Deborah Kaetz

Barbara May (Schwartz) Blouin died peacefully in the early hours of August 2, 2021 at Parkland at the Gardens in Halifax.. She spent her last day in the company of dear friends and family. She was 81 and had been ill for several years, Barbara was born on May 1, 1940 and grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. She graduated from Wellesley College near Boston and was awarded a PhD. in French Literature from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Shortly after graduating she moved to Berkeley, California and then Boulder, Colorado. She moved to Halifax with her second husband, Denault (Denny) , and her two sons, in the early 1980s amid the first influx of Buddhist followers of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. . Barbara was the author of two books: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth: Interviews with Heirs and Like a Second Mother: Nannies and Housekeepers in the Lives of Children. She also cofounded The Inheritance Project. Although she immersed herself in issues of inherited wealth, she had a laser focus on the inequities of class and social programs. Soon after arriving in Halifax, she enrolled at the Dalhousie School of Social Work and graduated from their BSW program. Her compassion for those in need of money, housing, and education among others was strong and deep. She was the author of a monograph “Women and Children Last.” Barbara was not afraid to speak out loud about how having too much money or too little could so profoundly affect one’s life. If asked, Barbara’s friends would describe her as not putting up with any kind of deceit or dishonesty, strongly opionated, unafraid of speaking her truth and very generous with those she knew and loved or causes that she cared deeply about. She donated to many environmental and humanitarian causes, but always preferred to remain anonymous when she did. Barbara was a devoted listener to Democracy Now every day on the radio at 12:00 Noon no matter where she was Barbara was predeceased by her husband Denny, her parents, Hilda and Joe Schwartz and brother, Billy. She is survived by her son, Ben Downing of New York City and by Denny’s son, Matthew Blouin of Vernon, BC. and his partner, Melissa Macrae. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Cordelia Downing, Juliette, Lucy and Bodhi Blouin,. A funeral was held August 4th and Barbara was buried in a green burial at the Sunrise Park Interfaith Cemetery. Donations may be made to Feed Nova Scotia. Originally published in the Chronicle Herald on August 21, 2021