With heavy hearts, we announce the peaceful passing of Lt. (N) (Ret.) Charles James “Jim” Eccles, M.A., C.D., on December 4, 2018.
Born in Fort William on January 17, 1931, Jim was a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay and the community is enriched by his life in so many ways. After graduating from St. Patrick’s High School, during which time he began his long military service in Sea Cadets, he worked in and managed Eccles Auto Body Shop for twelve years. He served his country with honour in all three branches of the service, Artillery, Air Force, and Navy. For many years, he was a Naval Lieutenant at HMCS Griffon.
In 1963, on the steps of the newly built St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he proposed to the love of his life, Dawn, and he said it was the happiest day of his life when she said yes. They had 55 happy years together. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in history from Lakehead University, and subsequently his Master of Arts in Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Jim taught history, sheet metal, small engines, auto body and welding at Northwood and Gron Morgan High Schools, shaping countless young minds. Ever the builder and teacher, he laid the groundwork for what is now the Lakehead University Alumni Association and served as its President. He built the pedestal and was the first to present the university’s mace at convocation.
Jim was a devout Roman Catholic and he assisted in the building of St. Mark’s Church. He had over 200 people on his prayer list, and he said a Hail Mary every day for each of them.
Jim was active in the Masonic Lodge Scottish Rite, where he served as Thrice-Puissant Grand Master for many years, and Lakehead Shrine Club where he was President in 2006.
In his early years, Jim was a member of the Thunder Bay Flying Club, where he spent many fun nights regaling his friends with his long stories. A master storyteller, Jim spent his later years writing novels. His vivid imagination, lively wit, and true love of reading culminated in his novel, Horatio.
Jim was an animal lover who was owned by a series of Newfoundland dogs, a giant breed reflecting the largeness of his heart. He was also owned by several cats, who could always count on a comfortable lap and delicious treats.
For many years, Jim was an active member of the Shuniah Volunteer Fire Department, where, without questioning his duty, he put himself in harm’s way for the safety of others.
Jim will be sorely missed by his wife Dawn; his daughters Ann-Louise (aka Naomi Vondell), Barbara (Ken), and Jennifer (Bob); his grandchildren Piper, James, Peter, Nico, Ky, Jordan and Connor; his sister Marguerite; and his large extended family. He was predeceased by his father Frank, his mother Blanche, and his brother Peter.
Funeral services for Jim will take place Saturday, December 8, at Jenkens Funeral Home at 11:00 AM with visitation at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. All who knew and loved Jim are welcome to attend.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Charles Jim Eccles 2018..