After graduating from High School in 1994, James worked at the Township Museum in Cumberland
for two years. There he leamed such skills as machinery restoration, carpentry, moving and
restoring historic buildings, and gained an appreciation of life in years gone by.
In September 1996 James went to Australia, through the International Agricultural Exchange Association, to work on a sheep, beef and grain ranch, returning in June 1997. Here his work, travel, and friendships helped him to realize that he needed an education to advance himself in the agricultural field and he returned home to enter the two year Agricultural Diploma course at Kemptville College. After graduating from Kemptville, he went to Guelph University to work on a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in agronomy.
In the summer of '98 James operated a spray machine for a feed and fertilizer plant in Philipsville, Ontario. He spent the summer of '99 working at the Co-op store in Kemptville, Ontario, again operating a sprayer and working in sales. In the spring of 2000 he went to work for the Waterloo - Oxford Co-op, in Lynden, Ontario (near Hamilton). Again James was operating a sprayer when, on May 22, while releasing the safety chains to unload the sprayer from the float, the machine lurched forward and crushed him against the truck that was pulling the float. He was taken to hospital in Hamilton where he passed away the next morning.
James grew up with Belgian horses and started his show career in the junior showmanship classes at local fairs, the CNE and the Royal. He was the 'driving force' to purchase harness and a wagon to hitch at the fairs. James did the driving and his proudest moment was in October 1993 when he drove the six horse hitch at Agribition in Ottawa. In the summer of 1993 he purchased his favourite horse, "Spuds". It was fitting to have James' sister, Janet Drynan, accompanied by his friend Lee Watson, drive him from home to his final resting place, on the family show wagon, drawn by "Spuds".
At James' Memorial Service, the Rev. Dr. Joe Burke said in his eulogy, "Most people will tell you that it is not the attainment of one's goals that is necessarily the crowning moment in one's life, but rather the journey that brings us there. James had an exciting journey, a happy, care-free ride on the highway of life. He loved life, loved its sense of adventure and risk, and, above all, he made the journey as a happy companion to family and friends, co-workers and others who shared his company and his aspirations".
Canadian Belgian Banner, p60
June and Paul would welcome any written anecdotes, stories or memories of their son, James, that you might wish to share with them. Please e-mail: MacMillan History