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Tribute: Rosemary Barron

Long-serving chemistry employee a female N.L. naval pioneer

Campus and Community

By Dr. Ed Williams

Rosemary Barron, a long-serving employee in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, passed away Dec. 22, 2017, in St. John’s, N.L. She was 82.

Rosemary was well known in the university community and a proud member of a unique group of female university employees who got together socially and called themselves the “Creaking Bones.”

Rosemary Barron
Photo: Submitted

An article on page 7 in the Dec. 11, 1997, issue of the Gazette titled “Memorial the tie that binds – 35 years” gives the history of this unique social group.

In retirement, Rosemary assisted some of her university colleagues in maintaining the flower gardens at the Glenbrook Personal Care Home in St. John’s.

WREN Division

The Naval Reserve unit HMCS Cabot was established in 1949 with the advent of Confederation.

Rosemary enlisted as a member of the WREN Division of HMCS Cabot in 1955 and moved up through the ranks to assume the position of Officer in Charge of the WREN Division 1962-73.

In the fall of 1966, she was responsible for the formation of the Avalon Wrenette (young female) Corps, the first in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“She was the first female to apply for membership.”

Rosemary has a special place in the history of the well-known Crow’s Nest Officers Club.

She was the first female to apply for membership. She really wanted to become a member of the all-male club and was encouraged to do so by fellow male officers during a visit to St. John’s by the NATO Fleet in the mid-1960s, during which there was a lot of social events at the Crow’s Nest.

She submitted her application as SLt. R. Barron; it was initially accepted until the club realized that R. Barron was a Wren officer. Her application for membership was withdrawn. In 2002, on the club’s 60th anniversary, Rosemary was presented with an honorary life membership.

Founding member

Rosemary was a very active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Naval Association of Canada (NAC). She was a founding member in 1980.

She enjoyed attending the various social and other activities of the N.L. branch, particularly the annual outing to the Ferryland Cottage of founding president, Rex Andrews.

In October 2017 she was invited to sit at the head table of the Naval Association of Canada mess dinner held at CFS St. John’s in conjunction with the NAC’s national annual general meeting. She thoroughly enjoyed this event; this event was to be her last with her naval friends after 60 years of service and camaraderie.

Rosemary was a pioneer in the naval reserve and the naval association. Her colleagues at Memorial and in the naval community will miss her pleasant company.

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