James "Jim" Nordick
James August Nordick, “Jim”, was born to John and Elizabeth (Esmie) Nordick Monday December 15th, 1930 on the family farm in Englefeld district Saskatchewan. He was the oldest son and second oldest child. Jim had 8 siblings, 4 brothers and 4 sisters. He attended school until grade 8 and then quit to work on the family farm. At age 20 Jim left the farm to pursue a mechanic school education in Edmonton Alberta. Upon graduation, Jim worked in Edmonton fixing used vehicles at a car dealership. Jim didn’t enjoy city life so when he saw a newspaper ad for a mechanic job in Arborfield Saskatchewan he decided to move there where he worked for approximately the next 3 years.
The community often had weekend dances. During one of these dances he met Louise Kapeller. Jim was often late arriving at dances because he worked into the evening at the garage. He made sure to wash up quickly after work and get to the dance to socialize and see Louise. During Jim and Louise’s courtship he left Arborfield to work for Lesley McLean Construction out of The Pas, MB. They courted by distance, writing letters to keep in touch. Jim visited Arborfield when he could. On January 8th, 1958 Jim and Louise were married in Arborfield. On January 11, 1958, they moved to The Pas so Jim could continue working for Lesley McLean Construction. The move was by train as there was no road from Arborfield to The Pas. Jim and Louise’s first home was a little one-room trailer with no running water.
In late February the construction company moved north to Pit Siding where the Kelsey Power Dam was being built so Jim and Louise went north. Louise became the camp cook and Jim worked as a mechanic. Life was not easy those days. There was no electricity, running water, phone or doctor for miles. Snow banks were used as fridges and the only way in or out of camp was by train or bush plane. When Jim’s work in this camp finished their next move was to a camp in Thompson in the spring of 1959. Jim and Louise were pioneers in Thompson. The mine and town were just being built. Jim continued working as a heavy-duty mechanic and Louise worked as head cook for this larger camp. Once this contract finished they returned to The Pas and continued to work for Lesley McLean Construction.
In spring 1962 Jim began working for the Government of Manitoba Department of Highways as a shop mechanic. While employed here Jim went to Brandon, Manitoba to take a one month Heavy Duty Mechanic course. After being successful, he returned to The Pas and continued to work for the Highways Department. In 1972, Jim became the shop supervisor and remained so until his retirement in 1988. He worked a little over 26 years for the Manitoba Department of Highways and only retired due to ailing health. Jim enjoyed 30 years of retirement and often said he didn’t know how he got everything done when he still worked full time.
While living in The Pas Jim tried small scale farming, owning land in the Carrot Valley. In those days the Carrot Valley was quite wet and farming was not easy. Jim seeded his land a few times but eventually sold the land as it was too difficult to farm and work full time.
June 8, 1961 Cindy Louise was born. May 1, 1968 Lesa Marie was born completing their family. Jim and Louise had been living in a 2 bedroom trailer down by the Saskatchewan River shipping dock until Lesa was born. It was at this time that they decided to buy their house on Patrick Avenue. After moving to their new home, in addition to being attentive loving parents, Jim and Louise also became extended family to the many seniors in the neighbourhood who did not have family nearby. Often the phone would ring with a neighbour asking Jim to come fix a clogged pipe, a broken door, a burnt out stove element, etc. Louise took neighbours to doctor appointments, social outings to restaurants and planned neighbourhood birthday parties. Jim and Louise never asked for anything in return for this help but homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, bread or other tasty treats were often given to our family for the kindness our parents showed towards others. This kindness earned Jim and Louise the Chamber of Commerce Neighbour of the Year award in 2009.
On September 4, 2007 Ava Louise Georgina Lawrence, Jim’s only grandchild, was born to Tony and Lesa. Jim loved being “Poppa” and would light up when he visited with Ava. They took many scooter rides around the block and yard looking at the garden and yard in general. Ava was born on Jim’s father’s birthday, September 4th, which made her birth even more special.
In his earlier years Jim enjoyed hunting trips with friends, working on farm equipment, ice skating and curling. He often smiled and talked about Bombadier trips with friends and hunting in the winter. You could tell these were fond memories for him. Jim enjoyed gardening, fishing, picking berries and working outside around the yard. Jim helped Louise with heavy canners full of jars of preserved vegetables and fruit for the winter. He packed many jars of these and homemade jam and pickles into the cold storage area of the basement to be enjoyed throughout the winter. Woodworking was a winter hobby that let him make gifts for friends or family as well put on display in their yard and at the lake.
After Louise became seriously ill, Jim became a caregiver to her until her death in 2016. Rarely a day went by that he didn’t go on his scooter to St. Paul’s or the hospital to visit her. After the loss of Louise Jim found life alone difficult. He often talked about how much he missed “Ma”. Good friends came to visit and played cards to help pass the time with Jim and ease the loneliness. It was the type of loneliness that was deep and you could see was the result of a loving relationship. Jim and Louise were married 58 years.
After a short period of continued health issues Jim passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in The Pas, Manitoba at the age of 87 years.
In keeping with family wishes, cremation took place and a service of remembrance to celebrate Jim’s life was held Saturday, February 17, 2018, 1:00 pm, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, The Pas, Manitoba with Father Vijay Deivanayagam presiding. Music ministry was provided by Rochelle Rydberg and Andrew Legeny. Scripture readings were proclaimed by Vaughn Wadelius, James Hemauer and Susan Ford. Eulogy given by Garry Herman and memories of the heart were shared by Lesa Nordick.
A reception followed at the Guy Hall for family and friends.
A private family interment will be held at a later date at St. Lucy’s Catholic Cemetery, Arborfield, Saskatchewan.
In lieu of flowers, donations to The Pas Handi-Van, Box 3028, The Pas, Manitoba, R9A 1R7, would be appreciated by Jim’s family.