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HAGEL, Rev. James Michael

September 11, 1931 – Beiseker, Alberta
December 22, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Rev. James Michael Hagel of Calgary, AB, passed away on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at the age of 87 years.

Rev. James attended St. Joseph Seminary of Edmonton, AB and was ordained to the Priesthood, May 23, 1959. He served many parishes in the Calgary Diocese and served on a three year Mission in Malawi, Africa.

He is survived by his brother, Leonard and his wife Lucille his sister-in-law, Jean Hagel of Vernon, BC; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Rev. James was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Frances Hagel; his brothers, Louis (Anna Mary), Edward (Julia) Frank, Raymond (Eva) Patrick, Donald and Rev. Martin ; and his sisters, Mary (John Zacker) and Selma, and Helen (Glen Armitage).

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Mary’s Cathedral (219 – 18th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral Mass will be concelebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral (219 – 18th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 11:00 Graveside Service to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Reception to follow at St. Mary’s Hall. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Rev. James Hagel, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W., Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Father Hagel, fondly remembering sharing our cookies with you at Providence just so recently and how much you enjoyed yourself! May you now rest in Gods Goodness and Peace!
    Pray for us.
    Chic and Marie Paolini

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  2. I got word yesterday that Uncle James had passed away – some of you may have known him as Rev. James Hagel (not the young one). Although it was hard news to receive, it was not altogether surprising as this was a large man who lived life fully with vigor and the last few years his body didn’t allow the “boyhood escapades” anymore. The last visit I had in person with him he had just moved to a new room in Providence Care Centre and said to me that he felt this was a good room to die in (he always was a little blunt). He promised me it wouldn’t come for some time, but when it did he was content with where he was.

    Having 2 uncles in the family that are Roman Catholic priests (both Uncle Martin and Uncle James) gave me a little bit of a different view of the Catholic faith. One or the other, or sometimes both, married many of the family as well as performed baptisms, Eucharists, sacraments of the sick, blessings of homes, and many funeral masses were said for their family Their lives were faith-filled, but knowing these two men of faith as family also allowed for knowing the human side of faith – that side that would tease their nieces and nephews, instigate shenanigans, keep us entertained, and have fun with our parents as only siblings from a large family can do when they get together. We lost Uncle Martin years ago, but Uncle James and I were quite close. 

    There was llama babysitting (with the “payment” being that the next baby girl would be named Lady Glenna), being dumped in the creek on a motorcycle that he stalled out (in fairness I had warning as he had already done the same to his aunt), his woodworking, wine making (though he REALLY should have found a recipe for the dandelion wine he tried to make one year), and many visits in his hot tub. And I am pretty sure most of my cousins can relate to the words yuckafrutz and schmootz keigla (though I have no real idea how to spell either one).

    But there were also many lessons around faith. It was having mass at Family Reunions or   as the llamas would meander past when he was in Longview, having heart to hearts over a broken marriage and forgiveness from the church (even if sitting in his hot tub while doing so), praying together over meals and listening to him talk about how impacted he was by his experiences with Project Rachel.

    I grew up hearing stories of his time in Malawi and when my parents went to visit him there. Some of the artifacts I recall were  a chair made from 2 large pieces of wood that fit together through a slat, he actually made one for me (after some relentless “encouragement” on my part) that I cherish dearly and an ironwood elephant table (that now sits in my living room and reminds me of him). Always creative, Uncle James would tell how they had invented a gas stove for the village he lived in out of a wooden dome type of structure that they would shovel the chicken poop under. There was a hose from the dome to the oven where they village cook (sort of one place) would use the methane gas from the renewable resource to power their cooking. As the gas would be used up the dome would sink and they knew they needed to refill it. It was hearing stories like this, and others (especially when he would visit and share memories with his siblings and in-laws that had visited him there) that always created a desire in me to get to Africa, and now ultimately has been part of providing opportunities for children in 2 different schools in Kenya.

    And there was the other human side of Uncle James that we all laughed about and teased him lovingly over. Admittedly he was awful with names; children baptized by Uncle James weren’t always done so with the same name given to them by their parents – but I am sure that he could perhaps clear up that clerical error now that he is with St. Peter. One of the phrases I recall him saying most often was “oh, so who do we have here now?”.  There were many times I told Uncle James it was very lucky that he had chosen to become a priest because no other man would get away with some of the things he would say….allow me to explain. His nickname for me was Little One, and admittedly through the years my weight has gone up and down so sometimes he would exclaim “oh, you are not so little anymore” or “oh you are little again”.

    I believe there was a farmer in his heart (who can forget the Llama Golf Classic), and a young and mischievous boy in his spirit. His deep “ho-ho-ho” laugh came from rooted within his belly and I will miss hearing that but take comfort in knowing that he is once again able to get up to shenanigans with all of the family that has gone to heaven before him. 

    I am sorry that I can’t be there to say goodbye and pray together, but know I am joining your prayers from afar.

    Until we see each other again, Uncle James, know that you will be missed dearly and I am sending you much love, Little One. (Glenna Armitage)

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  3. Condolences to all the family of Father James (We called him Fr. Jim). He was my parish priest while attending University in Lethbridge. My sister Rosanne and I thought it was pretty cool he was also our Hagel cousin. I recall him once coming over for dinner with us..and earlier letting us know we should make him a steak, which we really didn’t know how to properly cook…can’t recall how it turned out, but likely a bit of disappointment I’d imagine. I hadn’t seen Fr. Jim since my grandfather’s (Matthew Hagel) funeral several years ago but have fond memories of him. Thinking of you.

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  4. I remember Fr. Jim when he was at St. James Parish in Calgary. His slow, meaningful presence made me, as a younger girl, think that mountains would sometimes move faster. I remember his laugh and the twinkle in his eye (mischievousness brewing I think). He was one of the priests that impact my growing up with his sermons, understanding, compassion and love for God and fellow man. May you Rest in Peace Fr. Jim.

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  5. I have found memories of Uncle James growing up. He was always a kind man with a pipe and peeling a onion from the garden eating it like an apple. You’ll always be remembered by many. Rest in Peace Uncle James xcoo

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  6. Garry&BettyAnn Bishoff

    Fr.Jim was a very close friend and Priest to the Bishoff family.
    We ate a lot of noodles,laughed a lot and cried at times as well.
    We will miss you so rest in peace.

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