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James A. Stewart

1922-2019

James  A. Stewart
James A. Stewart, ONB, DFC, CA, (Jim Stewart) of St. Andrew's NB, died peacefully at Charlotte County Hospital, on April 17, 2019, surrounded by loving family members. He had been predeceased by three months to the day by wife Jan. He was also predeceased by brother Daniel, and sisters Janet and Penuel. He is survived by sons Jim (Jane), Ian (Michele) and Barry(Diane); seven grandchildren,Maggie, Cameron, Lindsay, Alex, Brittany, Jonathan and Taylor: two step-grandchildren, Stephanie and Kimberley; two great-grandchildren, Kayla and Alyssa.
A native of Glasgow, Jim found himself in Canada for Royal Air Force flight training. During World II, his varied career saw him join a small band of volunteers known as “Catafighters,” with their specially adapted Hawker Hurricanes launched from the decks of merchant ships by rocket-propelled catapults.
These were one-way missions designed to protect convoys, since the pilots had nowhere to land after takeoff. In one such engagement, Jim challenged and destroyed an FW200 Condor bomber, bailed out and was picked up by one of the convoy ships.
Flying a Typhoon over France in 1944, he was hit with anti-aircraft fire, and forced to bail out. Evading capture, he was hidden by French citizens, and eventually aided by the French Resistance, who even sheltered him in occupied Paris. But an eventual betrayal by a Gestapo agent led to detention in the infamous Fresnes Prison. As the Allied armies advanced on Paris, prisoners were then crammed into box cars in abhorrent conditions, for a five-day trip to Germany. Their final destination was none other than Buchenwald Concentration Camp. After two months there, with further advances by the Allied
Armies, it was forced marches in winter, and two POW camps before final liberation by the Russians.
For his military service, Jim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star and Bar, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the Imperial War Medal.
He always cringed if the term “hero” were used in reference to him; he described himself rather as “one of the lucky ones.” To him, the real heroes were the ones who never came home.
After the War, Jim emigrated to Canada, beginning a long and rewarding career with Connors Brothers of Black's Harbour, becoming Senior Vice-President (marketing) that made him business associates and friends around the globe. After retirement he moved to St. Andrew's and began serving his new community. He took great delight in reading (with his Scottish accent) to children in elementary school.
To a host of kids he was (and still is) their friend and their“Granddad Jim.” And he would read to seniors in nursing homes as well. To the bewilderment and amazement of his family, as an old man he would deliver Meals on Wheels to old people! On one fateful day, he fell face-first. He would later tell his family, through a black eye and facial lacerations, that he “managed to save the dessert.”
He also took tremendous pride in being appointed Honorary Colonel of 403 Helicopter Squadron, Base Gagetown.
In 2002 Jim was awarded the Order of New Brunswick, and the following year received the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. There are other awards and affiliations too numerous to mention, so many friends who will now miss him, so many lives he touched in so many different ways. For someone who saw the darkest side of humanity, he was a bright and gentle light.
In his own words: “...I jealously cherish the friendships and camaraderie of all the wonderful people I was privileged to meet. I abhor unclean toilets; cannot abide pettiness; have no time for fools; have respect for my fellow man regardless of position or status, but confess to be particularly resentful of any authority, however highly placed, which, in my opinion, acts without compassion or disregards the
dignity and freedom of the individual.”
Cremation has taken place, and no visitation or funeral service is planned. Donations in his honour to the Charlotte County Cancer Society would be greatly appreciated by the family. Online condolences or donations may be made at www,humphreysfh.com.
So, as he would sign off with his emails “Keep calm and carry on.”
And the family would be grateful if you could reach out and give a big hug to someone you love.
Tell them Granddad Jim sent you.