RICHARDS- James (Jim) Ward Richards, jokester, honest guy, conversationalist and man of many funny faces was born in January, 1926 near Bangor, SK. He died October 11, 2017 in Saskatoon, SK. The birth and death of this man are not nearly as relevant as all the days and nights he lived life to the fullest in between. As a child of the depression, growing up on a farm with 11 brothers and sisters, James learned to live within his means, how to laugh, dance, be active and also how to enjoy simple pleasures. If you were lucky enough to be in his inner circle you would know that imitating his friends and neighbours was a favourite pastime and a sincere compliment to the character being imitated. He should have been a Rich Little. This tradition began with his mother, Margaret, probably to the chagrin of his father, Michael Richards. He dearly loved his brothers and sisters, Winnie, Margaret, Ida, Bill, Gwladys, John, Nest, Megan, Bob, Enid and David. He was kind and helpful to them and a good son and brother too. As an adult he left the farm and went to work in Yorkton, SK where he met the woman who would endure 63 years of teasing, Leona. She couldn't resist his blue eyes and big smile so she married him in 1954. James and Leona bought a farm and proceeded to have four children, Garth, Raymond, Russell and Sherry. Jim took his responsibility as family man very seriously. He worked hard and built his family a new home, made time for activities for the kids, even building them a skating rink most winters. He loved his kids. Yes meant yes and no meant no, Jim's children could always count on their Dad. Jim believed in helping his neighbours and his community. He was the first to show up in times of trouble to lend a hand and spent countless hours and many years serving as an RM councillor and Reeve for the municipality of Saltcoats. He belonged to the Wheat Pool, took a course in public speaking and received a Farm Family award for Soil Conservation. He was a little ahead of his time in that department. He planted shelter belts in the yard and the fields to preserve the soil and the wildlife. He loved nature and felt great satisfaction that the birds he dearly loved and animals would have more habitat because of him. James loved farming but he also loved people so when he retired it didn't take him long to convince Leona to move to Saskatoon where there was more people and more action. Life after retirement was full, busy and fun for James and Leona. They had a travelling van and made full use of it. Jim loved walking, bowling, singing, music, church, horseshoes, watching boxing, going for a drive to see things, anything made with raisins, watching birds, having coffee with friends, soft vanilla ice cream, snowshoeing, dancing, playing marbles, smiling, his cap, a particular plaid shirt and a ratty old sweater vest that he liked to wear daily. In 1993 James realized a childhood dream and travelled to Patagonia, Argentina to meet his Welsh first cousins. The Welsh language that he spoke and his Welsh family roots were important to him and years later when he met more family straight from Wales he was thrilled to be able to use his childhood language once more. If you asked Jim if he had any regrets about his life he would say "Yes, there's two, I felt that I missed my calling, I would have liked to become a minister because I like to help people, and…I wish that I could have spent more time with my kids." Jim made up for that lost time by being an incredible fun loving grandfather to 7 adoring grandchildren, Tallia, Lindee, Garrett, Logan, Laura, Stacey and Katie. Even when dementia had taken a firm hold of Jim all one had to do was produce one of his 3 great-grandchildren and you were guaranteed a smile from ear to ear. We don't think he missed his calling, his kindness and loving nature was evident his whole life. There were always extras at the table at James and Leona's. Whether it was neighbour kids, nieces or nephews, visitors, or people he just met, friends old and new, Jim had a smile and extended his hand. He had a way of making you feel special and he left a lasting impression on more people than he will ever know. James was a fine man, one that his wife Leona and family are very proud of and he was dearly loved. He shall be dearly missed. Jim's funeral was held on October 19 at the Saskatoon Funeral Home. If you would like to honour Jim's memory, donations can be made to the Alzheimers Society. Condolences to the family can be made at www.saskatoonfuneralhome.com.
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