James Styles, a resident of Russell Meadows Retirement Community since July 2015, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Mon., March 27, 2017. He was in his 93rd year.
James Harvey Styles was born on Oct.12, 1924; the first child and oldest son to Hattie (nee Barkley) and Murray Styles. He was an older brother to four other siblings – Mary, Carl, Ted, and Eleanor. As soon as he was old enough to do so, Jim took an active part in working the family farm, which was located north of Riverside Heights. He attended Morrisburg Collegiate, and was a high achiever in school, a basketball player, high jumper, baseball player, and was well-liked by his peers. He knew Ruth Beckstead from high school, but it wasn’t until after Ruth took the position of teacher at the Froatburn one-room school, not very far from the Styles farm, that he decided to take the pretty young schoolteacher to a dance one Saturday night at the Morrisburg Arena. Jim and Ruth were engaged in the summer of 1944, then married on Jan.31, 1945.
Jim bought a 50-acre farm one concession north of Iroquois, and he and Ruth moved there a year after they were married. After 10 years of farming, Jim and Ruth had an all pure-bred Holstein herd. In addition to farming, he sometimes did electrical wiring, while Ruth taught Grades 5 and 6 at Iroquois School.
The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway brought big changes toJim’s life. The town of Iroquois was the first of the six villages and towns to be displaced in 1955 with the construction of the Seaway. As for the Styles farm, following expropriation by Ontario Hydro, they lost the use of all their acreage due to the construction of two highways and a rail line, both of which rendered the land useless to livestock farming. They then sold all their cattle and machinery in 1956. Ruth continued teaching, and Jim pursued a career change with his brother Ted by enrolling in the Radio College of Canada in 1955. This Toronto-based school provided the technical training for the burgeoning radio and television industry. Jim and Ted set up their first shop in the front part of the drive shed adjacent to the farmhouse. There, they did sales and service of electrical appliances. They soon outgrew the space, and having just met Ron McIntosh in 1958, they bought a store in the shopping plaza in the new town of Iroquois. At that point, Ruth and Jim decided to build a new home in Iroquois.They bought a lot on Lakeview Drive, and were able to move into their new brick bungalow near the end of August 1959.
It was much easier for him to then get involved in community life while living, and having a business in, Iroquois. In 1961, Jim took the Canadian Power Squadron boating course and in ’62, he and Keith Fisher taught the course to the Iroquois Power Squadron. Boating trips to the 1000 Islands, and camping in the provincial parks were always popular family excursions. Styles and McIntosh continued to thrive in the 60’s, and in 1969, Jim began an 11-year stint as a town councillor for theVillage of Iroquois, having also served on the local school board. Hewas always proud of the council’s accomplishments in that time period, which included fixing many of the unanticipated problems that developed following the Seaway Project. During the 60’s, he was also a president of the Iroquois Golf Club, and facilitated the development of the course, which was newly built following the Seaway Project, and its tournaments and activities for the benefit of the community. He was also an active member of the local Lions Club.
Skipping ahead to 1987, Jim retired after 31 years of business in sales and service at Styles and McIntosh TV and Appliances. In retirement, he had much more time to devote to his favourite hobbies, especially woodworking and cabinet-making, and summer life at the cottage. Charities and other worthy causes were important to him, and he made valuable contributions to each through volunteer efforts and donations.
A big part of Jim’s community involvement consisted of dedication to the Masonic Lodge. He had been a faithful member of Friendly Bros. Lodge No.143 in Iroquois for 50 years in 2007, and he would have celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Mason this year. He was a Past Master and devoted secretary of his Lodge for several years. He was also the proud author of a history book of the Iroquois lodge, and served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern District for 1988 and 1989. Jim and Ruth joined the Moonlight Chapter of the Eastern Star in 1993, and was Worthy Patron five times.
A large part of his life from beginning to end was his Christian faith. He was brought up in a family that valued going to church to worship every Sunday at Trinity Anglican Church in Riverside Heights. After moving to Iroquois, he was actively involved in church affairs at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, either as rector’s warden, people’s warden, vestry member, Synod delegate, or simply volunteer caretaker and groundskeeper. Rev. David Crawley shared that as rector’s warden, Jim was always a support, and a great listening ear for him. In fact, Jim was rector’s warden for Rev. Ralph Smith when the ground was first broken to build St. John’s church. After Jim moved to Russell Meadows Retirement Community in early July 2015, he felt he still wanted to be part of a vital church community, and go to worship on a regular basis. With the help of members of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Russell, he was able to get to church most Sundays.
At Russell Meadows, Jim left a lasting impression on many residents and staff members. He was never without a shirt and tie; he made friends easily and enjoyed participating in many of the activities there, especially going to the movie matinees every Sunday afternoon, and attending musical performances.
He was a devoted husband, and a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his children, Christine Leng (Siegfried) of Russell, David of Iroquois, Barbara Vingerhoeds (Gerry) of Carleton Place, and Marikay Bailey (John) of Kingston; and his siblings, Mary Robertson (the late Don) of Harrington, ME, Carl (the late Joyce and the late Mary) of Arnprior, Edward “Ted” (Betty) of Iroquois, and Eleanor Allison of Morrisburg. Jim will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Kirsten, Elissa, Michael, Travis, Carrie, Brandon, Christopher, and Jenna; and great-grandchildren Nicolas, Sebastian, Alexander, William, Thomas, Henry, Delilah, Yannah, Jepson, and Sullivan. He was predeceased by his parents, Murray and Hattie Styles. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Iroquois on Fri., March 31 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. An Order of the Eastern Star service was held in the evening on Fri., March 31 at 6 pm followed by a Masonic Funeral service at 6:45 pm. The funeral service was held at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Iroquois on Sat., April 1 at 11 am with Rev. John Martin and Rev. Bill Byers officiating. The pallbearers were David Styles, Michael Vingerhoeds, Travis Vingerhoeds, Carrie Nolan, Jenna Bailey, and Elissa Roy, with appreciated assistance from David Lapier. Spring interment will be at St. Lawrence Valley Union Cemetery in Long Sault.
Donations to Winchester District Memorial Hospital or the University of Ottawa Heart Institute would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
Online condolences may be made at www.marsdenmclaughlin.com.