COPITHORNE, James Donovan

March 19, 1931 – June 1, 2022

It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of James Donovan Copithorne on June 1, 2022 at the age of 91 years. James was born on March 19, 1931 in Calgary, Alberta into one of Alberta’s pioneer families. He grew up on the ranch in Jumping Pound and attended schools in the area.

Jim, as he was fondly remembered, spent ten years as a member of the army cadets and reserve army. He graduated school from Western Canada High and worked at Modern Motors in Calgary as a mechanic and in the parts department before moving permanently back to the ranch.

In 1951, Jim married Ruth Fisher, and together they had three sons, Dan, Darryl and Dale. In 1975, he re-married Melba Estby and they spent 47 wonderful years together.

Jim drove a school bus for over 30 years in Rocky View County and safely transported local kids to and from the schools in Springbank. He enjoyed watching the kids grow up and seeing them daily on the bus. He also spent many years devoted to his community as a member of the Lions Club. In 1975 he joined the Bowness chapter, and in 2016 transferred to Cochrane where he was given a lifetime membership. Jim was also a Calgary Stampede Volunteer for 48 years, serving on the Band Committee.

As a dedicated community member, rancher and western heritage advocate his legacy will live on through his loving wife and family and friends in Alberta and Australia.

Jim is survived by his wife, Melba; sons, Darryl (Lauri), Dale; granddaughters, Kari, Megan; great grandchildren Kai, Haylie, Wyatt, Kaylee; stepchildren, Karon (Steve), Cherryl, Forrest, and their families. James was predeceased by his son, Dan, and stepdaughter, Shannon Burwash.

At Jim’s request there will not be a memorial service, and the family will honour his wishes. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cochrane Lions Club (209 5th Ave, Cochrane, AB T4C 0A4), or the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation (101 RancheHouse Rd, Cochrane, AB T4C 2K8).

Arrangements entrusted to Larry Slywka, Funeral Director

Cochrane Country Funeral Home – cochrane@piersons.ca – 403-932-1039

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  1. On 08/06/2022 at 1:18 pm Michelle Copithorne Said:

    Melba and clan… I was saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. I have such fond memories of riding the bus with him at the helm. You both brought safety to me in a time in my life that wasn’t always so. Thank you. I will miss Uncle Jim…

    May I fully face life and death, loss and sorrow.
    May I be open to the pain of grief.
    May I find the inner resources to be present for my sorrow.
    May loving kindness sustain me.
    May I accept my sadness, knowing that I am not my sadness.
    May I accept my human limitations with compassion.
    May I accept my anger, fear, anxiety, and sorrow.
    May I forgive myself for not meeting my loved one’s needs.
    May I forgive myself for mistakes made and things left undone.
    May sorrow show me the way to compassion.
    May I be open with others and myself about my experience of suffering
    and loss.
    May I receive the love and compassion of others.
    May I find peace and strength, that I may use my resources to help others.
    May all those who grieve be released from their sorrow.

    ~ Roshi Joan Halifax

  2. On 08/06/2022 at 8:59 pm Roy and Judy Copithorne Said:

    Melba and family: we sincerely send you our condolences. Jim was a man of integrity and his community and family was definately important. He will be missed by you all and also his community. All of us send you our condolences. Love to you all
    Roy,Judy and family

  3. On 08/06/2022 at 10:16 pm Bev Copithorne Said:

    To everyone who loved Jim, especially Melba,

    There are no word I have that can adequately capture the size of your loss or the depth of your sorrow. I wish there was more I could do then offer condolences. I will miss visiting with him at community events, another knowledge keeper gone before we could fully capture his stories. Such a tremendous life lived, filled with philanthropy for his community and love for family and neighbours.

    Sending you condolences and love.
    I know he will be missed by all of you.

    Bev and Steve.

  4. On 09/06/2022 at 12:36 am Carol Dutchik Said:

    Condolences to Melba and Family. Jim will be sadly missed.

  5. On 09/06/2022 at 1:01 pm Don & Carol Boyce Said:

    Melba, please accept our condolences. He always had a smile on his face when seeing him, although we had not seen either of you for a long time. Don & Carol

  6. On 09/06/2022 at 2:55 pm Denis & Betty Goodsell Said:

    Melba,in looking for another obituary I was shocked and saddened to see Jim’s. We are so sorry for your loss and hope that time will ease your sadness and that memories will bring back smiles and happiness. Our sincere sympathies! Denis & Betty

  7. On 09/06/2022 at 9:59 pm Joy and Lindsay Eklund Said:

    To all of Jim’s family, especially Melba
    One of my favourite people for over 50 years,
    Jim was always kind and considerate , hard working and with a ready smile. I admired him, most especially in the way he was a Dad to his boys.
    Please accept our heartfelt condolences, and know you’re in our thoughts.

  8. On 10/06/2022 at 10:36 am Colleen Munro and Hal Davidson Said:

    Sending our deepest condolences to Melba and Jim’s extended family. I always loved hitching a ride on Jim’s school bus to visit my grandmother and cousins in Springbank. May fond memories fill your hearts.

  9. On 14/06/2022 at 2:32 pm Cheryl Hardy Said:

    My deepest condolences to Melba and all the family. Jim always was happy to visit and had a quick smile. All of you are in my thoughts.

  10. On 14/06/2022 at 4:34 pm Marie Nylund Said:

    On behalf of the Merryfield family, I send our sincere sympathy and condolences to Melba and family. Jim was a wonderful friend to my parents and a dedicated Springbank School Bus driver.

  11. On 14/06/2022 at 6:27 pm Donna MacDonald Said:

    On behalf of the MacDonald family, our condolences are sent to you. Jim was one of those people who was loved and will be definitely missed. Raymond and Donna MacDonald

  12. On 14/06/2022 at 7:41 pm BettyLynne Said:

    My most sincere condolences to you Melba, thinking of you & your family & wishing you peaceful hearts in the time ahead.

  13. On 17/06/2022 at 7:20 am EdithWearmouth Said:

    To Melba and family – our condolencenses on Jim’s passing. Truly a man of fun and integrity, a man who was so willing to help out neighbors and friends. I remember fondly Jim and Melba helping to pluck chickens! He will be missed.

  14. On 19/06/2022 at 2:10 pm Terry & Janice Zilkowsky Said:

    To Melba and Family – our deepest condolences on the passing of Jim. Always enjoyed visiting with him at the different social events we would see you at. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone during these difficult times. On a completely different note – Jim’s legacy continues to live on with me – as I call my truck that I bought off of him – “Jimmy.”