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Triangle surrounds with support

People of Collingwood: Barbara Hockley, executive assistant at Hospice Georgian Triangle
Barbara Hockley, executive assistant at Hospice Georgian Triangle, has been working at the hospice for 24 years with no plans to slow down. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

As generational trends shift, the need for hospice seems to be growing.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we sat down with Barbara Hockley, who has worked for the past 24 years as executive assistant at Hospice Georgian Triangle (HGT) in Collingwood.

Q: What made you get started with HGT?

A: I wasn’t working at the time, and I met up with a girl who was looking for full-time work, and she told me about it. So I applied... she got the full-time job, and I got the part-time job.

I can honestly say, I didn’t know anything about hospice when I applied for the job.

Q: You’ve been described as the “heart, soul and collective memory/archive” of HGT. How does that make you feel?

A: I feel honoured to be thought of that way.

Q: Could you take me through your average day of working at the hospice?

A: It has changed considerably over the years. When I first started, there were two staff members: an RN who did the program, co-ordinating and client assessments, and there was me, who did the administrative work. Board minutes, banking, tax receipts, things like that. It was Collingwood Community Hospice back then.

They changed the name to better reflect the area that we cover.

When Campbell House was opened, we needed more staff (again).

So, my role has really changed over the years, from doing lots of jobs to now, where I essentially assist our executive director. I look after making sure all the bills are paid.

I’m passionate about hospice.

Q: What makes you passionate about hospice?

A: It’s something that is needed here, very much. There’s a lot of families that we have supported over the years.

Q: Why is hospice care so important?

A: Nowadays, children grow up and they live in different countries, or different provinces. It’s not like the generation before us where kids grew up and got a job in the same town, nearby. Families aren’t together anymore.

So, there’s so many people who need our support because they have no family nearby. That’s why we’re so crucial. Especially in this area, because people come to retire here.

Q: What parts of your job do you find most rewarding?

A: Now, with Campbell House, I enjoy meeting all the families, and having coworkers to work with. For so long I was in an office basically alone because it was just me and the RN, and she was out of the office a lot. Now, there’s staff around all day. We celebrate birthday and anniversaries with both staff and families. We have some wonderful happy days, as well as some sad days.

Q: How do you, as a group, deal with those sad days?

A: We have support available whenever any of the staff needs it, there’s support for us too. We can talk with someone, or each other. We support one another as well.

Q: Do you have any plans to slow down or retire yourself?

A: I only work three days a week, I’m not full time. I will (retire) eventually, but I don’t really have a date in mind yet. (laughs)

Q: What hopes do you have for the future of HGT?

A: I hope that people of the community continue to support us, so we can continue to support those that need us. I hope that the funding from the ministry continues, and that we do get the funding that we need for hospice.

Q: Is there anything else you want people in Collingwood to know about you?

A: I love coming to work everyday. (laughs)

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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