People don't know what to say to a person who experiences the loss of two parents so closely in time. However, friends and family who knew Mom and Dad so well knew instinctively that Dad without Mom was like skiing without snow.
Dad was born in Vancouver and was a true westcoaster. He embraced the lifestyle and spent many of his teenage years hiking up Grouse Mountain and skiing down. Living in Point Grey, this involved taking the streetcar to the ferry, riding the ferry, transferring to a street car, and then hiking up the mountain. He would stay in the Tyee ski cabin on the hill and on a good day, get in 4-5 runs. Now that is what I call passion! In fact, passion is one of the words I would consider when thinking about Dad.
He pursued his interests with passion. Of course, his life-long passion was Mom, and he always wanted her to feel safe and secure.
Dad was an accomplished athlete throughout life. In high school, he played basketball, where his team competed and won several championship games, including Provincial High School Title. As a Tyee ski racer, he competed and placed in many races. Dad continued playing sports during his University years, where he received his degree in Commerce at UBC.
After marrying Mom in 1955, they moved to Toronto, where he began his life-long career in the lumber business. His competitiveness shined with Cooper-Widman and after a few years, and one child, Christie, he was transferred with the company to Edmonton.
Along with thriving in business there, Dad competed with the Eskimo Ski Club, the businessman's volleyball league and played competitive handball. In 1964, with one more child in tow, me, they were transferred to Vancouver. In West Vancouver, they build their dream home.
Dad joined the Semour Golf club and took up golf with a passion. In the winter, he re-connected with the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club, and coached in the Nancy Greene Ski League. He developed and re-kindled many friends through skiing, as well, he installed a love of competing and for the outdoors with his children.
Once Jamie arrived, his family was complete and we settled int a great life of skiing, holidays in the Okanogan, fishing trips and swimming at the beach. Dad sent time with each of us, encouraging us to pursue our own passions and supporting our decisions throughout life.
He was tough when he needed to be, and was proud and full of praise when it was warranted, as well, he like to tease us, even though it sometimes went a bit too far, he always meant well.
Retirement for Dad meant starting his own lumber business in Qualicum, but also balancing his lifestyle by living on a golf course and playing golf at least 4 times a week. His work allowed him to keep in touch with his industry friends and augment his income to allow Mom and him to travel during non-gof months.
His slower pace in life allowed time to see his grandchildren grow and develop and he took pleasure in following their academic and athletic pursuits.
After a massive stroke in 2007, Dad had an amazing recovery, which we all knew was due to his inner strength. One of the first things he told me when he could speak again was that he wanted to live to make sure that Mom would be looked after.
He never complained about his stroke and the fact that he would never swing a club again, and he settled into the routine at the Gardens Care Home. Mom and Dad enjoyed the great entertainment, happy hours, and the gardening club during his time there. He continued to be an avid reader and golf/hockey watcher. Last summer, he discovered that he could drive his wheelchair all the way home, and he did so every sunny day. Unless Mom was on the golf course that day, then, he would show up there! Mom was so pleased to see him, and they had a great time with this. He put on more miles on that wheelchair last summer than I did on my motorcycle!
The last few months, Dad was not well, and he seemed to have lost the twinkle in his blue eyes when Mom was diagnosed with cancer.
We know his is in a much better pace now, either trying to talk Mom down a black diamond ski run, or teeing off in a couples tournament where here are no sand traps or water hazards.
Big Jim, we love you and miss you.