Jim Roach was born in Norton, N.B. on April 13, 1949 and passed away in Brandon, Man. on Feb. 23, 2014.
He started elementary school in Fredericton, N.B. and moved to Fort Frances, Ont. in 1956, where he completed both elementary and high school.
From an early age, Jim was known for his sociability and sense of enterprise. An avid curler as a teenager, he was part of the team that won the Northern Ontario School Curling Championship in 1968.
Later, he went on to play with Al Hackner’s successful team from Northwestern Ontario.
Jim started work in banking in late 1968. He spent some time at Lakehead University, then followed in the tradition of several of his paternal male ancestors with a 20-year career as a Canadian Pacific Railroad trainman throughout the 1970s and ’80s.
He worked the northern Lake Superior route between White River and Thunder Bay, enjoying homes and building lifelong friendships in Schreiber, Marathon, and Thunder Bay.
Jim also liked to travel–a highlight going to cheer on Al Hackner’s team at the Brier in Scotland in the early 1980s.
From late 1989 until 1992 was a time of pursuing a major life dream—he left the CPR to create, own, and operate a sporting goods store in Thunder Bay, Ont. called “COACH ROACH, Curling Supplies Plus.”
Jim sponsored and supported local sports teams in the Thunder Bay community during those years.
In late February, 1993, Jim moved on to Brandon, where he spent his last 21 years.
In addition to curling, Jim played golf and loved his thriving, balcony gardens. He also enjoyed a fine rum or scotch, playing pool and cards, and was a mean Cribbage player.
He read widely and constantly. “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein was his favourite book. Jim noted aphorisms and left behind small notebooks full of sayings. Three from his collected quotations that characterize his own living are as follows:
From Canadian Henri Bergeron: “. . . to exist is to change; to change is to mature; to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly;”
From George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
From Henry Van Dyke: “Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.”
Before he became ill with pulmonary fibrosis, Jim was involved in events management pursuits in Brandon, and also worked at a 1960s specialty shop.
A single man, Jim had several enduring friendships throughout his life. He spoke his truth plainly and frequently asked piercing questions of those he held dear. He dared to realize some of his dreams and was generous, including funding unfortunate children through global sponsorship.
In his last years, he became almost completely apartment-bound and was fond of anti-heroes such as Walt White. He never lost his sense of humour, however, exhorting his own family physician to become more like British physician Doc Martin, in his house calls, mere days before Jim died at home.
Jim is survived by his sisters, Margaret (Doug) Chapman and Beth Michalska; and his older brother, Graham Roach.
He also leaves behind his beloved nephews and nieces, Evan (Rose) Chapman, Carmen (Tyler) Gagnon, Meara Michalska, and Andrew (Melissa) Chapman, and their children, Madisson, Logan, and Luke.
Jim was predeceased by our parents, Bill and Eileen; and our brothers, David and Wylie.
Friends are invited to share in a family graveside service that will be held Monday, June 30, 2014 at 11 a.m. in Riverview Cemetery in Fort Frances.
In memoriam donations may be made to Plan Canada, 245 Eglinton Ave. E., Suite 300, Toronto, Ont., M4P 0B3 or to Hull’s Haven Border Collie Rescue c/o 88 McAdam St., Winnipeg, Man., R2W 0A4.
Online condolences may be offered at www.brockiedonovan.com