James Donald Duffus died peacefully on September 2nd. He is survived by his children Jamie, Sandra, Wendy (Ian) and Scott (Scott); his grandchildren Amanda (Chris), Fawn (Nathan), Kevin, Daniel (Marnie), Jeff (Nicole), Craig, Duncan and Shannon; his sister-in-law Kay Carlson; former son-in-law Wes; nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 65 years, Alice, sisters Margaret and Betty, sisters and brothers-in-law Millie and Carl Anderson, Thelma and Jim Mableson, Jack Shea & Roy Carlson.
Jim grew up on a farm outside Keewatin on the Winnipeg River and maintained the work ethic of a farmer his entire life. He was the ultimate handyman, confident taking on all tasks mechanical, electrical or plumbing. He continued to use these skills for years keeping the Duffus Road property in optimal condition. In 2002, he donated 140 acres from the family property to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for preservation as a natural area, the first donation of land to the NCC in the region.
During the Second World War, Jim served with a Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve division out of Winnipeg. After being discharged in 1945, he joined the Canadian Pacific Railway as a Stoker, moving up to Engineer prior to leaving the CPR and starting his insurance business in 1962. For twelve years he worked out of the house, before relocating to Keewatin for another ten years as Eclipse Insurance Agency.
He met the love of his life, Alice, at Beatty Park in Keewatin and they were married in the summer of 1949, a union that lasted for 65 years until Alice’s passing in January 2015. He was her devoted primary support and caregiver during the latter years of her life.
Jim served as Returning Officer for the Kenora riding, Chairman of the West Kenora District Housing Authority and was appointed to the Advisory Council of Ontario Housing Commission. Despite long hours and extensive travel throughout the riding, elections also provided many happy times working alongside Gerry Sedgwick.
In retirement, he began wood working. What began with toy trains and piggy banks for the grandchildren grew to a china cabinet, a rolltop desk, adirondack chairs and settees. He perfected a camp crib board for friends, family and sale at Geppettos. By the time he hung up his templates, over 140 boards of various designs were being played. He was not afraid to take on new challenges. Learning to navigate a computer in his 70’s, Jim had another way to stay in touch with family and friends. And his iPhone … well that opened up the world of FaceTime with his grandkids! Fun for all.
Of all the cars that Jim owned through the years – and there were many – his favourite was his last, his fifth “last new car”, a Chevrolet Volt. He loved the economy and comfort of his electric car.
Jim lived an independent life at his condominium in Keewatin until his move into Benedickson apartments earlier this year. The family would like to recognize the care and treatment Jim received in 2013 at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The family would also like to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr. Vaudry and the LWDH staff for their compassion and care over the past few years, and to Dr. Cameron for his visitations. Much appreciation to the quilters in Keewatin for the quilt received in hospital. And heartfelt thanks are extended to Janis Robertson and the Benedickson support staff for their extraordinary support during Jim’s months with them.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held 1:30 pm, Tuesday September 12th at Alcock Funeral Home in Keewatin.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lake of the Woods District Hospital Foundation (www.lwdhf.com), the Nature Conservancy of Canada (www.natureconservancy.ca), or a charity of choice. Online condolences can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org. ALCOCK FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES (Highway 17 West Keewatin) in care of arrangements, 547-6000.