“I’m rooted now,” says Barbara Kersey as she discusses her foundations in the Windsor Region. She’s more than 100 years old and she’s lived here practically all her life, aside from her earliest days in Nova Scotia and her toddler years in Scotland.
Her roots, as they say, go deep in Windsor.
Over the decades, Barbara had a successful career in business and spent time working with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, while her husband Les led the Windsor Theatre Guild. They both had a passion for the arts and they spent many happy days in support of the community in that regard.
People in the health advocacy community may also know Barbara’s name in relation to Multiple Sclerosis and its devastating impact, for her sister-in-law suffered from it. Barbara watched her loved one deteriorate quickly and decades later, when Barbara was in her early 90s, she wrote a book about her life and devoted a chapter to MS, for the impact of that disease still stands out in her mind.
Politics was also something she felt passionate about, and she ran for provincial office under the Bill Davis ticket in the 1970s. Though she was unsuccessful, it was a wonderful learning experience and, in retrospect, she thankful she didn’t win, for the life of an elected official is a busy one and her family life may have suffered.
“I think that was my most important job,” she says, considering her role as a mother of three; she now has grandchildren and great-grandchildren and agrees that family might be the greatest legacy of all.
It’s early June – Senior’s Month – as Barbara reflects back on a long lifetime, sharing some of her insights and experience from her home at The Village of Aspen Lake in Windsor. The pride she has in her family stands out; a successful career in business and volunteerism is wonderful, but a family of kind people that have grown in love and carved their own path in life is something special.
Now her life is quiet. She looks forward to family visits and conversations with her loved ones and she enjoys her time with the team members in the Village. She reflects back on the story of her life she published 10 years before titled Was I Ever Lucky, and suggests she might have done a better job if she waited a bit longer and had a bit more time to reflect. Her eyesight is failing now, however, so she’s glad she put her thoughts down when she did.
“A lot of people say ‘I could write a book,’ but they don’t do anything about it,” she says, but they should.
There is a lot of wisdom to be found in a lifetime of experience, and it’s a gift to have Barbara’s to learn from.