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Collage of two photos of George and Barbara Rooke: the left photo, in black and white, shows the couple on their wedding day; the right photo is a current one of them cutting a cake together
Photos courtesy of George and Barbara Rooke

George and Barbara Rooke

For this Fonthill, Ontario, couple it was a match made in music. And almost 65 years later, they’re still in tune

George (BASc 1949): Having been connected with one choir or another most of my life, I joined U of T’s All-Varsity Mixed Chorus in 1947. There, the secretary, a good- (and sensible-) looking brunette, caught my eye and never left it. It turned out that Barbara was in Nursing, a faculty bereft of males, and I in Engineering with a scarcity of females. Fortunately, she tolerated my taking her to a free concert, and even invited me to her Nursing formal dance. We continue to share a love of music, and have been in the Fonthill United Church choir for 59 years. Four years ago, we moved to Lookout Ridge Retirement Residence, still in Fonthill, Ontario, where we sing in the Silver Sound choir, and relax to all the classical music we can find on radio and TV. We have had no spats yet and probably won’t start now.

Barbara (BA VIC 1945, BScN 1949): My first memory of George is of a good-looking guy handing out Mozart’s Requiem at my first Chorus practice. After we graduated, he headed for work in Welland, Ontario, and I went to a Red Cross Outpost Hospital on St. Joseph’s Island near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, to fulfill my obligation for a bursary. During that year, we got better acquainted by Royal Mail: six days a week, four cents a stamp! We began our our married life in 1950 in a makeshift apartment in an older house in Welland before moving into our family home in Fonthill in 1953. I worked for the Welland County Health Unit, quit that job to raise our family, and used my nursing skills on our children and my parents. None of our three children attended U of T, but two met their future partners at university, as did my parents. Also, there is a three-generation tradition of the girl taking the lead!

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