Jan. 22, 1931 – Jan 22, 2012
Passed away on his 81st birthday at the Campbell River Hospital with his loving wife and daughter at his side. Jim was born in Aberdeen, Washington, on January 22, 1931, to John and Eunice Kretz. Predeceased by brothers John, Darrell, and sister Janice, Jim is survived by his wife of 47 years, Diana, son John, daughter Constance and sister Willow (Everett) Burts.
Jim came to Canada in the late 1950s to work with his brother Darrell who was logging on Read Island. Previously he had served two years in the US Army and graduated with a degree in music from Washington State University at Pullman (he taught music in Colfax, Washington – choral and instrument for all grades), but left that behind when he discovered the freedom of living on the BC coast. In 1962 he worked for Bill Whittington’s logging operations on Read Island running the donkey and V-8 Cat and falling timber. He later fell timber at Kelsey Bay for MacMillan Bloedel and during shutdowns would go to other camps on the coast.
In 1964 he married Diana Hudson from Campbell River, almost missing his wedding in Vancouver when a snowstorm threatened to strand him in Bute Inlet where he was working for Lloyd Fair. He and Diana later built their home on Hudson’s Farm overlooking Discovery Passage.
Read Island remained a favourite place and after marriage he again worked there, at Evans Bay, this time for Jack Baikie and Harper Graham who had purchased the Whittington’s camp. Later, when he and Diana moved to Campbell River, he applied to MacMillan Bloedel’s Menzies Bay Division. There, he fell timber and also was one of the leaders of the 1972 fallers’ strike. He remained at Menzies Bay until his retirement in 1991.
Jim spent his free time on the farm clearing fields, mowing hay, splitting posts, and cutting wood for the annual winter supply until he was 79. He enjoyed choir music for many years as a member of the Campbell River Singers and acted in several musicals at the Tidemark Theatre, including Fiddler on the Roof and Anne of Green Gables.
Many thanks for the compassionate care from our wonderful health community, including home support and home care staff who helped Jim remain at home as long as possible, Geri Arkell and nurses of the Cancer Care Clinic, the nurses and staff of the Campbell River Hospital, especially third-floor north, and doctors Brian Carswell, Willem Prinsloo and Neil Wilcox of Campbell River, and Heidi Martins and Paul Blood in Victoria.
A gathering will be held to celebrate Jim’s life on Sunday, February 19, 2012, from 1pm to 4pm at the home he built for his family.