James Stephens MacLachlan
Passed away peacefully from cancer on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at Harmony Hills Care Community in Toronto in his 90th year. Beloved husband of the late Helen Barbara (nee MacKay) for over 61 years. Caring father of Catherine (Ken Smith), Stephen (Janet), Stanley (Viivi Rita Piil) and Linda (B.J. McKeever). Cherished grandfather (“Poppa”) of Christena (Jamie Manley), Ian (Anna), Duncan (Kathryn Exon Smith), Colin (Annette), Stuart, Sandy (Drew Marshall), Jillian (Arjun Lombar- di-Singh), James (Liz), Sarah (Nick Hutcheson), Alec (Qwyn), Joseph, Mary Siobhan and Matti. Great- grandfather of Gwyneth, Nathan, Simon, Louisa and Arya. The “circle of life” has continued since Jimmie’s passing with the birth of 3 additional great grand-daughters. Sandy & Drew welcomed Clara on May 13 2017, Sarah and Nick welcomed Catherine on August 7 2017, and Alec and Qwyn welcomed Ella on September 27 2017. Jimmie was also an inimitable Uncle Jimmie to numerous nieces and nephews, to many of their offspring, and as well to many others.
Predeceased by his parents Alexander Hugh and Catherine Cullena (nee MacInnes) MacLach- lan and siblings Alexander (Gladys), Peter, Malcolm (Betty), Annie (William Russell), and Sadie (Russell MacLachlan). Being the youngest and losing his father while an infant, Jimmie was ex- tremely close to his mother and all of his siblings growing up; he felt that Peter in particular stood as close to being a father as anyone might desire. Jimmie is survived by Peter’s wife Josie of West Bay Centre, Cape Breton.
Born in West Bay Centre, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Jimmie grew up on a farm & loved the hard work & adventure there. He was sure life could not be better anywhere else. At 15, he started to enjoy periodic long bicycle treks across the gravel roads between West Bay Centre and St George’s Channel to visit a friend. That friend happened to be a girl. The girlfriend happened to be Helen MacKay and life changed a wee bit for Jimmie. Soon Helen moved to Halifax for a job. Jimmie stayed working in Cape Breton. Time passed & Helen moved to Toronto. Soon Jimmie made what proved to be one the riskier decisions of his young life; he rolled the dice and left his much-loved Cape Breton home to follow Helen to Toronto.
In Toronto, while trying to keep an eye on Helen, Jimmie worked as a lineman and then a de- livery truck driver for Eaton’s. Ultimately he was hired on by the Canadian National Railroad (CNR) as a Brakeman, steady employment that allowed Jimmie and Helen to get married on September 1, 1950. During these Toronto years, Jimmie and Helen raised their family with a strong emphasis on school, various sports and hobbies, attending church, and getting together with Annie & Bill’s and Malcolm & Betty’s growing families. Summer vacations were spent at a farmhouse property they purchased in 1961, overlooking the Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Breton. This provided the con- tinuing link to home that Jimmie and Helen so cherished. Over the decades, Jimmie and Helen developed lasting relationships with their nieces & nephews, both in Toronto and “down home”. Nurturing family relationships was extremely important to them, and they de ned family in the broadest sense.
Jimmie had a 36 year career with the CNR, progressing to Conductor and then Rules Instruc- tor. During retirement, six months in Toronto were followed by roughly the same in Cape Breton. Sometimes Helen & Jimmie enjoying driving to Florida for colder winter months, even bringing along sister Anne & sisters-in-law Betty, Annie & Dolena. Jimmie liked to be surrounded by wom- en! Life was good as Jimmie with Helen enjoyed helping their family as it grew with marriages, the arrival of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Helen passed away on May 17 2012 after a short but valiant struggle with cancer. Their co- hesive and loving marriage had worked so well, but Helen’s loss proved to be very challenging for Jimmie. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved rst to Donway Place (20 months), then Harmony Hills (6 months) as his care needs increased. We are grateful to the staff at each residence, especially Norma at Harmony Hills. Our very warmest thanks go to Dad’s “angels” Julie & Amabelle, whose kind, cheery & tirelessly devoted attention brightened and comforted his nal eight months.
Jimmie openly acknowledged his life was blessed, fruitful and happy, but he was ready to take Helen’s lead and follow her once again. Who would fault an inclination that had worked so well before?
Cremation has occurred and a private family gathering took place at the Donalda Club in Toronto on December 27 2016. A funeral service will be held at Black River Church in Dundee, Cape Breton on Saturday October 7 2017 at 11 am with fellowship afterwards at the St. George’s Channel Hall. Jim- mie’s ashes will be laid to rest beside Helen in the MacKay Cemetery in St. George’s Channel, Cape Breton. In lieu of owers, a donation may be considered to a charity of your choice, the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation (30 Bond St., Toronto, M5B 1W8) or the MacKay Cemetery Association (3632 West Bay Highway, R.R. 2, West Bay, Nova Scotia, B0E 3K0).