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Jim Cavill

Rhody Family Funeral Home

James “Jim” was welcomed into the world by proud parents Grant and Florence (MacDonald) Cavill on July 27, 1946, in Hanover. Jim was the eldest sibling of Jack, Janet, Joyce, and Joe. The Cavill family lived on a beef farm on the 4th of Elderslie. Jim and his siblings attended the S.S #12 one-room schoolhouse on the 2nd of Elderslie and then went on to attend Chesley High School. From a young age, farming was in Jim’s blood. He helped his dad with the chores, and Jim was a member of junior farmers. When Jim was sixteen, his father died in a tragic farming accident, so Jim quickly took on the father figure role to his younger siblings, and continued to work hard on the farm to make money and provide for the family. Jim would drive the tractor to school and pick up feed on his way home. He also worked many side jobs to make money, such as working for the Bruce County Road Department after school. Jim attended the University of Guelph for Agriculture for a few short months, he had to leave because of health issues and later decided not to return because of all the work there was to do at home and to help his family.

Although he was working hard, Jim knew how to have fun. There was a group of neighbourhood kids; Harold Thomson, Keith Elder, Francis Halliday, Don McAllister, Elroy Thomson, and Murray Garrett, that spent many days and made memories together. Jim owned his own race car, and he would work on it with his friends, and drive it in local races. One story that he loved to share with his family was when Jim, Harold and Keith drove the pickup truck out west with a mattress in the back cab, taking turns driving, to attend the Calgary Stampede. I’m sure there were many special memories made on that trip!

Jim had many, many friends. He enjoyed day trips away, auction sales, and joking backing back and forth with all the people he would see every day.

Jim began driving truck for Steve Duff, then he started building barns and sheds for J & H Fleming Builders, and in 1969, he started working for Alf and Shirley Lang driving the fuel truck in Elmwood. He also helped the Langs with farming, and doing pickups and deliveries every day, often sleeping on their couch, as he was back up early for work the next day. 1974 was a big year for Jim. He purchased the fuel business from the BP, and established James Cavill Fuels. This was also the year he met Bonnie Darlene Richards. They dated for a year and were married on November 14, 1975 at St. John’s United Church in Chesley. At that time, Bonnie was living in an apartment in Chesley, so once married, Jim moved in with Bonnie. After a year, they purchased the Cavill family farm and moved the business to the farm as well. Bonnie worked closely with Jim on the farm and in the business, answering the phone and doing the books.

On November 26, 1978, Jim and Bonnie proudly welcomed their daughter Sarah. Sarah quickly became Jim’s sidekick. Jim built a box that went in the tractor so Sarah could sleep in the box while he was in the fields. From the moment she could walk, Jim taught Sarah how to drive a tractor and the lawnmower. They took one family trip when Sarah was four, to Santa’s Village.

Jim and Sarah were two peas in a pod, and they worked well together. Sarah helped with the business when she could throughout the years, however when her girls were off to school and were old enough she was able to return and work with him daily. One time when Sarah maybe wasn’t the happiest with Jim was on Sarah and Greg’s wedding day. Jim was responsible for bringing their dog to the wedding so she could be the flower dog. When Jim let the dog out, the dog was sprayed by a skunk. Jim, not knowing what the best thing to do was, got a can of air freshener, and tried to eliminate the smell that way. When that didn’t work, Bonnie went out to get peroxide and baking soda to help with the smell. As most people know, it is really hard to get rid of the skunk smell, so when the dog arrived at the wedding, the smell of skunk was still very strong, despite their best efforts to hide the smell!

Jim was a very active member of St. John’s United Church. He was involved with the Chesley Optimist Club, and the International Club. He was a big part of the Saugeen Antique Power Show and later joined the Bruce County Heritage Association.

Jim never stopped his odd jobs, pumping gas every Friday night for the Monks, working for the Bruce County School Board blowing snow in Chesley, and sweeping all the Bruce County School parking lots. He broke into the market garden business with his tomato farm.

He supplied year-end trophies and medals to local Minor Hockey teams and Paisley Skating Club and 2 baseball teams. Jim was a gold sponsor of the Hanover Barons and would try to attend every game, even away games. Jim could find any excuse to go for a drive. If there was a tornado that had touched down somewhere, he would have to go check it out. If there was a part he needed, he would make the trip, and always made sure he never went hungry. You could never miss that pickup truck, as he was always driving 80-85 km with the “Cavill 3” licence plate! Jim took a lot of pride in his tractors. He liked his tractors like he liked his ketchup… RED!!  Jim showed his antique tractors and threshing machine in local shows but didn’t like to take the threshing machine if it was raining!

Jim enjoyed camping at Saugeen Bluffs, and then parking the trailer permanently in Sauble Beach. He enjoyed coming up after a long day’s work but right home the next morning. Jim liked doing word searches and listening to Charley Pride and old country music. He also enjoyed getting out on his snowmobile. In recent years, he enjoyed watching the 6 p.m. news, Golden Girls, Three’s Company, and on Fridays, he always watched Dallas. Although oftentimes, the TV watched Jim more than Jim watched it, as he would fall asleep with the remote in his hand. He could be asleep for an hour, and if you tried to steal the remote from his hand, he would immediately wake up. Like many farmers, all Jim needed was a quick ten-minute catnap on the kitchen couch after lunch, and he was good to go for the rest of the day. When Jim would go anywhere, it was not often that his clothes would be completely clean, usually having some sort of stain on his shirt!

Jim spent every Sunday morning at Cravings in Hanover with friends, and would always be sure to bring breakfast home for Bonnie. Jim liked his sweets. When offered a treat, he would say “Oh, I shouldn’t” but then ate it anyway. He had a tendency to pick up treats, but they wouldn’t all make it home. Jim would stop at Schultz’s Bakery for a dozen donuts, and only come home with six, saying the box “fell open” on the way home. One day in the work truck, Sarah picked up two coffees, a croissant for herself and a muffin for him. When she got back in the truck, both the croissant and muffin were gone, and Jim had eaten them! He enjoyed his coffee stops, Pepsi and a meal of meat, potatoes, and vegetables. He would have a “bucket of cereal” for breakfast every morning. When there was no milk left in the fridge, most people would eat something else for breakfast. Not Jim! He would pour orange juice on his cereal instead!

Jim’s favourite meals were free meals! When they would go for a meal, he would ask Bonnie if they had any coupons (Gift Cards) people had given him! Usually, his family could order for him, knowing it was either a banquet burger with fries (definitely no mayo) or fish and chips. No matter the meal, there HAD to be Heinz Ketchup. Jim and Sarah often joked that they had to put ketchup on everything Bonnie cooked in order to get it down! He put ketchup on his ketchup, and often left a little in his mustache!

Jim loved joking with people when he was out and giving everyone a hard time! Rarely did Jim swear, and when he did, he would apologize right after. Jim was very caring and selfless. He had a heart of gold, putting others’ needs above his own. He loved to help, and never looked for praise. Jim wasn’t very affectionate, however, his family and friends always knew that he loved them. Every Valentine’s Day, Jim bought flowers for Bonnie. His love grew for his family the day his two granddaughters, Sierra and Addison, were born. When Sierra was born, it was one of the best days of his life, but it was also hard for him because Sarah wouldn’t be available to help him as much. When Sierra and Addison came into the family, they immediately had Jim wrapped around their finger. He spoiled them with new bikes, a trampoline, kids gator, a swing set, Kayaks and more. In turn, the family bought Jim a golf cart and painted it red for his birthday. He took them for many tours in it and would even let them drive. Jim and Bonnie would take the girls to Walmart, McDonalds or Harvey’s, and no matter what, there was always room for ice cream at Brant Drive-In or Dairy Queen.

Jim had dealt with health issues for some years, however, he never stopped working. Jim was working up until the Monday before he passed away on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at Brightshores Health Systems in Owen Sound in his 78th year.

Beloved husband of Bonnie (Richards). Loving father of Sarah (Greg) Cavill-Hutton of Paisley. Cherished grandfather of Sierra and Addison, and family dog Cash. Dear brother of Jack (Ellen) of R.R.#3 Chesley, Janet (Don) Gransden of Owen Sound and Joyce McDonald of Walkerton, and brother-in-law of Joan (Jim) Ruth, Freeda Davidson, and Betty (Don) Duff. Jim will be missed by many nieces, nephews, and members of the Richards family. Predeceased by his brother Joe Cavill, and his parents Grant and Florence (MacDonald) Cavill.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley, on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m. A funeral service honouring Jim’s life will be held at the Chesley Community Centre on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 2 p.m. Interment in St. Andrew’s Cemetery, Elderslie Township.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Bruce County Heritage Steam Show (cheques payable to the Bruce County Heritage Association), or to the Grey Bruce Animal Shelter would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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