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Grandpa James Leaves the ‘World’ Stadium

June 6, 2012

On Tuesday, June 5, a dear family friend, Raymond James, passed away at the age of 96. “Grandpa James” as he was affectionately called by so many people outside of the scope of his actual biological grandchildren was an avid sports fan, loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend to all.

I first spoke with Grandpa James when I started dating my husband, Jeff, who already had a close bond with him, going on sporting outings with the man. Immediately, Grandpa was so welcoming to me and gave me a big hug. Those hugs were something I enjoyed every time I saw him.

Raymond lived life like so many of us want to. He loved in a big way and laughed in that same manner. He was an adventurous man who, in his earlier years, worked as a driver for the Toronto Transit Commission (need I say more, these employees have the patience of saints!) and enjoyed some travel. I remember my husband and I telling him how on our honeymoon Jeff lost his wedding ring in the ocean in Hawaii. Grandpa James laughed and told us that he too had lost his wedding ring in the rough Hawaiian waters! We joked about some lucky shark out there wearing these rings!

I remember going to his house and seeing him outside chopping wood at the age of 94! This is the kind of independence I think so many of us hope we will have in our later years. I remember him whipping out a $20 bill from his wallet and saying he didn’t know we were coming by so didn’t have time to buy us a baby gift. As if…what man in his 90s is out buying baby gifts! So thoughtful!

Raymond and I shared a love of sweets. My Mom is an amazing baker and Jeff and I would take Grandpa some of her desserts occasionally and watch him eat them down at lightening speed while watching the Toronto Maple Leafs lose another game of hockey!

Recently, Grandpa James began experiencing some health issues. We no longer live in the same community as him, but we did send a card to let him know we were thinking of him. I mailed it on Saturday. I fear it never came in time for him to read the note I wrote to him to let him know how much he meant to us. The last sentence of my note said”…You are such a wonderful man and we are lucky to call you friend.”

Rest in peace Grandpa James.





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