September 26, 1942 to April 15, 2007
Jim was born in Yellowknife, NWT on September 26, 1942 to Anne and Jim Casselman. Unconditional love was woven into the fabric of youth by his parents, grandparents and very large extended family. The family moved several times during Jim’s youth, eventually settling in Trail, BC where Jim graduated from High School.
Jim’s sparkling discovery of Erica in June 1969 began a remarkable human connection. They were married in Nelson on August 25, 1973. Their relationship flourished, providing each of them a solid sense of self-worth and sense of belonging. Each day they honoured their commitment, passion and devotion toward each other. This magical relationship was enhanced by the birth of three children, Ivan (1979), Emma (1981 who died shortly after birth) and Graham (1982). Jim described fatherhood as an “extraordinary adventure with limitless rewards”. He never grew weary of supporting them, guiding them, encouraging them, enjoying them, hugging them and loving them - even during his illness.
Jim had an inherent gift of learning and teaching. His formal education included a Chemical Technician Certificate, Bachelor of Education, Masters of Education, Public Administration, Amateur Radio License, Canadian Power Squadron, Intermediate & Mediterranean Cruising Certificate. Jim’s teaching career was in Salmon Arm from 1974-2003. His asbestos exposure was traced back to his early years of teaching. He taught Industrial Education, Computer Science and Math at the Junior High level. Ex-students continually express gratitude to Jim.
Jim was exceptionally gifted in the “art of teaching himself”. He was called the “project man” . . . creating something out of wood or metal, fixing anything that was broken, inventing things to make them work more efficiently and teaching his repertoire of skills to anyone who wanted to learn. Family and friends appreciated his sailing expertise, from Kootenay Lake and the Gulf Islands to the Ionian and Aegean Seas. He was an advanced downhill skier and rowed sculls. Inspired by his sons’ competitive swimming, Jim spent the last 15 years of his life attempting to become an Olympic swimmer! Erica joined this swimming passion of his and together they swam and competed for several years. The last event was the Worlds Masters Games in Edmonton, July 2005, a foreshadowing of Jim’s illness.
It was Jim’s diagnosis of mesothelioma in October 2005 and the following 18 months of living with this harsh, cruel and terrifying disease that revealed his remarkable humanistic traits. His willingness to share and speak the truth about this disease was appreciated by family and friends. Jim researched, every day, the availability of a clinical trial. He was always grateful for just “one more day” to spend with his cherished family, supportive friends and the gifts the universe offered him. His sense of justice continued to prevail when he encouraged the family to take on the task to close Canada’s asbestos mines. His love for his family grew exponentially.
On April 1st, Jim and Erica traveled to Edmonton where Jim began a clinical trial at the Cross Cancer Institute. He died April 15, 2007.
Throughout his life Jim showed infinite kindness and caring, and taught us the art of unqualified love . . . how to give it and how to receive it. He is missed, loved and remembered every single moment.