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JAMES, Frank “Don” Donald

October 1, 1926 – Toronto, Ontario
December 25, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta

Don James, dearly loved husband of Mary for 48 years, passed away on December 25, 2014.

Don was a happy, outgoing friendly man, whose smile lit up a room and he made lasting friendships wherever he went. He spent the first half of his life in the Toronto area. He was particularly proud of his years with DeHavilland Aircraft, where he was involved in the production of the Twin Otter. Later he represented the SPAR division of DeHavilland, demonstrating and selling military equipment throughout the USA. His sales career took a turn when he joined Crothers in Toronto and he had many adventures selling diesel engines to ship owners and truck drivers from Newfoundland to Ontario. He was wooed away by Cummins Diesel Canada. While in their employ he profiled the highways, coast to coast in Canada, before computers came into common use. An opportunity to become the western regional sales manager for Cummins International, took the family from Orangeville ON to North Vancouver, where Don excelled in the marketing of diesel truck engines. Don turned down a promotion that would have moved the family to the USA, choosing to stay in Canada, and pursue property management which took the family to Medicine Hat and then Calgary in 1979. Don loved cars, racing boats, sailboats, aircraft, sailing, canoeing and motor homing. In his younger years, he built boats, raced hydroplanes and played football. He was a big fan of the CFL (Calgary Stampeders) and in his retirement he was manager of the Calgary Bantam Cowboys football team for several years. He also was an original member of the Pine Lake Restoration Society that worked hard and successfully to find, finance and install a system to combat the growing algae problem in the lake. He enjoyed being a part of that. Our family will remember Don for his “stories”, his kindness and desire to help others, his enthusiasm and positive attitude and his love for his family.

Besides his beloved wife, left to love and cherish him are his children; son, Michael James(Judy) of Knoxville TN, their children Michael James Jr, and Melissa Willis (Derek) and new great granddaughter Kari; daughter, Katherine Holubitsky (Jeff) of Edmonton, and their children Max Holubitsky, great granddaughter Sophie Holubitsky, Paul Holubitsky (Gwen) and new arrival great granddaughter Ellie; daughter, Linda Szekely (Rob) and their children Callum and Rowan of Calgary; and son, David James (Erin) also of Calgary. Don was very proud of his children and the adults they have become. He was predeceased by his first wife Marion Buchanan, and two of their four children, Christopher and Mary as well as parents Mary and Frank James, and sister Margaret.

In respect of Don’s wishes, there will be no Funeral Service. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, a donation directly to the Calgary Humane Society would please Don very much. The family would like to thank all departments of the Mayfair Care Centre, for the exceptional care that Don received. We are especially grateful to Jerrylyn and Dr. Hunter for their attentiveness to Don, and Dr. Belenkie and Maria of the Foothills Hospital Cardiac Clinic.

In living memory of Donald James, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: 403-241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. So sorry to hear of Don’s passing. He was a delightful man and I still have a few quotes in my notebook that he shared with me about success. May his memory live on in his wonderful family. Sincere Condolences, Kelly

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  2. Hello to all of the western James family.
    First cousin John James here sending my very deep condolences to all.
    Don and I were kindred spirits although miles apart and a very few years.
    In spite of that,like you, I shall miss him greatly.
    I just wish that I had had one more visit with Don.
    I know that hes now in a better space, just not a better place.
    Love to all,
    John James

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  3. A father sees his son nearing manhood.
    What shall he tell that son?

    “Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.”
    And this might stand him for the storms
    and serve him for humdrum monotony
    and guide him among sudden betrayals
    and tighten him for slack moments.

    “Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.”
    And this too might serve him.
    Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
    The growth of a frail flower in a path up
    has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
    A tough will counts. So does desire.
    So does a rich soft wanting.
    Without rich wanting nothing arrives.

    Tell him too much money has killed men
    and left them dead years before burial:
    the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
    has twisted good enough men
    sometimes into dry thwarted worms.

    Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
    Tell him to be a fool every so often
    and to have no shame over having been a fool
    yet learning something out of every folly
    hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
    thus arriving at intimate understanding
    of a world numbering many fools.

    Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
    and above all tell himself no lies about himself
    whatever the white lies and protective fronts
    he may use against other people.

    Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
    and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
    Tell him to be different from other people
    if it comes natural and easy being different.

    Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
    Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
    Then he may understand Shakespeare
    and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
    Michael Faraday and free imaginations
    Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
    He will be lonely enough
    to have time for the work
    he knows as his own.

    (Carl Sandberg)

    Dad- Thank you for teaching me so many things. I love you forever and always, your son – David

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  4. George & Kate Reeves :

    Our sincere condolences to all the James family. Don was a good friend in the days when we were all living in reconstituted World War II barracks which were then student housing while George and Don were attending Tri-State College in Angola, Indiana. Don and his family had a T.V. and a telephone, something most of us could not afford and they were generous in sharing those luxuries! We watched many an episode of Sgt. Bilko and Ponderosa together–or at least we think those were the shows! God rest his kind soul!

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  5. Nelda & Malcolm Sharp :

    Our sincere sympathy for your loss. We remember that Don liked this poem.

    Indian Summer by William Wilfred Campbell:

    Along the line of smoky hills
    The crimson forest stands,
    And all the day the blue-jay calls
    Throughout the autumn lands.

    Now by the brook the maple leans,
    With all his glory spread;
    And all the sumachs on the hills
    Have turned their green to red.

    Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
    Or past some river’s mouth,
    Throughout the long, still autumn day
    Wild birds are flying south.

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