William Walter Barlow

February 20, 1931July 5, 2020
Obituary of William Walter Barlow
Affectionately and widely known as “Bowtie Bill” for his trademark bowtie, Bill has been a lifelong, engaged and caring community citizen. Bill was born February 20th, 1931 in Galt at the height of the great depression, with deep family roots that trace back to pioneer days. His mother was from Rockton and his father was born in Galt. Bill attended St. Andrew’s public school, Galt Collegiate Institute and the Galt Business College. During these early years, Bill joined the Boy Scouts (joining Wolf Cubs at age 8), was a member of the Cadet Corps and then joined the 296 squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets. While a 16 year old Cub leader at Knox’s Church, he met an equally young Cub leader from Trinity Church by the name of Bernice Hedges - who was also an active volunteer, dedicated to family and passionate about the community and politics. Bill and Bernice married in 1955 at Trinity Church and, as they raised their three children Tom, Janice & Terry, they became leaders and organizers of various service clubs, community associations and cultural projects. Bill began working at his family's business at age 15 part time while attending the Galt Business College. By age 18, he was an assistant Cub Leader, a Rover Scout and because of age had left the ranks of Air Cadets but stayed on as an Air Cadet instructor. Also by this time Bill was taking on more responsibilities at Barlow Cartage. In January 1952, his father passed away - just 1 month before King George VI, and 1 and 1/2 months before his 21st birthday - and he began to co-manage, then later manage, the trucking business. During the more than 40 years he operated and owned Barlow Cartage, Bill served on local and provincial business and trade associations (including as President of the Household Furniture Movers division and later of the Heavy and Specialized Carriers division). Bill was invited to join the Junior Chamber of Commerce (also known as the Jaycees) one month after his father passed away. He served 15 years in Jaycees, serving on numerous committees and community service projects, until he was elected to the Galt City Council. Other community activities included serving on the Board of United Way and the Board of Management at Trinity Church. Bill was also an active member of the Preston-Hespeler Rotary Club and was given Honourary Membership when he became active in politics. Bill served as Alderman for the City of Galt from 1967 to 1972 and as Councillor for the City of Cambridge from 1973 to 1977. Bill was always interested in the preservation of local architecture and heritage properties and was a past President of Heritage Cambridge. Before leaving City Council, he was instrumental in establishing the Local Municipal Heritage Preservation Committee. With Bernice and his family, Bill restored an 1854 stone house near Galt Collegiate Institute which he continued to live in for rest of his life. When he retired from council, he planned to enjoy private time, but was asked by many and answered the call to serve and represent them provincially. Bill was elected Cambridge Member of Provincial Parliament in 1981 and served two terms (1981 to 1987). After leaving politics, Bill closed Barlow Cartage, wrote the Canadian Securities Course and worked briefly in the securities industry. Soon after, he went back into the Boy Scouts as the local office manager and was there until he retired in 2001 when Bernice became ill. Bill and Bernice enjoyed over 45 years of marriage before she passed away in 2001. Bernice was also very active and well-known as a community leader and, among many other things, was named both Citizen of the Year for Cambridge and a Paul Harris Fellow. Bill served for 62 years, off and on, as a Cub, Scout, and Rover leader, executive member and administrator in the scouting movement. The Rover Scout motto is “Service”. His involvement in Scouting and Rovers in particular steered him into community service. Bill’s activities with many community organizations throughout his lifetime also epitomize the Rotary Club’s motto - Service Above Self & One Profits Most Who Serves Best - and the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee) creed that Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life. For his duty and service to the community, Bill was named Cambridge Citizen of the Year for 1988 by the Jaycees, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and was made a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary and an honorary lifetime member of the Preston Hespeler Rotary Club. Bill was inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame in 2019. In recent years, Bill continued to support many organizations and was an active member of the Preston-Hespeler Probus Club (serving as its President in 2006-07) then the Cambridge Probus Club, Trinity Church, the Association of Former Parliamentarians, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario-Cambridge Branch, and Junior Chamber International as a Jaycee Senator. Predeceased by parents Albert Leslie and Veve Pearl (Riddell) Barlow, brother Frank (Mary), wife Bernice Vera (Hedges) and her sister Marion Hedges and brothers Dick (Peggy) and Harold (Elsie), Bill is survived and lovingly remembered by his children Tom, Janice and Terry, his nephew Dean and niece Leslie Barlow and their families, his nephew Gary (Margaret) and son Jeremy Hedges, his fiancée Dorothy Redwood and her family, his cousins and all their families. In accordance with current Covid-19 Provincial, Federal and the Bereavement Authority of Ontario regulations, special arrangements have been made to accommodate the safety and convenience of everyone. Access to the facility will be controlled and all visitors will be required to wear a mask, to provide the funeral home personnel with their name and telephone number upon arrival, and to observe physical distancing measures while on the premises. Funeral visitation will be held at COUTTS FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION CENTRE (96 St. Andrews Street, Cambridge, 519-621-1650) on Saturday, July 11 from 2 - 4 pm and 6 - 8 pm and Sunday, July 12 from 2 - 4 pm and 6 - 8 pm. A drive through funeral visitation will also be held at the Coutts Funeral Home on Monday, July 13 from 4 - 7:30 pm. Upon arrival to the scheduled events, funeral home staff will provide complete directions. Due to current restrictions, a private family funeral service will take place and be live-streamed on the Coutts Funeral Home Facebook page on Tuesday, July 14 at 2:00 pm. Interment will follow in Trinity Anglican Cemetery. As expressions of sympathy, donations to any of the numerous charities Bill supported (including Trinity Anglican Church, United Way Waterloo Region Communities, The Cambridge Community Foundation and The Terry Fox Foundation) or to the charity of your choice would be appreciated. Deepest gratitude to all who enriched Bill’s life and his journey home.

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Past Services

Saturday, July 11, 2020


Sunday, July 12, 2020


Monday, July 13, 2020

Drive Through Visitation

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Funeral Service