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.