Jacob (Jim) Heppner passed away peacefully March 25, 2004 in G.R. Baker Hospital in Quesnel. Jim will be sadly missed by his family and friends.
Jim was born February 7, 1926 in Laird, Saskatchewan. He was the 6th of 13 children and the first of four sets of twins born to John and Mary Heppner.
Jim’s father, John, was a steam engineer and moved his family 29 times in 25 years.
In 1933 the family moved out of Sandy Lake, Sask., because there was no school for the children and they settled in Waldheim, Sask. They stayed there for 2 1/2 years.
Young Jim worked on the family farm and in 1937 his father passed away and Jim had to become the man of the house.
In 1941 Jim’s mom sold everything and decided to move the family to B.C.
They traveled south through the USA and then back up the B.C., finally settling in Yarrow, B.C. and again worked the land.
Jim’s mom wanted him to go back to school, but Jim refused. He helped around the farm and unknowingly his mom registered Jim at the unemployment agency. He was only 15, but his mom said he was 16.
Soon after, the West Coast shipyard in False Creek was calling and young Jim began his working career. His first job was a rivet catcher. He worked his days in the shipyard catching 300 rivets a day for sixty-two cents an hour. He made 56 dollars every two weeks and would keep 20 dollars and would send the rest to support his family.
Jim eventually became part of the shell gang. There he would lay in the hull of the ship in water and hammer in hot rivets. Doing this day after day, Jim development a kidney disease and was forced to quit. When he was well enough to work again, he got a job in a box factory. He worked various other jobs before finally moving to the Cariboo in 1951.
He settled in Quesnel and started a 40 year career with a Quesnel sawmill, later known as Weldwood.
Jim had a very big heart and would do anything for anyone at any time.
He was often seen at the arena in the winter or the ball park in the summer supporting his children as they played.
He supported them 100 percent and never complained about the cost, never complained about the lack of sleeping taking Roy and Ken to hockey or Rhonda to figure skating at 5:00 a.m. before work. He was proud of all his children.
Jim’s other passions were fishing, carpentry work and playing his guitars. He was known for having the strongest built furniture around. If it wasn’t built out of a 2×6 or 2×4 cedar, it wasn’t strong enough. A simple picnic table would take 4 people to move. He took price in this and you dared not say anything about it. When Jim retired, his friends at Weldwood bought him a thickness planer. This really lightened up the wood working projects.
Jim loved his guitars and cold play very well. He always had to bring his guitars to family functions or a house party to entertain people. However singing was not one of his strong points.
As the year went on and Jim’s hearing declined, his amps got bigger and louder. You could drive into Carson Sub and hear his guitar a block away. Many times the children would come over and just sit and listen. Jim wouldn’t even know they were there. Anyone could have robbed the house and he wouldn’t have had a clue as long as they didn’t unplug his amps.
Jim also had a great knowledge of boxing and followed it close. If anyone needed a trivia question answered, they would phone Jim. He could tell the time of any knock out of any fight. He would even tell what type of punch it was.
Jim was an entertainer and very funny man. Not many people saw this side of him. When the family got together, the whole objective was to give Jim a few drinks and get him telling jobs. Once they had him going, he would go on forever. Everyone would be in stitches laughing. You never heard the same joke twice and at the next function, it would be the same thing. The family could never figure out where he stored all these jokes.
When his grandchildren arrived, Jim’s childhood started all over. They would all love to come visit, grandpa was so funny. He would play cards with them for hours, even when it was painful for him to sit at the table.
Easter was Jim’s favorite time, he always had the Easter egg hunt. After a few years the kids knew all of grandpa’s hiding spots. They will all miss this day.
Jim’s health declined over the last few years, but his spirit remained strong and he always felt that he would bounce back. He fought hard to the end, never giving up. Finally he is at peace.
Jim is survived by his wife Elsie, sons Bob (Shirley) Kushniryk, Roy and Ken Heppner, Audrey (Roland) Legere, Rhonda (Wayne (Reiter), grandchildren Kim Pilkington, Candace Miller, Nicole , Shelby, Brydan, Breanne, Kylie Heppner, Justine, Curtis Reiter, Megan, Barry, Greg Kushniryk, great grandchildren Miranda, Chelsea Luplack and Dawson Miller, great great granddaughter Secore Kushniryk.
The Heppner family would like to thank the nurses and doctors at GR Baker Hospital for all their care, the Palliative care unit for all their help and support and all the family friends and neighbors who helped during our difficult times. Thank you to Caldon Razlaff for the prayer. Thank you all very kindly.
The Heppner family