Grinsted, Barry Jack

October 23, 2017 - 4:31pm
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Merritt, B.C.

It is with bitter sweet sorrow that the last two remaining members of this generation of the Grinsted clan, Daryl Grinsted of Edmonton Alberta, and Kevin Grinsted of Yellowknife NT share with you the news of the death of Barry Jack Grinsted, October 18th, 2017 at the Gillis House in Merritt BC.

Barry endured the burden of stage four pancreatic cancer for almost a year. With the help of Dr. Ross and his pharmacist Kurt Thom of Black’s Pharmacy, Barry’s journey was made much easier. There were many challenges made easier by wonderful people like David Quinn, Brenda, the good people at Ask Wellness, the Department of Social Services, Gillis House and finally, Alternatives, Funeral and Cremation Services in Kamloops.

In his youth, Barry survived a catastrophic brain injury when his friend lost control of the vehicle due to high speed and other contributing circumstances. Barry’s side of the car impacted with the Colletville Bridge on August 15th 1969 at 1:00 am. Barry suffered extensive bodily injuries and nearly died, but after 21 days in a coma he began the long recovery process which lasted many years. The bones healed and fused but profound brain Injury as we know affects people in unexpected ways.

His life now forever altered by this senseless catastrophe, the new Barry rebuilt what he could out the shattered pieces of his life. He found love and lost it on at least two occasions. In spite of the pain of these partings he always believed in love, meaning and caring. Barry co parented for time during one of these relationships and assisted in the development of two foster children during that time.

Barry loved books, science, travel and discovery. He was a spiritual man, but private. He chose the Baha’I faith shortly after both his parents in the 1980s. He assisted many faith groups, volunteering to serve in various capacities. He saw each person as fellow travelers in life and respected all creeds, colours and religious traditions.

He felt sheltered here in Nicola Valley; he knew and trusted the people here. His life mingled with many others over the years. During the bedside vigil many shared how they were helped over the decades by Barry’s kind, nonjudgmental, mindful presence. He listed himself on facebook as “Self-employed”. Although he trained as a massage therapist, due to his brain injury and the stigma attached to it and due to his infirmities, steady work eluded him.

During the vigil Barry shared how he had often lived in fear. He was always wary of the stranger, as people sometimes preyed upon him. He could go nowhere else to live because of the abuse he experienced trying to find “good people” in new places. So he lived as much of his life as he could with the “good people” of Merritt, where it seems almost everyone his brothers meet “knew him” trusted him and are sad to see him gone.

Barry would probably like you to think “good thoughts” for his cousins Kenny & Francine McConnel of Oliver and their children, Amanda & Jenney, his niece Shannon of Seattle, cousin Rick McConnel and his wife Dracy and their children, cousin Wendy Mitch of Surrey BC, Alfred Hills family of White Rock, Uncle David McConnel of Merritt, Aunt Sharon Hubby of Maple Falls Washington, US and nieces Jenny and Tracy of Airdrie Alberta, Kevin & Janet Grinsted of Yellowknife and their children Roya and Kevin, and Daryl Grinsted of Edmonton.

The two brothers want you to know this gentle man has died. He gave what little he had to “Ask Wellness”, the thrift store in Merritt, and to anyone who needed what was left. Our family is diminished, yet it grew during the vigil. We saw the unseen reverberations of his life in other good people’s live. Both those who are family and friends, and those who were strangers to us, were a part of Barry’s life as he was a part of theirs. Together their, sharing, talking, laughing ….helped the healing begin. Some relationships extended over 5 decades and into the lives of their children.

The two brothers could not think of way to justly address the need for sharing and closure as a result of his death in the time at hand. We would like you all to attend a celebration of life in 2018 in Merritt where a proper sendoff of all Barry’s families can convene, reminisce and celebrate. Stay tuned please your presence is requested most humbly and with love.

The two remaining brothers would ask that you donate what you can to nearest Soup Kitchen/Homeless Shelter in whatever fashion or amount you are able. Barry himself steadfastly volunteered at the Anglican Church soup kitchen and others in Merritt for almost 17 years. He was an excellent “self-employed” dishwasher, fund raiser, co-worker, snow shoveler, server and volunteer.

Barry was a soul whose body and operating system were altered by events outside of his control, but still he contributed more than he took. He focused his capacities to help his fellow less fortunate brothers and sisters in the Human family. This was his joy, his purpose and his duty.

We think he was a wonderful example for all of us in being “self-employed”.

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