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During World War II, William (Reg) Barber and his wife, Barbara, played roles in the battle for the skies over Europe.

William Barber was a Royal Canadian Air Force navigator, and Barbara was a member of Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

After the war, they moved to the Twin Cities.

William Barber of Edina, a certified public accountant who liked to quote Shakespeare, died Dec. 13 in Bloomington.

He was 85.

Barber grew up in Summerberry, Saskatchewan, playing hockey. Soon after the war began in Europe in 1939, he joined the RCAF and was based in England.

He flew for the 409th Squadron in the Mosquito night fighter, known for its speed, but also for its fire danger, because it was made of plywood.

Barber and his wife-to-be met when pilots came around to meet ground support folks, like Barbara, who plotted allied and enemy flights.

Their courtship was sparked at a dance. In 1944, they married just outside London to the sound of air raid sirens and the thudding of German bombs in the distance.

"Because the all-clear was sounded when we left the church, he said we would have a long marriage," his wife said.

Not long after their marriage, he and his squadron were sent to France.

Reunited at war's end, the couple moved to Canada, where he graduated from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and became an accountant.

After working jobs in the United States and Canada, the family settled in Edina in the early 1950s, and he became a certified public accountant.

"He was very good in business," said his wife. "He was very serious, but underneath, he had a real soft spot. He was very sentimental.

"He wasn't stodgy. He liked to dance."

She recalled when they were first married, she was surprised at the technically inclined flight lieutenant's penchant for literature and at his ability to quote Shakespeare from memory.

After they moved to Edina, he worked briefly as a comptroller at the former Northrup-King Seed Co. He then joined the Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. accounting firm and established a clientele of savings and loans.

In 1973, he started his own accounting firm, W.R. Barber and Associates, and later merged with KMG Main and Hurdman.

Barber's son, William Jr. of Edina, said his father was a likeable man who was the "Pied Piper" for all the children in the family up at their lake place.

He once was president of the Minnesota Society of CPAs and was a Shriner, serving as the group's treasurer.

He finished his career at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell after KMG Main and Hurdman merged with it.

He retired in the late 1980s and enjoyed golf and boating and spending winters in Florida.

His daughter Carol died in 1997.

In addition to his wife of 64 years, and his son, he is survived by his daughter, Susan Christenson of Denver, Colo.; sisters, Amy Gooding of Calgary, Alberta, and Bernice Beresh of Regina, Saskatchewan, and nine grandchildren.

Services have been held.