Ralph Burnstein

Obituary of Ralph Barry Burnstein

With great sadness and love, the family of Ralph Barry Burnstein announces that he died due to dementia-related complications on January 13 in Toronto.

Barry was beloved father to his daughters, Drue Kendrick (Jason Morsink) and Robyn Burnstein, and cherished zaide to his granddaughters, Mara and Ryan Kendrick. He was devoted partner to Wendy Hallman of Waterloo. He was caring uncle to Marcus (Ruth), Matthew (Marcia), and Milo; Paula (David) and Bob; and Jonathan (Mary), and their children, who live in Ontario, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Louisiana respectively. He was the loving youngest brother to his surviving sister Rhoda Nussdorf of California (and New Orleans), and pre-deceased by his siblings Jack, Mendel (Shirley), Nanette (Harold) Giller, and Joan, his nephew Allan, and his parents Louis Burnstein and Rebecca (nee Cohen). His former wife, Barbara Burnstein, also mourns this loss.

In the late 1940s, following graduation from high school in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, with top percentile provincial scores, Barry moved to Kitchener to work in the mailroom of his uncle’s retail store, Budd’s. Working his way up, he and his cousins took over operations of stores in Kitchener, Simcoe and Guelph, and Barry devoted his intelligence and work ethic to downtown business development and revitalization. He spent many years as a director on the Boards of the Kitchener Chamber of Commerce and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He sat on the first Board of Directors that established KW Oktoberfest, as part of his commitment to increase business through tourism. As he entered his 60s, Barry pivoted to a career as a certified financial planner, which supported his joy of economics, numbers, and talking to people. He finally retired at 80, with many clients shocked to learn this vibrant, well-dressed gentleman needed to slow down.

He spent his early years in KW hanging out at The Press Club, curling and playing hockey. Later, he played golf, watched news and sports, and listened to his favourite crooners. For the last two decades, he travelled widely and relaxed at the cottage with his love, Wendy.

Barry practiced the art of joke telling regularly, usually with an accent from his own imagination. He was a kind and understanding father. He was home for dinner every night, spent many hours enjoying sports on TV with his daughters, and gave them every opportunity with lessons in ballet, gymnastics, art and piano, and summers at camp in Nova Scotia.

His family are comforted in knowing Barry has found peace and himself again.

His family wishes to thank the Memory Care and administrative staff at Revera Leaside and his medical team at Michael Garron Hospital. No funeral or visitation will be held. In memory of Barry, donations to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada or a charity of your choice would be appreciated. Messages of condolence may be posted to Erb & Good Family Funeral Home at www.erbgood.com or by calling 519-745-8445.

Share Your Memory of