’s for his birthday is a nice memory from the very early spring. You will be missed Ralph, may you Rest In Peace.
    Hugs to all of you.
    Christine Lasky

  5. Angela Chin
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    To Norma, Heather & Duane, and family, our heartfelt sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. May you cherish and find comfort in the good memories.

    We will miss you Ralph, and especially at our annual Christmas family dinner.
    God bless you, and may you find eternal peace.

    The Chin Family

  6. Carole & Blair Cowper-Smith
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    Dear Norma & family,

    Our deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved husband, father & grandfather. He will be greatly missed but remembered in all of our hearts. We wish you peace and strength through the difficult days ahead.

    Carole & Blair

  7. katherine Munkley
    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    To: Dear Norma, Heather and family,

    Our sincerest condolences in the loss of Ralph. He was a wonderful man, had a life well lived and his presence will be missed. Our thoughts are with you.

    Ron and Kathy Munkley

  8. Glenn Archambault
    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Dear Norma,

    My deepest condolences on the loss of Ralph. He was a great person and I will miss our workouts and his stories of sports, business and life. He truly was a great inspiration to me and many others. My thoughts are with you Norma and be strong throughout this difficult time.


  9. Carolyn Irvine
    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Dear Norma, Heather & Family
    I am so sorry to about Ralph’s passing. I always enjoyed seeing your family at many of the wonderful Scott Family parties & events & I always enjoyed my chats with Ralph. He was always such a nice, friendly person.
    My thoughts are with you all during this tough time.
    Carolyn Irvine

  10. Judith Bannister
    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Norma, Heather, Duane, Meredith and Spencer

    Our thoughts are with you now as they have been for the difficult times you have been through.
    Lovely lovely Ralph … deeply you will miss him as will we. I remember when we all skied together…. Ralph in particular tearing down Rogers in his blue one piece ditranni ski suit. We all thought he was oh so cool and he was. So many more memories but the last dinner party at our place to celebrate his bday is one that will always stand out. He was chatty, laughing and engaged for most of the evening. We have all lost a winner who we will never forget.
    With love and our deepest sympathy
    Gary, Judy and family

  11. Kathy Richardson
    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Dear Norma and Family,
    So very sorry to read about Ralph’s passing.
    My sympathy to you and your family.
    I always enjoyed assisting you and Ralph with future travel plans.
    Thinking of you.
    Take care and be well.
    Kathy Richardson, Cruise Holidays

  12. Merv from Thornbury Foodland
    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Condolences to Norma and family.

  13. Margaret Rose and Irv Horton
    Monday, August 24, 2020

    Dear Norma,Heather and Family:
    We are related to Ralph and Norma because Ralph is Margaret’s first cousin.Beginning with our familial relationship it evolved into a dear relationship among the four of us.
    All of our shared activities were greatly enhanced by Ralph’s presence.He was always warm,friendly and caring with a great sense of humour and a captivating smile.
    We have so many fond memories of being together in Toronto,Tillsonburg and Thornbury while skiing,golfing,visiting and family celebrations like weddings.
    We sincerely hope that these memories will help sustain you in the days and months ahead.
    Love Margaret Rose and Irv Horton.

  14. Donna Meyers
    Monday, August 24, 2020

    Dear Norma,

    You know my love and thoughts are with you at this sad time. You and Ralph had a such a wonderful and full life together. Ralph always seemed like such a kind and intelligent gentleman to me.

    Much love

  15. Brock and Holly Horton
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    We were saddened to hear the news of Ralph’s passing. We knew Ralph to be a very positive and inspiring person. Although it’s been a few years since we’ve been together, we remember him fondly and know he’ll be dearly missed. Our sincerest condolences to your family. We are thinking of you.

    Brock and Holly Horton

  16. Carol Comish
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Dear Norma: Please accept my deepest sympathies during this difficult time. I remember the wonderful times we had in Moore Park and Blue Mountains. I am sure you have wonderful memories of Ralph to comfort you. Carol Comish

  17. Pauline and Stu Auty
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Dear Norma and family,
    We were so saddened to learn of Ralph’s passing. As you once said Norma, “Ralph has the kindest, sweetest temperament” and we will remember him with great fondness also. He was a good friend and companion on the golf course, at the Gentleman’s dinners, and at other social gatherings we shared. We know he will be missed by so many among us.
    With our deep sympathy,
    Pauline and Stu Auty

  18. Ann Marsell
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Norma and Family: We were saddened to hear the news of Ralphies passing. We will fondly remember our many fun dinners shared on “the hill”. He will be missed by all who crossed his path as he was a wonderful, caring and interesting man. Our deepest sympathies.
    Annie and Dennis

  19. George and Heather Dickson
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Dear Norma,

    Heather and I have great memories of Ralph to cherish – Moore Park, Black Tie Dinners,skiing, golfing, and, maybe the best, bridge with the Dysarts when a Ralph joke caused Jim to “lose it”.

    Our thoughts are with you and Heather and family … deepest sympathies … George

  20. David and Paula Butterfield
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Paula and David

    We will always treasure our memories of Ralph. Built over 35 years of skiing, golfing, travelling and the many diners together, our relationship grew stronger, especially in retirement when we could spend much more time together. The last 20 years have been wonderful.
    Ralph always had a twinkle in his eye that made us smile and his laugh was infectious.
    We will try to hit the ball straight and long and ski the straightest line in your memory, Ralphie.

  21. constance philion
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Connie Philion I would like to give my condolence at this sad time in your lives. I am a first cousin To Ralph who I always remember as Bud. My Dad Charlie Eitel was a Brother to Ralphs Mom Ruth Eitel. I hope you find this information helpful as I do feel your sadness.

  22. David and Cathy Beattie
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Dear Norma and family,
    Cathy and I are so sorry for your loss. We will always smile when we think of Ralph, such a caring and thoughtful gentleman. Our present and future life here in Thornbury would never have happened without your great example.
    Deepest sympathies, David and Cathy

  23. Don and Gail Cresswell
    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Dear Norma –

    Very sorry to hear the sad news of Ralph’s passing. Our thoughts are with you and your family

  24. Christina (Carscadden) Eaton
    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    It was so nice to see Ralph at GBC at the opening party in May 2019. He was warm & friendly, and we reminisced about all the years at Georgian Peaks, and how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful community. I am sorry for your loss.

  25. Mary and Steve Glogowski
    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    Sad to lose a good friend. Aside from the good times we’ve spent in recent years in Collingwood, we have fond memories of various trips in different parts of the world. On one memorable trip, on a day trip to Tangier from Marbella Spain, Ralph showed the polite gentlemanly side of his character. On stepping ashore off the ferry, we were swarmed by a crowd of vendors, as the few tourists entering the Kasbah during Ramadan. Too polite to dismiss them outright, we followed Ralph’s example and each had an appendage that followed us all day, no more than an arms-length away, even peering into the restaurant while we had lunch. Finally, as we boarded the ferry at the end of the day, we all had to reward their persistence, if not the quality of the wares. Nevertheless, we still have our keepsakes of a memorable day.

    Mexico had other adventures. In Tulum, after lunch at a roadside Mexican restaurant, we found it was cash only, pesos or U.S. dollars. Having neither between us, Ralph and I were flipping coins to see who would wash and who would dry in the kitchen. Fortunately, the owner, obviously figuring the breakage wouldn’t be worth it, relented and took Canadian dollars at a big discount.

    We were glad that Ralph was able to have a last nice holiday with Norma and ourselves in Puerto Vallarta in March of this year, none of us realizing this would be the last opportunity for a number of reasons.

    I can’t end without a word about Ralph’s prowess at golf. In an early round at GBC, Ralph pulled an ancient club out of his bag. To my untrained eye it was at least a mid-mashie or a driving iron, possibly even a nineteenth-century cleek, handed down through generations. To my astonishment, the ball sailed true and far! So much for the story that only God can hit a 1-iron! Maybe a brownie point now?

    On a serious note, Mary and I always appreciated his volunteer work on the Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, a cause dear to our hearts. To say he will be missed is an understatement, but we will always have the memories.
    So long Ralph!

  26. Terry Scott
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Terry Scott
    I will miss Ralph. He has been a lifelong best friend and companion. I do not remember meeting him as I have known him all my life. We were born three streets and 16 days apart and started kindergarten together at Hillcrest Public School. We played many outdoor games, baseball, hockey, football at Wells Hill park and even got to the City finals at Maple Leaf Gardens, although I don’t remember whether we won or not.

    We went to Northern together, Ralph for some reason in the Commercial program where I envy the fact that he became a very fast typist. We continued to play various sports and even started golf at the Don Valley Public Course (below Hwy 401at Yonge).

    I take some responsibility for encouraging him to go to Western. That was a good choice for Ralph as he got a good education and best of all met Norma.

    I remember when we were going overseas for a few years we left 20 cases of wine with the Barnes, when they moved house they moved it with them and returned the lot on our return.

    We were instrumental in starting them skiing, in the Eastern Townships when we invited them to the Eastern Townships, at Owls Head & Jay Peak. They liked it so much they joined us at Georgian Peaks where our families have spent so many wonderful years

    We shared accommodation and in particular a tiny cottage at what is now Blue Mountain Beach, our three children and Heather sleeping in a sun porch, with Ralph tripping on Craigs’s Lego which was everywhere.

    I will miss Ralph. He was a gentleman, always a supportive friend and a source of good advice. I am still not sure if we should have bought more or less gold!

    Rest In Peace my friend.

  27. Maureen Scott
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    So many years of good times and wonderful memories.
    I loved him dearly and will miss him.

  28. Dorothy and Gene Kinoshita
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Gene and I are so very sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing. We regret we never got to have our cocktail party. We shall miss seeing him at the Club.

  29. Michael & Carolyn Mahoney
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Dear Norma, Heather and family,
    Carolyn and I were saddened to learn of Ralph’s passing.
    During the many years that our paths crossed at the Peaks, you could always count on Ralph’s positivity and “that” smile, always to be remembered and admired.
    The Mahoney family extends its sympathy at your loss.
    We have made a donation to the Minden Food Bank in Memory of Ralph.
    Mike Mahoney

  30. Shannon, Fred, Lachlan, Mason and Nolan Curry
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Norma, Heather, Duane, Meredith and Spencer,

    Our entire family will not be the same without Ralph at our family events. The Barnes clan and the Scott clan have celebrated, commiserated, helped and guided each other, skied, and eaten so many meals together that I cannot ever count them. He has been part of my life forever and I have so many wonderful memories. Ralphs calmness and his lovely grin will be greatly missed. We offer you our condolences and share in your sadness at his passing.

    Lots of love,
    Shannon, Fred, Lachlan, Mason and Nolan

  31. Shannon Curry
    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Norma, Heather, Duane, Meredith and Spencer,

    The Barnes clan and the Scott clan have celebrated, commiserated, provided strength for each other, skied, and had so many meals together that I cannot count them. Ralph and dad shared a bond and a friendship of over 70 years so Ralph has been part of my life forever.
    It truly will not be the same without him. Ralphs calmness and lovely grin will be truly missed at our family table. Our family offers our sincerest condolences and shares your immense sadness at his passing.

    With great love,
    Shannon, Fred, Lachlan, Mason and Nolan Curry

  32. Marcus and Donna Miller
    Saturday, August 29, 2020

    Dear Norma and family,

    We offer our sincere condolences to you and your family. Ralph will be missed by many.

    Donna and Marcus Miller

  33. Dyan Jones
    Saturday, August 29, 2020

    Norma, we had enjoying meeting you and Ralph in times with my sister, Paula Butterfield.
    We are very sorry to hear the sad news of Ralph’s passing. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  34. michael hodgson
    Wednesday, September 2, 2020

    Norma- I just learned of your loss and wanted to express my sincere condolences to you and Heather. While I did not know Ralph well, I always enjoyed the times you and Ralph, and Glenna and I spent together “back in the day”. I remember him as the smartest person in the room. Stay well during this difficult time. Mike

  35. Mark & Cristina Austin
    Thursday, September 3, 2020

    Dear Norma, Heather and Duane

    Our heartfelt condolences for your family’s loss. I remember meeting and getting to know Ralph in the first year or two of my joining RBC, which would have been c. 1998. He was simultaneously inquisitive and knowledgeable, cheeky, serious and kind… a perfectly lovely combination.

    Our hearts and thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
    Mark & Cristina

  36. Carol & John Heeney
    Sunday, September 6, 2020

    What a shock to hear of Ralph’s passing, while we were away at our cottage in the Gatineaus, especially as we were all together just 6 weeks prior.
    Our association with Norma & Ralph began many decades ago at the Georgian Peaks Ski club, where we spent every winter enjoying the slopes and the apres ski scene together. We also had many pleasant dinners with them in Toronto and Thornbury. Ralph was always up to date on many topics ranging from the current stock markets, political scene and all of the major sporting events. Although we never had the pleasure of travelling with Norman & Ralph, nevertheless we often spoke and cross referenced their journeys with ours to gain new insights.
    In regards to golf, pre The Georgian Bay Club, I particularly remember playing weekly with Ralph, at public courses in and around Toronto when we were both “between engagements” in the business world. Even then he was a keen and competent golfer!
    Ralph was the consummate gentleman, always with a smile on his face, interested in you and your family and with a quick wit to enliven any conversation.
    He will be truly missed by all of the Heeney & Harrison family.
    When the snow is good this winter, we will have a run on Minute Mile and think of Ralph

  37. Allen Wirch
    Wednesday, September 9, 2020

    Thank you for contacting me, Norma. You have my sincerest condolences.
    I often think about our studying together and other good times we had as couples, whenever London or the MBA are mentioned. Ralph was a great partner with a great ability to keep us focused on the task, not one of my strong points.
    I have forwarded the information about the obituary to Rod Jack, (our class president) and to a couple of others.
    Be strong, as I know you can be.
    If you are ever coming to the Niagara Region, let us know.

  38. Nancy Watchorn
    Monday, September 21, 2020

    All of the Watchorns were saddened to learn of Ralph’s death. We remember all the years of carpooling Heather and Katie from our Moore Park homes to and from BSS, a routine that worked out well for all of us.
    We are so very sorry for your loss and send condolences to all of you. Lee, Nancy, Christopher and Katie.


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