May 31, 1938 – September 23, 2022
James “Jim” Leslie McWilliams of Surrey, BC, passed away at his home at Bear Creek Villa on September 23, 2022. Jim was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK, and was the son of the late Leslie McWilliams and late Margaret Eleanor McWilliams (Norgate).
He is predeceased by his life partner, Joan Murray, and is survived by sons, Lachlan and Colin, and their families.
Jim had a brief career as a soldier in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and a long career as a teacher in Moose Jaw. Jim possessed a deep interest in history and co-wrote three books on WWI, including “The Suicide Battalion,” which chronicled the role of the 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion from Moose Jaw.
He was passionate about the highland bagpipe and Scottish culture and, for many years, he was the head instructor and Pipe Major of Moose Jaw’s White Hackle Pipe Band.
Jim retired from teaching in 1993 and moved to Surrey, BC. He was highly involved in piping in BC. He enjoyed playing in the Delta Police Pipe Band and the Vancouver Police Pipe Band, with the Celtic band, “Blackthorn,” and as part of his partner Joan’s “Tartan Pride” highland dance team.
Towards the end of his life, Jim was no longer able to play the bagpipes and shifted his musical outlet to the piano, which he had learned as a child at his mother’s insistence.
He regularly performed Scottish music for the residents of Bear Creek Villa and was always willing to toast a haggis at a Robbie Burns’ night.
Jim enjoyed life immensely. He loved music, good company, travel, food, and was fortunate to have plenty of these things over a long and blessed life. He had great pride in his family and prairie roots.
A memorial service will be held in Surrey, but specific plans are not yet in place. In lieu of flowers, Jim would want you to hug a loved one and/or make a donation to an animal charity of your choice.
Many thanks the staff and residents of Bear Creek Villa who contributed much to his enjoyment of his last years.
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