James Routh was the pillar of his family and his community. He passed away suddenly at his home in Grafton, Ontario on July 5, 2021.
Born in Vancouver in 1946 to Randolph Routh (of Montreal) and Mary Brass (of Calgary), James was raised in Montreal in the Town of Mount Royal. The oldest of four children, James was fiercely protective of his three younger sisters.
An unfortunate accident involving an automobile when he was six years old injured his leg, requiring years of surgeries and physical rehabilitation. While this may have precluded a career in sports, James was nonetheless a force in school— someone who easily connected with people, which allowed him to make friends easily, lead student clubs, and otherwise excel as a person.
James attended Loyola College in Montreal, earning his degree in 1968. Seeking adventure, he would then spend a year abroad, working in the Caribbean and ultimately sailing on a transatlantic journey to the Azores, then Ireland, before finally returning to Canada. In 1969, his chosen career path of teaching would lead him on a different adventure, when he came across a job posting for a position in Gaspé, Quebec — an area he would have to locate on a map. The big city Montrealer would relocate and quickly make his mark in a small town.
It’s in Gaspé where James would teach at an English High School in Pointe-Navarre and ESL classes in Gaspé, and also met his future wife Helen Buckley, who attended Teachers’ College at the same time. They wed in August 1975, and remained in Gaspé until 1998, working for the Eastern Shores School Board, raising three children and teaching at the same elementary school, Belle Anse School. He served as a teacher, head teacher, principal, teachers’ union president, along with many other roles. His colleagues loved to work for him. He also had a profound impact on his students, both inside and outside the classroom.
James was a force in his community. He was one of the founders of the Gaspesie Literary Council. He believed deeply that reading was a necessity for success in life. He was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion and the local Century Lodge Masonic temple, where he served as Lodge Master. He also served as volunteer for the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA), Gaspé South Telecasting Syndicate, helped found the Malbay Festival and the Sea Scouts of Douglastown, and served as president of the Gaspé Spec newspaper.
James continued his tradition of community building after his and Helen’s 1998 move to Ontario, with active membership in the Royal Canadian Legion, most recently as Zone Commander, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Township Water Board, Police Services Board, and countless other civic-minded endeavours.
James is survived by his loving wife Helen, three children (Richard, Robert, and Melanie), and their spouses (Tonya, Kimberly and Rui), seven grandchildren (Isaiah, Emmeline, Emilia, Isabelle, Jacob, Madeline, and Riley), and two sisters (Geraldine and Peggy). He is predeceased by his sister Christine. He is sorely missed by his family, friends, former students and colleagues and all others who have been fortunate enough to have met him over the course of his life. Friends and family are invited to call at the MacCoubrey Funeral Home, 30 King St., E., Cobourg on Saturday August 28th from 12 noon – 2 pm., followed by a service at 2 pm. Covid protocols are in place, you must wear a mask, social distance and sign in. The service will be live streamed at www.MacCoubrey.com. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations in his memory be made to Camp Oochigeas: bit.ly/JamesRouth
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of James Francis Randolph
Death notice for the town of: Cobourg, Province: Ontario