Friday, October 22, 2010

Someone once wrote, “The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.” Jim Speck never ceased to love.

His greatest love was for his wife and friend Dale. They had been married for 28 years and although Jim, like many men, was not given to express his feeling openly to often, he did speak of his concern for Dale if something were to happen to him.

My friend passed away October 2, 2010. Jim was 63 years old.

Jim had no natural children of his own but thought the world of his step daughter Sue.

To his friends Jim will be remembered as the man who loved to hunt and fish. As soon as the West Arm of the Blind River froze over, he was part of that old timers gang - Leo, Jim, Gord and myself - and would spend hours, no matter what the weather, ‘jiggin and jawin’. Oh yes, Jim was a real story teller. If the fishing was good for him, well, there was just no living with him. When he would notice that I was getting hits but landing nothing, Jim would shake his head and call out, “You have to keep those hooks sharp!”

The laughter from those wonderful times, that could be heard echoing across that frozen river,will be a bit less this coming winter.

For a number of years his good friend Jim Dubrick would leave Southern Ontario and visit
with Jim and Dale. The two men would spend hours at the Mississagi Falls during the annual
pickerel and salmon runs.

On a deeply personal note, earlier this year, just after returning from an evening fishing trip with Jim, I began to feel ill. At the time I didn’t realize it but I was having a stroke. I was living alone and felt very confused and hardly able to talk. Somehow I must have managed to get hold of Jim - I still don’t know how - and after almost taking my apartment door off of it’s hinges, Jim Speck put his big arms around me, lifting me up and helping down a couple of flights of stairs and taking me to the Blind River Hospital.

Later my doctor told me that Jim may have saved my life. I told Jim that and thanked him. I became a bit emotional. Of course, Jim was a bit embarrassed at the whole affair. And I am so glad that I had the opportunity to say those words to him.

What words can adequately express the sorrow of losing a husband and a step father and a friend. What words can adequately frame the life of a man.

Jim came to us from Hamilton after retiring from Camco. He was with us for his allotted time and left behind a wealth of loving memories.

Keep your hooks sharp, Jim. Good hunting.