April 20, 1927 – July 24, 2018
at the age of 91 years.
Our beloved father and grandfather, James “Jim” Klepacz, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 at the age of 91 in Salmon Arm, BC. He leaves to mourn his children Robert, Catherine (and Raymond), and Mary (and Patrick), grandchildren Joseph, Ada, and Aiden, sister-in-law Pauline, and many extended family members and friends. He was predeceased by his wife, Joyce, his half-sister and brother-in-law, Anne and Tony Zaleski, and his nephew, Ed Zaleski. He will be cherished in our memories.
Jim was born in Maksymowka, Tarnopol, Poland. He and his parents immigrated to Canada in 1930 and made their way to the outskirts of Winnipeg. After completing grade school and one year at St. Paul’s College in Winnipeg, he had thoughts of going into aeronautical engineering or becoming a pilot. But instead, his buddy showed him a want ad stating Government of Canada Meteorological Observers were needed in the north. Thus, in 1945, he began a 42 year career with Environment Canada (Atmospheric Environment Service).
In his late teens and early twenties, Jim considered his first postings in Fort St. John, Dauphin, and Lethbridge “a big adventure”. In 1952, he applied for the Upper Air Observer course, took the training, and was stationed in Big Trout Lake, ON. There, he met Joyce, married her in 1955 and moved to Churchill, MB for two years. Then in 1957, moved back to Big Trout Lake, and became the OIC of the weather station. His three kids, Robert, Catherine, and Mary, were born between 1956 and 1961.
In 1965, he moved his family to Toronto and took a position as an electronics technician. In 1974, he moved the family to Edmonton. By then, his job title was Regional Superintendent, Electronic Installation and Maintenance with Environment Canada. From 1967 to 1986, he was mostly travelling to weather stations to do installations and maintenance. Out of Toronto, he covered all of Canada. Out of Edmonton, he and the four El Techs he supervised, covered Alberta, the western half of the N.W.T., and the Yukon. He always considered it a privilege and a blessing to have seen so much of Canada.
In 1987, he retired from Environment Canada at age 60. At the end of 1990, Jim and Joyce moved from Edmonton to an acreage near Salmon Arm, BC. They both kept busy for the next several years working the land and making improvements. They both revelled in their two dogs Jenny and Bandit, and their cat Tom. Visits from their children and three grandchildren were also welcomed. They became avid bird watchers, were always reading, and loved to do crossword puzzles. They also treated the environment with respect and continued a policy of composting and recycling. Jim and Joyce immensely enjoyed their secluded oasis in the woods. Their retirement years were very peaceful.
After his wife’s passing in 2008, he kept active and involved by doing some travelling. Destinations included Cartagena, Columbia, Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu, Peru, and road trips to Manitoba to visit family, to Ontario for his brother-in-law’s 90th birthday celebration and to California to visit family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary.
At the age of 89, he was unable to manage by himself on his acreage. He moved into a wonderful retirement resort in Salmon Arm where he enjoyed the last two years of his life.
A private ceremony was held this week at the Mount Ida Cemetery to inter his ashes alongside his wife’s ashes in the niche wall at Mt. Ida Cemetery.
If desired, donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada in Jim’s name.