Born in 1924, Jim went on to spend most of his life in Welland, where he was born. Raised by immigrant parents, William and Charlotte, Jim shared his early life with his older sister, Beatrice. When war broke out, Jim joined the army when only 18. He went overseas to defend his country by joining the First Special Service Force. Jim (Red) proudly served with “ The Devil’s Brigade” before it was disbanded in 1944. He completed his war service with the 48th Highlanders in the Liberation of Holland. Shortly after returning home, Jim met Margaret, his one great love, with whom he would create memories for the next 75 years. Daughter Sherry and son Rex would be part of those memories as would their spouses Jorg and Jacqueline. His proudest moments would be the arrival of his beloved grandsons Ivor and John. Adventures at the family cottage would create many fond memories with a myriad of nieces and nephews as well as numerous sisters and brothers-in-law. Jim will be remembered for his devotion to country, his commitment to family, his dedication to youth education with the Canadian Legion, and his ready sense of humour.
The family would like to acknowledge the caring and support of all Lookout staff especially those in the Care Centre. Their kindness and compassion has been without measure. Staff from Rose Hill Lane also played an important role in seeing to Jim’s comfort.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites those wishing to make a donation do so to the Royal Canadian Legion Talbot Trail Branch 613 Fonthill, Education Division.
A service of Celebration of Life will be held Friday 23 September 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Pelham Community Church, 461 Canboro Rd, Fenwick followed by a reception generously hosted by the Fonthill Legion 130, 141 Hwy 20 E, Fonthill.
17 thoughts on “James Richard Summersides”
So sorry for your loss. I am blessed to have known such a kind gentleman and true hero. Rest in peace soldier and thank you for your service. My condolences to the family.
Thank you for your very kind words. They raise our spirits as we cope with our loss. Knowing friends have such fond memories of him makes us proud.
Sherry ( daughter)
it is with a heavy heart I hear of the passing of my hero Red-Jim Summersides. He was the kindest gentleman. FSSF hero -Margaret, his true love, my heart aches for you. He gave so much to our country in war and after to keep the memory of the Force alive. He will be greatly missed .
Dear Wendy, As you know, Joe was my dad’s closest friend and that they served together was a great source of pride for him. It means so much to our family to know that you are thinking about us. I am convinced that Dad and Joe are swapping tales at this very moment.
We use the word ‘hero’ loosely, but look no farther than the life of Jimmy Summersides to find a true hero. His elite military service demanded the highest level of courage, training and skill. A humble and truly gentle man he continued to serve his family, church, community, Legion, friends, indeed the free world throughout his long life. He especially devoted time to visiting schools and churches to educate young folks. We shared happy hours with Jim and Marg at Wah Wash Kesh Lake where he spearheaded the renaming of an island to honour fallen soldiers. Lewis and I were honoured to call this great man ‘friend. Thank you, Jim, for all you were and all you did.
Let me share with you that Dad was always so touched by the cards you sent every Remembrance Day honouring his service. I found several of your cards as I went through his things today and they were touching tributes. Thank you for your kindness in remembering his service in such a lovely way. Knowing he is honoured by so many lightens our hearts.
Dear Summersides Family, I was lucky enough to meet Jim and Margaret and their lovely daughter Sherry at Lookout , their true devotion to each other is an inspiration. Jim was a very kind gentleman with a sweet sense of humor and I thank him for his service to our Country. May he rest in peace and soar with the Angels.
How very kind of you to think of us during your busy day. Mom and Dad always appreciated your dedication and attention to their needs. Your acknowledgment of our loss is appreciated.
Please accept my sincerest condolences on the passing of Mr. Summersides. I had the absolute honour of hearing him speak every semester for many years, at Centennial Secondary to our history classes. When I would call to arrange this, he would often remark “I was waiting for your call.” He would answer students’ questions honestly and openly and patiently. Students would always say how much they appreciated his visits. He would gladly stay after to meet and greet and even take selfies!
Sharing his experiences from WWII must have been difficult for him. He will never know how much his sharing meant. For us to hear first hand what it was like for him, had a great impact, much more than reading a text or watching a video ever would. He was more than an acquaintance. He was a friend. I looked forward to his visits every year and appreciated so much that he would take the time to do it. He will always hold a special place in my heart and I will miss him.
Sincerely, Heather Bowman.
Dear Heather, Thank you for your kind words. My Dad was always so pleased that you called to arrange to have him come and speak. He had made it his mission to reach out to young people to ensure they understood the travesty of war. He hoped in telling his story that they would know only peace in their lives. He was so very proud when Centennial acknowledged his receipt of the Congressional Gold Medal on your outdoor scrolling notice board. We laughed when it took us several tries to capture the text as it scrolled. Thank you for acknowledging his service. It meant a great deal to him as did you and your many students.
Gail and I were saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Jim and my dad, Alton “Smokey” Burdett, both served in 4-1. We had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with him and Marge a few times. He was a great person. Our condolences to his family.
Thank you for your comments. I remember Dad speaking fondly of “Smokey” after reunions. I know he enjoyed getting together at reunions to share tales.
I attended many FSSF reunions with my Dad (Norman Smith – HQ-1) over the years. I met Jim and Marge at my first reunion in 1983. We became fast friends. On one of our trips to Italy, we were boarding a bus heading to a special ceremony when Jim asked me if I had my poppy. I thought he was referring to my Dad and I said he’s right behind me. Turned out that wasn’t the “poppy” he was referring to. We laughed and laughed at that. Over the years, at every reunion, it became our special greeting. “Do you have your poppy?”…….”Yes, he’s right behind me.”
Jim was one of the kindest, funniest men I ever met and yes, like so many, a true hero.
My sincerest condolences to your family.
To the entire family: I was deeply saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. What a kind and gentle man he was. Thanks, Jim, for serving our country. The special medal that you received from the President of the United States was very much earned and deserved. Thank you also, Jim, for educating many, many students on WW ll.
On a personal note, Jim, and Margaret, many more thanks for letting us use your beautiful cottage on Lake Wah Wah Kesh for many years while my boys were growing up. God Bless you, Jim, Margaret, and the entire family. Jim, R.I.P. with the angels.
How very kind of your to remember us in your thoughts and prayers. Mom still remembers you fondly and the visits you made to the cottage. Thank you.
Sending my love and sympathy to Marg, Sherry and Rex. I have such fond memories of getting to know your family, and Jim was always such a friendly guy when i saw him. Thinking of you with love.
It has been too long. Thank you for taking the time to send your condolences to us. Yes, many memories to keep.