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Born: Apr 03, 1926

Date of Passing: May 17, 2018

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JAMES THOM BELFORD Dip Ed, Jordan College, Glasgow, Scotland, MSc, University of Wisconsin at La Crosse Jim passed away peacefully on May 17, 2018, after a brief stay at Victoria General Hospital, Victoria, BC. Predeceased by his older brother Smith Belford, he is survived by his loving wife Gail Button, son John and Marsha Belford, son David Belford, daughter Carol Paci, daughter-in-law Julia Belford, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, Gail's family, and nieces and nephews in Scotland and the U.S. Born April 3, 1926 in Brechin, Scotland, Jim had an active and fulfilling childhood. At the age of six he declared that he was going to be a gym teacher. Jim and brother Smith were always "on the top of the road", cycling and camping in the nearby woods and hills. He was an avid tennis and soccer player, often heading off to a match after having worked an early shift in his father's bakery most Saturday mornings. Dancing was a passion he enjoyed all his life. Jim attended Jordan Hill College of Physical Education and Hygiene after passing his O levels, served in the Royal British Marines, then accepted an itinerant teaching position in West Calder School District, teaching Physical Education at all levels of the system, often riding his bicycle to distant schools. He was a Scout leader and soccer coach, as well as a fine Scottish country dance team member. In 1954, Jim immigrated to Canada with his wife Jessie and their young family to take up a teaching position in Mossbank, Saskatchewan, a position he held for four years, followed by a number of years with the Saskatchewan Government's Department of Recreation. There he made many life long friends including Jack Mackenzie of Regina and Harry and Joan Sirett. In 1963, the family moved to Winnipeg where Jim accepted a position at the Manitoba Teachers' College which later became the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. As well as teaching Curriculum and Instruction courses, Jim designed a selection of electives which incorporated his love of music, dance, geography and travel as examples of an integrated way of teaching children. Part of his community outreach was to accept requests to do demonstration teaching in classrooms across the province. Many of his students became life long friends. He was an astute faculty advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students. Jim spent his entire career in the field of education, retiring in 1993. In his leisure time, Jim enjoyed theatre, singing and playing his four string guitar, dancing, running and skiing in Birds Hill Park, entertaining, writing poetry and baking his delicious bridies. His travels took him to many parts of the world, including several trips to Australia and New Zealand. He played an integral part in the organization of the Manitoba International Folk Dance Federation, MIFDA, along with his long time colleague Dr. Jane Evans. Life was always interesting for Jim and he took great joy in discovering new people and places. Jim and Gail retired to Victoria in 2010 to enjoy the lovely weather, beautiful surroundings and to seek out new adventures. Sincere thanks to the staff at Beckley Farm Lodge, both the day program leaders and the extended care staff who supported Jim the last several months. Also to the staff of 4 A South Victoria General Hospital for their compassionate care. Grateful thanks to friends and neighbours for their support and generous offers of assistance. There will be no service by request. Flowers are gratefully declined. A donation to a charity for children would be most appreciated. Condolences to the family at

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on May 26, 2018

Condolences & Memories (3 entries)

  • Jim was much more than a "jock". He had innovative ideas for physical education and how it could be used to promote children's academic development. He was a stimulating and supportive colleague with whom I enjoyed working even though our specialties were different. - Posted by: Harvey Williams (Colleague at University of Manitoba and friend) on: Aug 26, 2018

  • So sorry to hear of Jim"s passing. I cut Jim's beautiful white hair for many years and he always kept me entertained with great stories! - Posted by: Mary-Anne Buffie (Friend) on: Jun 01, 2018

  • I will always remember your pies and what a great baker you were. Family camping trips in our Volkswagon bus. You used to let me drive the bus down our back lane on Sansome. You converted it into a camper, Detroit Lakes was a happy place to go to. Mom was always there keeping it together. Fishing Bridge catching sunfish. I remember our last camping trip together, just the two of us we had Corrie with us, our little Cairn all the way from Scotland. We did some great little island camping into Dog tooth Lake. We paddled that Canoe for hours till we found a great little island to camp out on. Talk about roughing it. Being your dance partner when you would take me out to teach Folk Dancing and the Folk Dancing Festivals. I loved going to those with you.Gail Ryan another one of your colleagues whom was also a great dancer, those are the memories I will hang on to Dad. - Posted by: Carol Paci (daughter ) on: May 27, 2018

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