Obituary of James O’Brien
James (Jim) Francis O’Brien died on January 28, 2019 at the Houses of Providence. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 55 years, Helen (2018). Jim will always be remembered by his much loved children, Stephen (Lia) and Lynne (Jeff) and his cherished grandchildren, Will, Meghan, Sara and Noah. Jim will be deeply missed by his sisters, Lois and Irene, in-laws Jim, Dorothy, Anne and Dona, and his many nieces and nephews across the country. Jim is predeceased by his parents, Tom and Emma, and by his siblings Gerald, Tressa, Donald and Doug.
Jim was born on a farm just south of Regina, Saskatchewan on July 3, 1927. He was the fifth of seven children and grew up during the Great Depression. Life could not have been easy for Jim and his family, but the stories of childhood told by him and his siblings displayed the values they carried with them through their lives – the importance of faith, family, hard work, service to community and always having a sense of humour.
Jim worked for The Bank of Nova Scotia for 43 years, starting out as a teller and working up through the ranks. He spent time at various branches in small communities in Western Canada as well as Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg before finally ending up at the Bank’s head office in Toronto. He also spent 5 years in international banking, working in Jamaica. He made many friends in the Bank over the years and was grateful for all of the opportunities it provided him.
Jim met Helen on a blind date while he was home on a vacation from Jamaica. They were married in Ottawa in June 1963. Jim and Helen spent time in Regina and Winnipeg before settling in Toronto where Jim was involved in many volunteer activities, often connected to his children and his church community, Blessed Trinity. He was the person who shovelled and flooded the community skating rink on bitter cold nights, peeled apples for pies for bake sales, counted the collection money, chaired the local St. Vincent de Paul and everything in between. He worked tirelessly and without complaint to serve his family and community.
Jim and Helen retired to Guelph in 2000. Jim loved living in Guelph and being part of the Village by the Arboretum community. He learned to cook (Helen thought his interest came a bit late in life) and square-dance among other new skills, and he was always the person his neighbours called on to fix a light or help with a chore.
Jim had a serious stroke in June 2010 which left him partially paralyzed. He moved to the Houses of Providence for the last years of his life where he could be cared for, while staying close to Helen, who was suffering from dementia, and his children. He showed tremendous grace, courage and dignity over these years as he dealt with many challenges. During his time at Providence, he made countless friends with his humour and charm and he will have a lasting impact on all those fortunate to know him.
The family is forever grateful to Jim’s caregivers. He was cared for with dedication, love, kindness and compassion for almost 8 years by Emma and Joy. They were supported by many others, including Mary Jane, Marie, Joyce and Melanie. The family would like to express its gratitude to all of the staff at Providence who went out of their way for Jim, particularly, Janet, Claudia, Stennette, Cynthia, Sharon, Helen, Elsa and Adolpho. Each of you held a special place in Jim’s heart.
The family has requested that any donations in memory of Jim be made to Providence Healthcare.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de James
O’Brien 1927 2019..
Décès pour la Ville:Toronto, Province: Ontario