Old Xaverians’ Association
HILARY JAMES (JIM) LEE 1933 - 2010 (43-50)
Jim was born in the Sub-District of Wavertree, County of Liverpool CB to Basil and Vera (Jolly) Lee, a brother to Patricia, their first born. He survived by his younger sister Yvonne who lives in Bicester, England.
Jim’s father, Basil, was born in 1900. He attended St. Francis Xavier's College. After graduation, he entered the Seminary of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in Chilworth, England. While there, he learned several foreign languages. He left the Seminary before his final vows, and later married. When Jim was born, Basil worked as a foreign correspondent with Meccano, a company which employed linguists to "correspond" with customers all over the world. Sometime later, he joined the British Army and resigned a couple of years after the War with the rank of Major. He then acquired the "Seven Stars" a public house in Piddington, Oxon. Basil passed away in 1963 and Jim's mother, Vera, passed away in 1990.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Jim graduated from SFX in 1950. While attending St. Xavier's, he was actively involved with the school's sports teams. He gained admission to Trinity College, Dublin, but never attended.
Instead Jim served in the compulsory National Service in the UK, Europe and Africa, concluding service as the first National Serviceman to attain the rank of Sergeant. He then went on to do his Reserve Territorial Service in the Parachute Regiment based in Oxfordshire. He had 52 jumps to his credit. Training entailed weekend drops into France, Holland and the UK
Jim emigrated to Toronto, Canada with his wife, Isla (who predeceased him) and his son, Michael. Prior to that he was a partner (with his parents) in the "Seven Stars". Then he was employed in sales by the then largest manufacturer of farm animal food in Britain. Jim was their top salesman. When a more senior position came up, he applied for it and was turned down because management felt that "although he qualified he was too young for the position." It was then that he left England for Canada where he believed the opportunities for career advancement would be greater. That turned out to be the case.
Jim became a Canadian Citizen several years after his arrival in Canada. His career path was widely diversified. He attained a broad and intensive range of involvement in Market Research, Broadcasting, Advertising, Stock Brokerage and the Oil and Gas Exploration Industry. During this time, he travelled widely in North and South America, Russia and China and developed a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts. Jim achieved considerable success in each of the above fields. Later in life, his varied and extensive background led him into Entrepreneurial Enterprise, Business Consulting and Stock Promotion. He eventually retired from active business involvement around 2006 but occasionally could not resist "putting his finger in the pie" when his expertise was in demand.
On a personal note, Jim was a devoted father and husband and was always ready to give anyone a helping hand or advice whenever it was requested or needed. He had a great sense of humour and was a prolific gifted poetry writer and avid reader. He remained a Liverpool Football Club fan all his life, played a mean game of golf and raced in various makes of cars, including a Formula Ford car and a vintage Porsche 911.
Jim fought a long and brave battle with cancer in Brighton, Ontario. Upon his death, he left his four grown-up children, Michael, Theresa, Beverley and Deborah, his sister, Yvonne, his second wife, Jeannine, and their extended families.
As pre-arranged by Jim, his remains were donated to the School of Anatomy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, to be used for teaching and research activities. As a first step, his eyes were sent to the Eye Bank of Canada and someone who was blind was given "the gift of sight" as so well phrased by the Eye Bank.
Jim is greatly missed by all his family members and those who knew and associated with him.
Some recollections from Jim's children:
Michael in Toronto, Canada, wrote:
It is hard to sum up all the influences my Dad had on me in a few short paragraphs; but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be his optimism: Always looking forward; never being bored; there were too many things of interest; so much to do and see; too much fun to have along the way.
Some of my earliest memories are of race tracks and building or repairing cars. My Dad raced successfully for several years after arriving in Canada. In fact, I am the proud possessor of trophies he won while competing in various makes of cars, including one he built himself. He eventually retired from racing. When I started competing in the Formula Ford class, my Dad got the racing "bug" again, bought himself an older Formula Ford car, and we had the opportunity to race together for several seasons. He was very proud of me when I ran faster than he did. Dad eventually retired for good from the sport after trying vintage racing in a Porsche 911.
His fan devotion for Liverpool FC was contagious and I can't remember a time when I didn't support the team.
I miss my Dad!
Theresa in Perth, Australia wrote:
Dad was a great teacher:
He taught me the power of being positive.
He taught me the joy of reading.
He taught me happiness is what's most important in life.
He taught me to play Scrabble and Backgammom.
He taught me the excitement of motor racing.
He taught me that Liverpool FC is the best team in the world.
He taught me how to spell --
I do remember him giving us words to spell while we ate breakfast:
The word "beautiful" stands out - it was one he had trouble with when he was in school!
My Dad taught me to be who I was--
There is no better lesson in life than that!
Beverley, Bicester, England wrote:
I remember a lot of fun things we did with my father, but what I remember best is the influence of books he gave me when I was a child. One Easter, instead of the usual chocolate or soft toys, he gave me two books: "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man" which was written by someone tending the injured soldiers during the First World War and "Joan of Arc." Together, these books gave me a love of reading, a yearning to understand what previous generations went through and a realization that everything behind us may be history, but it's still vitally important... which in turn led me to want to know about the history of my own family. This has been an obsession of mine over the years. I've managed to be very successful in my ancestry search because of my Dad's encouragement and funding for a very long time. I absolutely loved "Joan of Arc." It taught me that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from -- anything is possible. It made me aware of injustices and bravery... I may have learned these things anyway, but the book my Dad gave me certainly helped.
Deborah, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada wrote:
I have numerous memories of my Dad during my very early years: Sitting on his lap in the car, holding the steering wheel "driving"; standing on his feet, him holding my hands and walking around the house; him throwing me up in the air and catching me in his arms...
In my adult years, during a particularly stressful, emotional time in my life while going through a custody battle for my daughter, my Dad drove long distances several times to sit by my side in court. He gave me sound advice and encouragement. This meant so very much to me and actually gave the strength to fight...and I was successful!
He was definitely a hard act to follow, and certainly none of us has been able to fill those shoes. However, my son Luke, his oldest grandson, admired him greatly and joined the Canadian Army entering into the Airborne Infantry to follow in those footsteps.
A final note from Jeannine Lee
Jim's passing left a great void in my life. However, the continued support of his children and sister, of my own family and friends and the memories of a wonderful life with Jim help fill the void.
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