Remembering Barb Bromley, Yellowknife nurse, activist and mother

Barb Bromley, a woman who dedicated her life to making the North a better place, died on Sunday night in Yellowknife. She was 88.

'She is the quintessential volunteer,' according to her citation for the Order of Canada

Barb Bromley, a woman who dedicated her life to making the North a better place, passed away on Sunday night in Yellowknife. She was 88.

Bromley was a nurse, a business owner, a senior's advocate, an active member of her church and a tireless community volunteer. She was also a mother of four, a grandmother and a great grandmother.

"She left a tremendous legacy for us," says Esther Braden, her friend for more than 50 years. "For her friends and her family, we can just remember her best for this and carry on in the kind of strength and the community service that she showed and provided Yellowknife for so many years."

Bromley first arrived in Yellowknife when it was still just an outpost in 1948.

Working as a nurse, she visited many communities and started an immunization clinic. She travelled as far as Kugluktuk and to bush camps all over the N.W.T. on medical evacuations.

"She had quite a range of experience," says her son, Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley. "She somehow engaged people."

Disaster struck in 1967 when Barbara's husband Peter died in a canoe accident at age 41. She was just 40; her children were teenagers.

She took over the family hardware business, Bromley and Son, for several years before returning to nursing in the mid-1970s, this time working in home care.

For over 20 years, Allan Falconer worked with her to get better seniors facilities in Yellowknife.

"When she made her mind that this was the direction that she wanted to go, she obviously went about bringing people on side that shared her vision and got inspired by her," Falconer says. 

Bromley was awarded the Order of Canada in 2000 for her tireless volunteer work and dedication to her community. Her citation for the award began with the simple phrase: "She is the quintessential volunteer."

A celebration of her life is scheduled to take place Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. at Sir John Franklin High School.