The family of James Calanchie of Yorkton, beloved husband of Irene, sadly announce his passing on January 27th, 2021. He was 94 years of age. A private ceremony will be held when we can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice.
James (Jim) Calanchie was born May 5, 1926 (the fifth of the fifth of ’26 as he said) in a log house on the farm at Calder, Sask. One of 11 sons, he attended Minerva country school where students were involved in sports at recess and sports days. They were encouraged to attend Farm Boys Camps at the Yorkton Exhibition, a precursor to 4H camps. He attended Calder School, Yorkton Collegiate Institute, and went on to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan in 1949 with a Degree in Agriculture. While working at the Federal Department of Agriculture (Plant Products Lab) in Calgary he met the love of his life, Irene Mary Paterson. They were married on Aug. 30,1952 and in 1955 moved to Calder to become farmers.
Jim and Irene raised 3 daughters and became a part of the Calder community, and MacNutt as well where they moved to enjoy indoor plumbing and send the girls to school. There were many social gatherings including whist drives, bridge games, community and 4H dances and achievement days, piano lessons and recitals, and skating. While in MacNutt Jim and a friend set up and led the 4H club for boys, teaching them about raising beef and potatoes. He helped with the building of the MacNutt Centennial rink in 1967, the Farmer’s Union, the Credit Union and the MacNutt Board of Trade. They moved to Yorkton in 1972 when Irene returned to work.
They enjoyed memorable trips to Costa Rica, Mexico, Arizona, California, an Alaskan cruise, and throughout Canada to visit friends and family, and many drives around Saskatchewan crop checking in the fall. He learned to play bridge at a very young age and said he remembered every bridge hand he had ever played. He and Irene played bridge well into their 90’s. Jim never fully retired from farming, spending most summer days there, tinkering, cutting grass, and gardening. “He was never happier than when
his family was gathered around him” as they did often, especially for the family farm weekends.
Jim was predeceased by his parents Wasyl Eli Calanchie and Maria Morari, all of his brothers John, George (Margaret, Rose), Peter (Rose), Harry (Doris), Kost (as an infant), Nick (Jean), Bill (Joyce), Mike (Corinne), Eli and Alex, and most recently by his eldest daughter Elisa Ariss. He is survived by Irene, his wife of 68 years, daughters Lenore (Theo) Denbrok and Barbara (Mark) Anderson, son-in-law Ed Ariss, grandchildren Sara (Steven), Daniel (Erin) and Adam (Sabrina) Ariss, Anika (Chris) Southam, Carla (Brian) Earl, Jessica Denbrok, James, Kiernan (Amy) and Brendan Anderson as well as 10 beloved great-grandchildren, sisters-in-law Bev Calanchie and Lorna Murray, and many nieces and nephews.
Dad was firm in his beliefs. He quit smoking at 29 and became a distance walker in his 60’s; he worked hard to encourage everyone to do the same. He wanted the best for others and was generous, helping where he perceived a need. He stressed the importance of learning peoples’ names and stories. For years he picked up hitchhikers on the way to and from the farm, learning about them and asking if they had eaten that day, providing the cost of a meal if needed. He was, to quote Elisa “always doing for others.” He was an enthusiastic sports fan; watching hockey, the Riders and the Blue Jays with his children and grandchildren was a great joy to him, especially with those who shared his passion. He tended to cheer for the underdog in sports and in life. He was a gentleman, teaching his grandsons to develop a firm handshake. He was a lifelong learner, reading about new scientific advances and sharing this knowledge. He loved the farm and was very connected to the land; he took great pride in raising food for a hungry world. He was gentle and soft-spoken—a devoted, kind and generous husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Jim passed away peacefully with family by his side on Jan. 27, 2021. We would like to thank many for their care for Jim over the past months: The staff at the Yorkton Bentley and Aspen Bluffs, the oncology team in Regina, the Yorkton Regional Health Centre, and most especially Dr. A. Van Heerden for his many years of excellent care for our father.