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Jim was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta and grew up surrounded by many colourful family members, apparent by the numerous stories that he shared. The one boy surrounded by many girls and women, prepared well for the family he would eventually have.
As a youth, Dad lifeguarded and figure skated, among other pastimes. During high school, he was a mail-boy at the Ogilvie Flour Mill, launching his career in the grain industry. After graduating, he took a job with Ogilvies in Winnipeg, then transferred to Edmonton. With destiny's help, in 1957 Dad met our Mom, his sweetheart Shirley, who lived across the hall in the building they inhabited with 75 other single people! He was promoted into the role of grain Traffic Manager back home in Medicine Hat, and it was here that all four of us daughters were born. Transferred again to Winnipeg, our family settled in. Hard work took Dad up the corporate ladder into the position of Senior Officer for Western Canada, which held a seat on the Grain Exchange. A grain man throughout his official working years, he last worked for United Grain Growers.
Dad's value for family is deeply instilled in us. Our childhood was filled with the bounty of his creativity. He was renowned for the celebrations he organized, from special birthday parties for us, to elaborate costume parties that his wide circle of friends and extended family looked forward to. We still love looking through the photo albums he put together that document this legacy.
Dad loved to camp and we explored many beautiful places. He and Mom eventually set up camp in Birds Hill Park, where he was volunteer campground host for eight years, a perfect fit for the people-person that he was. When Dad and Mom retired out to Winnipeg Beach, he quickly got involved in the community and his circle of friends continued to grow. Over the years, he volunteered for COPPS (local neighborhood patrol), Legion events, was active in the Seniors Club, played in golf, card and cribbage clubs, and was on the planning committee for the Winnipeg Beach Centennial.
Dad had a big heart and reached a helping hand out to anyone in need. While in hospital recovering after surgery last year, he bought his 'roommate', who he of course befriended, a much-appreciated bus ticket home to northern Manitoba. That's just who Dad was.
Dad was an avid historian. This passion led him to a long volunteer career with the Manitoba Genealogical Society (MGS) Library. He traced six of our family trees, unearthing some interesting stories, and with his research team helped people worldwide trace their roots. He dedicated countless hours archiving Winnipeg obituaries. Dad worked at MGS for 25 years, and only recently resigned his position as Chair of the Research Department due to the progression of his illness.
Dad was able to stay at home in Winnipeg Beach with Mom with the help of us daughters for most of his illness. Our heartfelt thanks to the homecare nurses who assisted with his care the last few weeks. Extreme gratitude to the Gimli Community Health Centre staff, in particular the nurses who cared for him his last few days and hours. The compassion of many allowed our family to be together his final few days until the moment he passed. Special thanks to Dr. Paul and Dr. Nashed, who cared for him throughout his illness; Dad held high regard for you both.
Jim is lovingly remembered by his wife Shirley; daughters, Sheryn (Glenn), Brenda, Jill (Mark), and Joy (Dave); grandchildren, Steve, James, Leanne, Tyson, Bailie (Ray), Quinn, Amory, and Sammy; close cousins, Pam (Bill), and Peter (Linda) and loving extended family. He was predeceased by his parents, Archie and Jean, and sister Barbara.
The family will have a private Celebration of Life and continue that on a daily basis.

We love you Dad,
you will be greatly missed.

Donations in Jim's name can be made to CancerCare or the MGS Library.

Condolences may be left on his tribute wall at

Gilbart Funeral Home, Gimli
in care of arrangements.

Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jul 10, 2021

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • I met Jim when I was working at the library in Gimli and before long, he became one of my favorite patrons. Always so pleasant and kind. Sending my deepest sympathy to his family. - Posted by: melanie dryden (friends) on: Jul 20, 2021

  • We lived over the back lane from Jim and Shirley when we first moved to Winnipeg Beach. Jim came over and hung a bottle of his home made wine on our fence and introduced himself as the nosy neighbour, which he never was. The four of us had many nice nights sitting on the deck and solving everyone's problems as we thought. We will miss Jim very much and we wish Shirley and family all the best. Ken and Sandy Johnstone. - Posted by: Sandra Johnstone (friend) on: Jul 17, 2021

  • The relationship between the Rutherford and Grant families goes back a long way. It took forever for Mr. Rutherford to get me to call him Jim. That's just the way we were raised. My parents played bridge through the winters with the Rutherfords, the Thompsons and the Parks for many years until my parents returned to Saskatoon. Through the years, I met all the Rutherford daughters and Jim's parents, Archie and Jean. I would run into Jim and Shirley at the grocery store once in a while in Gimli. I would like to extend my sincere and deepest condolences to Shirley and their family upon Jim's passing. A finer friend, one cannot find. - Posted by: Michael Grant (Family friend) on: Jul 16, 2021

  • My memory of Jim goes back to our membership in the MTPA, in the 80’s. We lost track and then accidentally met at the Winnipeg Beach Golf course. My friendship with Jim and Shirley flourished, she was my favourite golf buddy. I moved to the Okanagan in 2005 and the intrepid Rutherfords made two driving visits. I am moving back to Winnipeg this fall and am sorry I will not see my good buddy. I channel Jim several days when I make his favourite (and now mine) peanut butter and tomato sandwich for lunch. Cheers my good friend. - Posted by: Alix Washchyshyn (Old friend) on: Jul 12, 2021

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