Jim was a fisherman. From the moment he was born on September 9, 1956, until he passed on June 4, 2023, he was always looking forward to the next time his hook hit the water. Growing up in Hoyt, he learned the value of hard work and would get up early (with a determined focus) to finish the farm chores or work in the woods, so he could get fishing in Dam Brook or Shin Creek with his brothers. His mother was quick to cook up the days catch for the family: parents Walter and Margaret (predeceased), siblings Harold (Connie), Dave (Shelley) and Sharon (Darrell Shannon), aunts Florence (Hubert Reid) and Janet (Claude Paquin) and Uncle Marshall (predeceased).
On the way to high school in 1973, Dawn (Gillett) caught his eye, and stole his seat on the bus, but before committing he wanted to test her skills on the water. Despite poor footwear choices, her character and spirit shone through on numerous trips to streams, rivers and lakes and Jim knew that he had found the love of his life. When they married in the fall of 1978 and his family grew to include Dawn’s parents (Carl and Rowena Gillett) and several new fishing buddies in her brothers, Mark (Gail), Dean (Debbie), Wayne (Rachall), and sister, Susan (Tony Little). Jim’s love for Dawn was evident and undeniable, but he did not display his devotion with large gestures. Instead he displayed his devotion to her every day in the dependability and consistency of his actions.
With the birth of their daughter, Kristin (Banks), he grew a new fishing partner to take in his handmade boat to Victoria Lake or to the camp he built with his brother and friend on the South Branch Stream. Although they never broke any fishing records, he enjoyed that priceless time as only a father and daughter can. To say he was proud of her would be an extreme understatement; there are no words to express how special she was to him. With the addition of her husband Vernon, the fishing trips became fishing adventures and they traveled to Labrador, British Columbia and the Caribbean. Jim was happiest when he was landing a salmon in Northern BC and might even crack a quick lopsided smile. Jim valued the relationship he had with his son-in-law and appreciated being involved in building a camp on the Dungarvon River. To keep them both busy when not fishing, Jim peppered the Dungarvon bogs with tree stands for hunting moose. Many, many weekends were spent reviewing pictures from trail cameras and analyzing what animals had been photographed in different areas.
Jim’s favorite fishing buddies came in 2011 and 2013 when his grandsons Sutter and Nolan were born. Although he loved to watch them play hockey, he was even happier spending time with them in a boat or on a river somewhere in the woods. Jim would often display his love of the boys and abundant patience when changing flies (repeatedly), retrieving stuck hooks, or letting them net a fish. They meant the world to him. They have developed his love of the sport and are quick to pick up the rods he gave them to join Grampie on the water.
Those who would like to share a memory are welcome to drop into his home on June 16 from 2:00 to 4:00 at 30 Tessie Court in Beaver Dam. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Atlantic Salmon Federation or the charity of their choice.