The recent passing of beloved 76-year-old resident Jim Sinclair and former School Board Trustee Chair for the Fraser Cascade School District 78 of over thirty years, was felt across Hope, as flags were lowered to half mast in his honour by the School District this week.
Friends, colleagues, and family members graciously remembered Jim when he passed on Saturday, June 13th, not only as a pillar in the community, but a man with an endearing sense of humour and a passion for living, a man who loved everyone and was loved back without question, while fighting for the betterment of children wherever he went.
After arriving in Hope with his lifetime partner and wife Jennifer in 1974, they started a successful insurance business and the couple originally from Scotland, decided to stay and raise a family.
“He lived for his girls,” said Jennifer Sinclair, Jim’s wife of 50 years. Jim is survived by his three daughters Karen, Heather and Janet with eight grandchildren between them.
Jim was a lifetime member of the Legion, a Rotarian, and a dedicated volunteer in the community over the years, often championing his own children’s activities and inviting a group of kids over to the house to rehearse and eat pizza prior to a play at school.
“He was everywhere and always available to students — he had a huge heart,” said colleague and Superintendent for District 78, Dr. Karen Nelson.
Jim had a soft spot for First Nations issues and was very proactive on the Aboriginal Education Council, as well as inspiring and uplifting the children he frequently spent time with at the McAffrey Alternate School in Agassiz (ACE.)
“He was someone who cared about the kids — he wasn’t condescending and treated them like little humans,” said colleague and ACE Principal Sandy Balascak. Subsequently, during one of the times that Jim was ill, a gaggle of kids loaded up a bus and went to visit him.
“He was absolutely thrilled to see them,” said Balascak.
The hands-on family man was stern but with a kind heart according to daughter and School Board Trustee for District 78, Heather Stewin.
“He was a problem solver,” Heather told The Hope Standard of her father’s quick resolve and his ability to get to the bottom of things and to get things done.
Stewin fondly remembers fishing on her dad’s boat the Greggory J, during family trips to Pender Harbour and that her father was always there when she or her siblings needed him.
“He loved Pender Harbour. That was where he had downtime on his fishing boat — that was where you got to see the private Jim Sinclair,” Jennifer said of her husband’s love of being on the water with family and friends. Jim’s memorial service will be held at the Legion on Saturday, July 11th at 1:30 p.m. According to those who knew Jim best, he was a humble force of nature, who will be greatly missed by a community that cherished him.
His legacy will live on in his children and the people he’s inspired over a remarkable life, a life that was anything but ordinary.