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James made his final escape from a world of brave struggle after a seven month battle with ALK-positive NSC Lung Cancer. His final wish was to pass away in his solarium, or on his beloved deck, at home in North Vancouver, holding his wife’s hand. He was granted that wish in December 2023, surrounded by his wife, children and dog. He is survived by his wife, two children, his sister, and parents. In addition to his loving family, James surrounded himself with a large and wonderful community of friends and colleagues.

He was raised in Canada and later South Africa. After completing his electrical engineering degree in South Africa, he returned to Canada, joined by his wife following their marriage in Zimbabwe. He maintained several cherished friendships from his years as a Master Scout, in outdoor club and mountain climbing, bringing those passions with him to a new life. He raised his children in the backcountry of BC, with weekends spent up logging roads and following the vague and fantastical directions of hand me down hiking guides. As a family, the Turners travelled to Nepal, India, Thailand, Namibia, Belize, Cuba and several places in the states, diving and exploring cultures and histories. James
will be greatly missed by connections worldwide, as well as West Coast dwellers who shared his love for summits, or who crossed paths with him as he endeavoured to build a successful company.

James will be remembered for his intelligence and thirst for knowledge, his collection of books, his love of a good debate, and his seemingly limitless list of skills which included a tendency to enthusiastically over-engineer everything he created. Never to settle at mediocre, James was a determined goal setter, earning his P.Eng and achieving recognition for his expertise in the field of test and measurement equipment in the micro to satellite scales. The center of every party, his ever-evolving stories, jokes-on-repeat and prankish nature are fond memories shared by all who knew him.

In his final days, James wrote that he was grateful to have lived in the time he did – a time of history including the space race and Silicon Valley tech; a time when war did not impact him negatively; and at a time when medical advancements provided a targeted treatment for his cancer. Most of all, he was grateful for his beloved wife, Helen, and magnificent children. Their wish for him is that he is reunited with his cherished dogs, at a sunny riverside spot, with the perfect warm rock for a peaceful sleep.
His family extends thanks to the teams of experts who cared for James at VGH, BC Cancer, St Paul’s and finally unit 7W at Lions Gate Hospital. The combined efforts of the Paul Sugar Foundation and the North Shore Palliative Care Program made it possible for James to go home. A day of honouring James will be scheduled in a sunnier season so that all may gather on his beautiful deck.

35 Comments

  • Campbell
    Posted January 3, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    One didn’t have to spend much time with Jim to discover he savored every experience to the full. Jim and I did some great things, and we did some truly idiotic things: either way they were happy times, because that is how Jim saw pretty-much everything. I was fortunate to see Jim shortly before he died. The years fell away, and once again we walked the trails.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:43 pm

      Campbell, I cannot express how glad I am that you and Dad were reunited shortly before he passed away. That visit was such a highlight for him, and he had lots to tell me about his time with you and your wife when I saw him after your stay. Thank you so much for making that happen. Your name has been a household one for as long as I can remember, and your friendship was incredibly important to Dad.

      • Ron Lowe
        Posted January 31, 2024 at 5:14 pm

        Was sadden to hear of jim’s passing. He was with out any question my favourite boss ever. Strong supporter of education for his sales team. I was always pleased when he came on calls with me as he impressed the customer with his knowledge.

  • david blacoe
    Posted January 5, 2024 at 5:38 pm

    I will always have fond memories of Jim and the time he shared with us. He left his mark on our hearts and minds. He will be truly missed.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:41 pm

      David – our last meeting together exploring the Tall Ships was such a treat and remains such a happy memory for me. Thank you for making that happen for our family!! Your friendship over the years has been so important

  • Margaret
    Posted January 10, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    Jim was one of the funniest people I have ever had the luck to work with, and he brought everyone around him up a level – whatever we were doing. I will miss you and your favourite joke …… see you a “O”.

  • Sam
    Posted January 10, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    I had the absolute pleasure of knowing Jim and he really was the best. Funny, charismatic, giving, kind and razor sharp. Jim’s cool. I’m better for knowing him. I’m sure he will be missed by so many given my experience with him.

    Thank you for everything Jim.

  • Hilton
    Posted January 10, 2024 at 8:15 pm

    Good bye Jim. It is hard to believe that you have moved on, the world is a poorer place without you. I am going to miss your sense of humour, your knowledge and your love of life. I am sad that we didn’t get to spend more time together through the years and I am really mad that we weren’t able to get together in the last 7 months.

    I am glad that we were able to spend some time together a couple years ago, and that you got to meet Charmaine. It was wonderful to see the love between you and Helen, you two were so good together.

    Rest well my friend, we were honoured to have known you and we will never forget you.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:38 pm

      Dear Hilton. Another wonderful university friend to my parents. It was so wonderful growing up knowing you and Diana, Beverly and Claire. I have so many memories of our families together, intertwined with raucous stories from your younger years. Thank you for your kind friendship. Dad knew you were trying to come visit and that knowledge was a great comfort to him.

  • Massimo
    Posted January 11, 2024 at 11:50 am

    When I think of Jim, I vividly remember his humour, his sharp understanding of situations and his wise explanations of how to deal with them.
    A bright mind, no matter whether he was on the Drakensberg mountain paths, or in the International Companies boardrooms with chief executives,
    he always knew how to deal with people, with easy talk, culture and zeal.
    We met at university and quickly became good friends. We studied and enjoyed life to the fullest. We graduated together and ever since remained close friends
    despite work and life put us on different paths. Whenever we could we met with each other in many places of the world, Zimbabwe, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Hawaii,
    always in touch with each other and also with Helen, his big love, better half and light.
    I am honoured to have had Jim as dear friend.
    I am sure that now he sits in heaven at the center with the elders, the angels and seniors, and is entertaining them with interesting stories, humor and passion.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:36 pm

      Massimo – my father’s dear dear friend. You were so special to Dad, and remain such an important part of our family’s life. Thank you for the years of friendship, endless kindness and generosity. I grew up listening to all the stories of your university times together, and all those amazing adventures.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted January 21, 2024 at 8:52 pm

    Jim and my husband Mike were school friends at Pretoria Boys High and his friendship became mine,too, when we married. We visited Jim and Helen regularly when we lived in the UK; they are the reason we now live in Vancouver. Jim will be remembered in our household for his humour, sharp wit, formidable memory & intellect but mostly his kindness, wisdom and warmth. He was always in good humour and I never heard him say a cross or mean word. I still hear him say ‘passion, passion’ when arriving at our house as his greeting. How I wish we could have captured his brain and all those facts and figures in his memory. Helen and Jim were such a complementary couple – a formidable force together. We are honoured to be his friends, have learned from him, and be better human beings through knowing him. I am sure you will be embracing your new realm with zest – and regaling your audience with wit and insight wherever you are.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:17 pm

      Oh Elizabeth. You and Mike have been such hugely important friends in my dad’s life. I love that he and Mike kept a friendship for all these years. I am so glad you all wound up together again, to live and raise your families. Mike – thank you for being a lifelong companion for my father. He was a man of actions over words when it came to relationships, and I know how profoundly he loved you. Special thanks to your four kiddos who always brightened my dad’s day.

  • Ivan and Sherry
    Posted January 22, 2024 at 6:56 pm

    Sherry and I truly miss James, he was a great neighbor and friend, a day or week would not go by without stopping to chat and discuss whatever it was that was of interest. He had a sharp intellect and of course his many stories would keep us entertained along with his humor.
    James was taken far too soon and we are so sad, we will remember him and speak of him, and he will be in our thoughts forever

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:14 pm

      You’ve always been such wonderful kind friends and neighbours to my parents. Thank you for watching over their home, built or not! I know you have their back.

  • Phil Robinson
    Posted January 23, 2024 at 4:29 pm

    I worked for/with Jim in the 1990s. Jim was a kind, supportive mentor. Jim’s nickname for me was Mr. Rubishbin. So many wonderful times spent with him, from his failed attempt at teaching me pivot tables, Crystal Shaw “falling into an outdoor fountain in Montreal, stealing a bottle of Kahlua at Jazz fest, and multiple food fights in busy restaurants that more than once concluded with us being asked to leave. Jim was a friend and I often called him for his council. I am saddened to read about his illness, but happy to hear he was well cared for and had such a wonderful family.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:11 pm

      Hi Phil. Thank you for sharing your stories and memories. They bring a smile to my face – it all sounds a lot like Dad!

  • Christine
    Posted January 24, 2024 at 9:57 pm

    As Helen’s cousin visiting from England in September I was so pleased to meet Jim for the first time. Although he clearly was ill he entertained us and cooked the most wonderful salmon for our lunch which we ate sitting out on the deck with family .Through conversations with him over lunch I learned he had a lovely dry wit, was engaging as well as having a sharp intelligent mind. I only wished I could have spent longer than just a few hours with him so that I could have got to know him even better. However, I feel lucky to have had that time with him.

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:10 pm

      Hello Christine. Glad you were able to come meet my parents in their home on your recent trip. Thank you also for the email <3

  • Yvan Ratte
    Posted January 25, 2024 at 3:08 pm

    I just learned that Jim died. I’m shocked…. Based out of Montréal, I worked for Jim from 1993 to 2007. We really did have a great time. My condolences to you Helen and your kids. So many memories are coming back. It’s a sad day for me today. Bon voyage Jim et merci pour tout. 🙁

    • Marion
      Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:09 pm

      Hello Yvan. Yours was a household name growing up. I remember Dad spending lots of time on phone calls with you back in the ACA days. I am sorry for this surprise sad news. Please feel free to contact myself or Helen if you need to hear more. Thank you for being such an excellent long term colleague and friend to my father

      • Yvan Ratye
        Posted January 26, 2024 at 1:02 am

        Thank you Marion for the comments. We had a great team during those days. Your mother called me this afternoon. Merci Helen! 🙏. I have her phone number. If I go to Vancouver, I’ll ping her so we can meet. Huge hugs from Montréal.

  • Marion
    Posted January 25, 2024 at 6:45 pm

    Dear all – thank you for the shared stories and memories, as well as heartfelt condolences. I have replied to those of you that I know, and appreciate the words from those I don’t. Please know that if we don’t continue to reply, it is not because we haven’t received your words. We continue to check Dad’s obituary daily to remember and read anything new posted.

  • Patrick Leung
    Posted January 25, 2024 at 9:07 pm

    I am so overwhelmed and saddened to hear about Jim’s passing 🙁 My deepest and sincere condolences to you Helen, Marion and Glen…. I am, and will always be extremely grateful for the many fond memories to have shared with Jim in both a professional and personal capacity over the 20+ years I worked with Jim, when I first graduated out of University. Jim was a wonderful mentor, teacher and friend to me. He welcomed me into his home and family and I was able to share many BBQs and dinners over the years with each of you; giving me the opportunity to know him as a great husband, Helen and as a great father, Marion and Glen (Jim was so proud of you Glen, the day you joined the Cadets!!); and always shared exciting news and milestones in your respective lives with me… I will always cherish my own ‘first experiences’ with Jim, from skiing (Jim introduced me to my first experience on a real mountain) down the out-of-bounds bowls of Blackcomb to tearing around in a convertible mustang rental in Death Valley, California; but what I really enjoyed the most was the multitude of relaxing and peaceful hikes through Lynn Canyon whenever I was in North Van. Jim made a huge and positive impact wherever he went and always brought a smile and laughter to everyone he interacted with; he certainly did for me! You will be missed Jim…but the memories for me will be everlasting.

  • Michael Moore
    Posted January 26, 2024 at 12:27 am

    Starting at Brooklyn school and then being in the same class each year from Std 6-10 at Pretoria Boys High, our lives have crisscrossed. As boys Jim and I sang in the choir, built our train layouts, rode bikes over what felt like long distances – I remember one trip from Rustenberg to Hartebeestpoort Dam -, camped and hiked. One of my keepsakes is a GAZ stove Jim gave me for my 16th birthday when we hiked to Mnt Aux Source – reflecting Jim’s humour it is inscribed “From Fred and Ned Christmas 1921”. Although our paths diverged when he went to Wits and I to Tukkies, Vancouver became the catalyst for us to reconnect as we visited here each time we were in North America. Most memorable were the hikes and bike ride we took when using your basement as our home base; the principle was that if we had a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter we were all set. And so we got to know Helen, Marion and Glen as well as Helen’s family. And Jim connected us with Mulgrave! The exchange between my school and Mulgrave gave way to my deep connection with the school and here we are. Jim’s engagement with our kids always brought delight and entertainment. We can’t look at a post box without thinking of an elephant’s bottom, and smile whenever we hear Confucius mentioned. All of these memories are captured in Jim’s Joking Journal, loving illustrated by Helen for Madeleine and Sebastian. True friends show themselves when times are tough and you both gave more support that we could have imagined when we lost Erin by simply being there and always being available to listen. Hamba Khale good friend.

  • Brenda Gomes
    Posted January 26, 2024 at 1:47 am

    Dear Turner family,
    Hellen is my Godmother but with various immigrations we unfortunately lost touch for many years. I only met Jim once or twice when I was a young adult, but we have had the pleasure of spending time with Glen when he came to visit us in Australia. Glen spoke highly of his dad and smiled widely when speaking of family and home. Reading his Obituary and comments above, Jim had a rich and wonderful life, living it to the max, and will surely be missed by all. Sending our love and condolences to Helen, Marion and Glen at this difficult time of healing. Much love, Brenda (cousin to Helen) Tony, and children Sabrina and Gabriel Gomes x x x x

  • Michael Holmes
    Posted January 26, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Helen, So very sorry to receive the news of Jim’s passing from Steve Burks. My sincerest condolences. As brand new first year students at EOH Residence at WITS we quickly formed a group that included Jim, Steve Burks, Peter Freyberg, Manuel Longuiera, Willy Marsh, Hilton Macklin, Michael Loubscher and I. We would meet everyday for meals in those early days and swap the news of the day over the evening meal. Jim would regale us with stories of having worked on a weather station (which impressed us no end, young and naieve as we were, picturing something like a Gough Island assignment in the Great Southern Ocean ) but which turned out to be no more than a tiny bit of apparatus that measured rainfall and wind speed in a high school experiment! Thereafter any story that was found to be somewhat embellished was referred to as a “Weather Station Story” by the group. Jim was the first person I ever met who could be said to be truly passionate about the outdoors. And his enthusiasm for the wild places was infectious. Before long he had organized for most of us to at least give basic rock climbing and bouldering a go. If that was too technical for some there was always hiking. For me he will always be seen through that walking, hiking and climbing lens. We once tried to hitchhike to the southern Drakensberg from Parktown in Johannesburg to go hiking there for a few days but after walking along the concrete freeways required to get out of town for about 5 hours without attracting a single lift from anyone, we called it a day and headed back to our university residence in rather bedraggled shape and settled for a cold beer in the residence pub. I will most fondly remember a more successful trip that a group of us took to Giants Castle in the southern Berg area one April back in perhaps 1980 or 1981 where a group of us walked the 7 or 8 hours up to the Giants Castle hut on the top of the mountain in shorts and tee shirts, experienced a 25 degree temperature drop as we got to the hut and were snowed in for about 4 days on top of the mountain with not much in the way of supplies (or decent alcohol). Another memorable university trip involved Jim, John James (know by Jim as the Great Jonathon E after James Caan’s character in the film Rollerball), Peter Freyberg, Steve Burks and I renting a beachfront apartment at the end of our second year of studies and completion of vacation work, probably 1980 or so. Jim was a big Doors and Pink Floyd fan in those days and the album the The Wall had just been released and got played by Jim non stop. I have a great picture in my album of Jim and John contentedly puffing away on their pipes like two old mountain men listening to the album. I have good memories of being in his company, ever positive, pragmatic and fun and his love for, and ability to take off, the characters in the Goon Show. A genuinely good man, he will be missed by many. RIP my old friend.

  • John & Saku Vela
    Posted January 27, 2024 at 8:45 pm

    I am privileged to have known Jim as my mentor while at ACA, but more than that he was a cherished friend.
    We first met when he interviewed me in the early 90s when I lived in Vancouver. I guess we hit it off because we were both good story tellers; as well as passionate travelers in this most amazing planet eager to meet even more amazing people. Jim was instrumental in my move to Toronto where I inevitably fell in love with my wife Saku. Saku and I were most appreciative that he attended our wedding. We received a handmade decorative personalized platter from Helen & Jim. Knowing they both made it for us was special, and has served as a precious reminder of their kindness and thoughtfulness that we get to admire every day.
    Many times when we got together he would mention his adventures and memories with Helen and his kids who he greatly adored. Jim was definitely a sportsman. We would enjoy a good game of racquetball and skiing.
    Some of you might know that Jim had a high-tech private brewery – my question is where are all those Grolsch bottles?
    I recall Jim had a company that he named Hitegma Technologies, but I can’t recall what Hitegma stood for. I’m not sure if it’s a word in Afrikaans or Southern Sotho, so if anyone knows please let me know.
    On one of our most recent calls, Jim shared his story about a trip to Namibia where he met two twin brothers who became tour guides in one of the most desolate parts of Africa. Jim said he treasured this experience and found it so inspirational that he wrote about it and entitled it “Bushman Astronomy”. It was so motivating that maybe one day it can become a novel or made into a movie. It is as engaging and entertaining as Indiana Jones. Jim encouraged me to go and do this same adventure, so if anyone else is also inspired to go, let me know.

    Our sincerest and deepest condolences to Helen, Marion & Glen.
    Jim will truly be missed but will remain in our memories.

    • Marion
      Posted February 27, 2024 at 9:14 pm

      Dear John
      Thank you for the note and the memories
      The brewery!!! Our basement always smelled like yeast until we did renovations. I remember that well from my childhood. The bottles I believe are still in circulation throughout our family members but I’m not entirely sure where they are now
      Hitegma was made up as a name to include the first letters of our family’s names: H, G, M, and T for Turner.

  • Pamela Brunswick
    Posted January 28, 2024 at 10:49 pm

    I have fond memories of Jim, right from when we first met. T’was at the end of dubiously thin climbing ropes in Magaliesburg, then again a while later while water skiing. With a seriously straight face, Jim instructed me to hold tight to the water ski rope and not let go even if I fell over! I hadn’t recognized Jim’s singular sense of humour until my orifices filled with water at the end of that rope. Unforgettable, both. Then suddenly we were all in BC. Our families arrived but, with his wonderfully social disposition, random wine tasting evenings continued. Jim introduced us to the finer points of wine (…ahem) and a slew of other topics, while the kids were abed…the VW camper van comes to mind. Those evenings of fun and laughter were a highlight in life’s pathways thanks to Jim. Now, the years have become trails of the mind. On reflection, my most heart-warming memory of Jim is recognizing his love for Helen and the kids. Such a joy to constantly observe. That brings me to a final thought; Jim and Helen first took me to Brandywine Meadows and, naturally, Jim shared endless stories along the way. We have been back a few times since. Next time, Jim will still be with us in our hearts.

  • Andre
    Posted February 1, 2024 at 2:56 am

    My first time meeting Jim was during my first visit to Vancouver where he and Helen graciously allowed me to stay in their home. Right away I got to know Jim as the quick witted grillmaster with a genie joke at the ready and a captivating story to tell. I’ll never be able to listen to Pink Floyd without thinking of him. Jim will be greatly missed and I count myself lucky to have known him. My deepest condolences to Helen, Marion and Glen.

  • David
    Posted February 2, 2024 at 9:12 am

    I am grateful for having James as a brother in law and being an amazing husband to my sister Helen, and father to Marion and Glen. I am also grateful for James (and Helen) for their sacrifices and generosity by taking in my parents and supporting them for all these years. The regular visits to Zimbabwe to see family and the associated sacrifices were also appreciated.

    Ryan and Brendan, as youngsters, enjoyed their trip to Canada and getting to meet James Helen, Marion and Glen. They affectionately called James ‘the funny man’ due to his continual age appropriate entertaining and humorous rhetoric directed at them. More recently, Ryan and Brendan were pleasantly surprised to hear that James was a ‘Goons’ fan as they often enjoy listening to old episodes on Spotify and can recite some skits verbatim!

    We can take solace from the following wise words:

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort”. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7

  • Jim (Dimitrios) Bokos
    Posted February 3, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    Sometimes in life you get lucky, lucky enough to meet someone that will make such an impact in your life that you can only imagine what would have been if you did not cross paths with that individual. Well I was lucky, actually blessed is a better word to have met Jim and be part of his team starting in the mid-90s, a career that ran for just over 10years.
    We met for an interview at Dorval Airport in Montreal, for anyone that knew Jim, he knew his way around airports. It was a tough interview but within 15minutes he sat back smiled and right there and then he offered me a job and away we went.
    Jim’s appetite for knowledge was addictive to anyone that had the privilege of working with him it was amazing. More than just the owner he was a mentor and I will say a friend. When he was in town he was always welcomed in our home, my wife and son still remember meeting Jim; him bringing lots of food over along with his sense of humor. Both vividly remember the day he passed by with Glenn and both our boys went for a bike ride…it’s as if they were buddies from very young. This is simply an example to show how Jim put everyone at ease.
    As our careers grew we found ourselves parting ways and yet now well over 15 years after I left I still find myself using the knowledge I gained from Jim’s mentoring
    Jim was a class act, the best. Even when I left the company, Jim flew into Montreal to wish me good luck, I drove him to Dorval Airport, where we had a coffee and off he went
    Unfortunately, our paths never crossed again, not even by luck at an airport
    Jim thank you and your family for everything you did for me and our family.
    Helen, Marion, Glen our deepest condolences
    You will be missed but you will always remain in my memory and a part of my life.

  • Kevin
    Posted February 6, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    Whenever I visited Glen in North Van I had the wonderful delight of being hosted by James. James was always full of life, warmth, laughter, and witty dad jokes. I saw immediately where Glen got it from. James brought joy to those who entered his home. I will forever be grateful for the insightful conversations and stomach filling dinners we shared over looking the mountain from the big windows in his home. His hospitality and laughter were a blessing for anyone lucky enough to know him.

  • Richard Tyas
    Posted February 11, 2024 at 4:27 pm

    As the youngest brother of James’s mother we were not too different in age only about 8 years.
    I remember James visiting 291 ( the Tyas family residence in Yorkshire) from a very early age and going over the road to visit the farm.
    As a youth we went to the Lake District and climbed Scarfell Pike ( the highest mountain in England) then on our way home had fun in Blackpool.
    I was fortunate to visit South Africa on several occasions, where we enjoyed family Bries and fun times in the pool.
    Also a weekend in the Drakensberg mountains when James was allowed to take us in the new family car.
    I was able to visit all the family several times in BC but did not visit to Ottawa .
    James was a brilliant host, we enjoyed fun times at McNair and also his first house on “Langdale”?.
    A winter visit took us skiing in Whistler, on the old winding road, pre olympics!
    We came to a very steep gully where folks were just falling off the cliff, James skied up to the edge and turned around and said we will do this this afternoon
    Very cool 👌
    So sad you left us so early, and our paths crossed infrequently you are family and will be sadly missed.
    Uncle Richard.Xx

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