James Sinclair passed away peacefully at Wellington Terrace Long Term Care Home in Fergus Ontario on December 16, 2020 one day after his 92nd birthday. Jim was born December 15, 1928 in Deerness, Orkney, Scotland to his father James Linklater Sinclair and mother Grace Isabella Anderson Johnstone.
Jim married at age 23 to Elizabeth Bichan age 21 on February 26, 1952 at South Church St. Andrews, Orkney. They immigrated to Canada and first lived in Hamilton, Ontario in 1955. They had one child James Raymond born in Hamilton on August 9, 1956. After a couple years they returned to Scotland for a short time and then once again moved back to Canada permanently, living most of their lives in Burlington, Ontario. Having strong emotional bonds, they did return to the UK to visit family regularly.
My Dad told me stories of his youth like trapping rabbits for pocket money as a boy. Also as an teenager he got creative and bought old motorcycles to fixed them up to resell. He served in the Royal Air Force at the end of the WW2 where he learned his skilled trade of carpentry. Dad loved to play music, particularly from his late teens until mid thirties, having a natural gift for playing Scottish tunes on piano, fiddle, accordian and mouth organ. In the Toronto area he was popular amongst his friends at dance parties of the Orkney & Shetland Islands Association where he also often played for the gang.
In his work career, starting in the late 1950's, he built and installed custom cabinets in many homes. That detailed work progressed into full renovation projects, converting basements into living spaces and then in 1963 he built his first house in Burlington which became our family home. Over his career as a general contractor, he built over 250 houses which were primarily in Burlington, a multi-home development in Ancaster and a couple of luxury homes were also built in Sydney Australia where we lived for a year between 1970 to 1971. My mother and father worked together as a team under the name "James Sinclair Construction". Mom was the driver of the business with vision and supportive ideas. Dad had the great skill and practical insights which enabled him to build anything while always insisting on quality. People Dad worked with and his numerous customers all liked him and many stayed in touch with him over the years. He retired around 2002.
Dad had a tremendous natural artistic talent. I frequently found fantastic pencil drawings of animals and people on doodle pads in his office. Just like his natural musical abilities he would never develop these skills formally. He enjoyed reading novels some of which included adventure stories about the sea, historical fiction and scary Stephen King books.
Mom and Dad were never keen on Canadian winters. As retirees, they became annual snowbirds, staying a few months each winter in the southern US, either in Florida, Arizona, Texas or California. They were avid golfers, loved visiting local libraries and also enjoyed good food, particularly seafood wherever they went. Both Mom and Dad were very social and visited regularly with family and friends during these numerous trips.
Late in life Mom needed more support and moved to a retirement home and then a long-term care home in Burlington until her passing in 2015. Dad also developed health issues and he moved into a retirement home and then in 2017 he moved into a long-term care home in Fergus Ontario close to Mary and me. During that period he was always content and appreciative of everyone around him. His positive attitude and sense of humour enamored him to others right up until his sudden passing.
I will remember my Dad in many ways. I will remember his humor, his smile and his appreciation of the people around him. Additionally, I take pride in his many accomplishments and I will miss him.
Jim is survived by his son Raymond and his wife Mary; grandson Michael and his wife Kristine and 3-year old twin girls Abigail and Riley all living in Toronto; and grandson Brian and his wife Helen living in Vancouver.
Jim's remains will be placed in a niche with Elizabeth at the Bayview Cemetery in Burlington in the spring with a private gathering of immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada.