James Gordon was welcomed into this world by his proud parents, Gordon Wilfred and Jean Eileen (Teschke) Lipskie on Saturday, November 6, 1948, in Chesley. The Lipskie family resided south of Desboro, on the 8th concession, and mixed farmed, where Jim joined older sister Helen (1946). The two were soon joined by younger siblings Brian (1952), Joyce (1956), and Darlene (1964). To say, they had a full house would be an understatement, as Jim’s family shared the same roof with Uncle Clarence, Aunt Eva, and their five children as well as Grandma Lipskie – meaning the household totaled 14. Can we say FULL house? 🙂 The children attended S.S. # 8, Sullivan, before Jim went on to attend West Hill Secondary School in Owen Sound.
At the age of 16, Jim left school and began working. The first few years included a variety of jobs like picking tobacco and roofing in the summer months. Jim also worked for Mr. Pillar at Rothsay, before taking a job with RCA Electronics in Owen Sound. In 1968, at the age of 20, Jim began working for PPG (formerly CPI) in Owen Sound. Who knew that his career with PPG would span the next 40 years – and end on the same day the company itself closed its doors for the final time! Through his four decades at PPG, Jim worked in every single department except for Maintenance. It was here where Jim was introduced to a young woman by the name of Karlene Alice Hewitson and guess where she worked? Well, in the Maintenance department of course! Lol! The two enjoyed a short courtship before being married at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sullivan Township on Saturday, May 17, 1969. The newlyweds soon called Owen Sound home, where they welcomed their first daughter, Jeannette in December of 1969. Tammy’s arrival made the family complete in January of 1972. The Lipskie’s later moved south, calling Williamsford home. The year was 1976.
Jim and Karlene quickly settled into the small community and regularly volunteered their time at a variety of community events. Jim always put the needs of everyone else before his own and could often be found helping out at the annual Senior Men’s Hockey Tournament, Walk and Bike-a-thons, snowmobile poker runs, and car rallies, just to name a few. Together, they also spent countless hours, like many others in the community, cleaning up after the devastating tornado in 1996. Jim enjoyed several hobbies, which included fishing, hunting, vegetable gardening, spending time outdoors, especially hiking and walking, often in his green getaway boots (ask the girls..), and the memorable Sunday afternoon drives! Who could forget the frequent dump runs to the Sullivan landfill where he often enjoyed visiting with his father and Uncle Clarence. Jim also loved playing games with his family, which included Yahtzee, cribbage, cards (euchre, sheepshead to name a few). Jim was an avid sports fan and loved his beloved Blue Jays and Maple Leafs. He was even a Penguins supporter for a few years. I am told he “pretended” to coach men’s slowpitch and hockey, as he enjoyed the social time. In his younger years, Jim also played some broomball and curled.
Jim was a country boy at heart! He would take his girls to the family farm on a regular basis to help his parents in the early years. He later helped Darlene and Robert, on their farm and accompanied Robert on long trucking trips all over Ontario to assist with deliveries. He treasured hunting season and an opportunity to get outdoors. As one might expect at the end of the day, that often included a beverage (or a few…), with Labatt 50, Export, Colt 45, or Crystal at the Desboro Tavern where he would enjoy spareribs and sauerkraut made by his mother or Aunt Eva. When not experiencing the world on foot, Jim looked for any excuse to get out for a road trip. Together with his girls, this was a regular occurrence, and they all look back with fondness on these adventures together. Jim and Karlene also enjoyed trips to Calgary, Banff, Port Coquitlam, and Boston. Throughout the years, Jim and his family had many beloved pets which included dogs, cats, rabbits, and ducks, but definitely, NO SNAKES. After retiring, Jim enjoyed spending more time doing crosswords and reading and loved the opportunity to pick up a good C.J. Box novel. He was also known to have a soft spot for anything Star Trek, Westerns, and sappy movies. Together with Karlene, Jim enjoyed attending local dances, as he was an excellent dancer and loved a good Polka. He also had a deep appreciation for anything potatoes – yes, you read that right. I am told that some form of spud was a staple in his daily diet. It could have been potato pancakes, German fried potatoes, potato soup, or scalloped potatoes, as Jim wasn’t picky and loved anything potato! He always looked forward to the potato pancake parties at the farm.
Although outgoing and social, Jim was a true family man. He loved his three girls deeply and would do anything for them. He loved driving five hours north to Jeannette and Jason’s ranch to dog sit, go for hikes in the bush, plow the field, and ride the ATVs. He supported both girls in all of their sports and in 2009 cheered Tammy on while she ran the Toronto marathon and again in 2011 when the family took the trip to Boston where Tammy ran the Boston marathon. Becoming a grandfather was another highlight for Jim, as he loved spending all the time he could with Tyler, Brooke and Reid. This often included playing a variety of games, as well as attending a great deal of their sporting events. Jim and Karlene were often in attendance at a variety of hockey, lacrosse, and track and field events through the years. Distance didn’t matter as they would drive two hours to attend, then have a short visit with family after the event, before making the drive back home. Thankfully, these memories and many more stories (just ask the girls about Karlene’s Christmas gift – the grandmother clock) will allow for Jim to continue to live on in all of us for many years to come.
In 2018, Jim and Karlene downsized, as their Williamsford property became too much for the two of them. They soon called Hanover home, where Jim enjoyed the support of his loving wife, family, friends and made new friends with fellow tenants. Jim and Karlene enjoyed attending meat draws at the Hanover Legion, various community bingos and cruising the country roads to see familiar sites. His declining health presented many challenges, however, he made the most of each day and appreciated all the support he received from family and friends as it allowed him to remain at home with Karlene. In recent weeks, his condition worsened, and Jim passed away at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Durham on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, in his 76th year. He is now on his hunting stand above us.
Beloved husband of Karlene (Hewitson) for 54 years. Loving father of Jeannette Lipskie (Jason Eyres) of Markstay-Warren and Tammy Playter (Patrick Henneberry) of Milton. Cherished grandfather of Tyler (Samantha), Brooke and Reid. Jim will be dearly missed by his sisters, Helen (Keith) Jank of Calgary, Darlene (Robert) Thompson of Keady, and sister-in-law Barb Lipskie of Peterborough. He was predeceased by his brother Brian, sister Joyce (Ross) Long, and his parents Gordon and Jean (Teschke) Lipskie.
A casual, come-and-go celebration of Jim’s life will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 1 – 3 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear their hunting or John Deere hats, as that is exactly what Jim would have wanted.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to The War Amps or a charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.