Ask anyone who had ever spent even a minute with Terry James. His enthusiasm and love of life were as obvious as the ever-present smile on his face. Terry could and would strike up a conversation with anyone and before you know it – you started to feel better about your day.
Look up “outgoing” in the dictionary and you will see Terry’s face there. Of course, if you look up “bad jokes” he’s there too. A round of golf with Terry meant you were going to be exposed to at least 18 jokes – some of them good, some of them bad but always at least one of them hilarious. He loved to make people laugh.
Terry was a volunteer extraordinaire. His volunteerism started very early in his life and was developed further during his many years working with Scarborough Recreation and Parks. Although working with Recreation and Parks was his job, Terry always treated it as more than a job. He searched for and found the opportunity to make a difference for those who came to his pool or his recreation centre.
Terry was a dedicated volunteer with Civitan, an organization focused on making our communities a better place to live. In addition to being a member of Civitan, Terry was also a Regional Governor for Ontario and the founding president of the Pickering-Ajax Civitan Club. Through Civitan Terry was a leader of Special Olympics swim meets, fund raising efforts for the Best Diabetes Centre and many other important community-focused initiatives. In the couple years before Terry passed away he was the Director of the Durham Senior’s Games and helped to organize this event that attracted hundreds of seniors across Durham. Terry wasn’t just an organizer though – he was an avid participant in many of the sports including golf, lawn bowling and cards.
In 2001, Terry was asked by the then Mayor of Pickering, Wayne Arthurs, to spearhead the International Year of the Volunteer recognition program. Terry dove into this with a passion as he did with everything he took on. As a result of his leadership of this program over 1,000 volunteers were recognized across Pickering in 2001. Who better to lay the groundwork for this recognition than one of Pickering’s greatest volunteers – Terry James.
Terry brought enthusiasm and excitement to everything he did but there were a few things that were especially important to him. Terry was the consummate family man – wife Marie, son Brian and daughters Joy and Theresa were the love of his life. Family did not stop there though – Terry was a driver of the James Family Reunions and James Christmas parties. Once the clean up was done after those events he began work on the James Superbowl party and the James Card Tournament. He enjoyed being around people and made sure all of his guests were included in the fun. Another passion of Terry’s was golf. He loved to play it, to talk about it, to rehash every hole and then get out and do it again.
The Terry James “Honour the Volunteer” Golf Tournament has been designed to capture all of those things that were important to Terry. Family, friends, camaraderie, golf and volunteering. This important community event to be held, Friday, September 17th with honour our friend Terry and will also honour volunteerism. Through the funds raised at this tournament we are providing Terry James Youth Volunteer Scholarships to elementary and high school students across Durham, encouraging them to volunteer and contribute back to their communities.
Terry James passed away after a valiant battle with multiple myeloma, a particularly virulent cancer, in November of 2006. Although he is no longer with us in body, his spirit lives on in his family members and friends and his legacy as a volunteer leader will never diminish in the Durham region. Through the Terry James “Honour the Volunteer” Annual Golf Tournament we will continue to promote the powers of volunteerism in our communities. In our youth across Durham Terry’s spirit will grow and develop making this continually a better and better place to live and raise our families.