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“Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling…”
James “Jim” Noel O’Connor, born the 6th of January 1934 in Kanturk, County Cork, Ireland, sadly left this earth for his place in Heaven on December 8, 2019 after eighty-five (85) wonderful years. Survived by his beloved wife of fifty-six (56) years, Ann Patricia (nee Balfe) O’Connor; five children, Liam (Molly), Brendan (Bernadita), Dermot (Barbara), Sioban (Earl) and Naoibh (Oliver); and ten wonderful grandchildren, Quinn / Teagan, Midori, Caitrin / Liam, Darren / Isabella, Jack / Caoime and Cillian. James Noel is also survived by his beloved sister, and head of the family, Sheila (Sister Louis Marie) of Dublin, Ireland.
With a healthy mistrust of formal education, and after playing a few too many games of cards during a brief college career, James Noel saw greater goals on the horizon and set sail for the New World aboard the Mauritania II from the Port of Cobh in 1955. Passing Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on the way into New York City on the 4th of July, he would then head north to meet a few of his brothers and a cousin in the welcoming confines of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Not setting the world on fire with self-created jobs such as chimney sweeping, as well as betting on too many slow horses, he commenced his employment with Trans-Canada Airlines, later to become Air Canada, and immediately became a company man for life. Before the advent of jet engines and transnational travel, he kept propeller-based aircraft filled and fueled out of Winnipeg, Swift Current and Prince Albert, so they could get across the prairies and unite our vast and beautiful country. It was in Saskatchewan he would meet Ann, a British nurse at the time, whereupon the new technology of gas turbine engines and the wonder of life would jettison the pair onward to Toronto and, finally, Calgary. Thirty-four glorious years with the airline allowed he and his family to see the world and keep a close eye on the home fires of his much-loved birthplace, Pine Hill.
After retiring, he was never out of work after starting up a home renovation business with the proceeds of every paint job and hardwood floor installation going off to missions, charities, churches and orphanages around the world. James Noel was one of ten fine and brilliant children of Cornelius and Josephine (nee O’Leary) O’Connor who included Bernard (Bernie), Thomas (Tommy), Dermot (Der), Sheila (Sister Louis Marie), Denis, Michael Vincent, Hugh (Hugo), Frieda and Marie. It would be a grievous error not to mention James Noel’s dear sister-in-laws and family matriarchs who still reign and maintain the family’s glory, Margaret (Kanturk), Therese (Terry) (Edmonton), Patricia (Pat) (Edmonton), Mildred (Vancouver), Eileen (Guelph) and the late Joan (Northampton, England). As well, he was the uncle, great-uncle and cousin to countless individuals too many to list but too special to forget.
Jim never met an individual he thought he was better than. He never stressed over the normal worries of life. He worked harder than ten men and never complained. Any honest work was good work. His doorstep send-off was always punctuated with, “take your time leaving, and hurry back.” He never met an individual he couldn’t have a chat and cup of tea with and he had no doubt that this world was a Godsend and that eternal life awaited him.
“But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You’ll come and find the place when I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread about me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!”
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers at St. Pius X Catholic Church (2424 24 Avenue NW) on Friday, December 13, 2019 at 7:00pm.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Catholic Church on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 12:30pm.
MS Society of Canada
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Dementia Network Calgary
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