Dr James Holmes, 1934–2016

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 7, September 2016, Page 396 Obituaries

Dr James Holmes

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Jim Holmes on 3 June 2016.

I am deeply honored to have been asked by his family to write a few words about my very good friend and colleague.

Jim leaves behind his best friend and bride of 55 years, Dixie; his daughters Lisa (Brian), Shelley (Ron), and Jackie (Mark); his son, Robert (Theresa); and a brood of 10 grandchildren who all adored him.

First and foremost Jim was a Prairie boy, and you could take the boy from the Prairies but you could never take the Prairies away from the boy. Jim was born 82 years ago in Consort, Alberta, population 700 souls and home to two famous personages: Jim Holmes and singer k.d. lang. Following his formative years in Consort, the family moved to Mirror, Alberta. During his teen years Jim worked as a fireman on the steam engines of the day. He also became an accomplished baseball player, and it is rumored that he was scouted by one of the big American League teams.

Undergraduate studies were at the University of Alberta, and then medical school followed by postgraduate studies in internal medicine at the Montreal General Hospital, and an exchange in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the famous Hammersmith Hospital in London, England.

These studies came to an untimely halt when Jim’s brother, Jack was tragically killed in an air crash and Jim and Dixie returned to Canada to complete his fellowship at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.

Jim and Dixie moved to Kelowna in 1965 and he practised internal medicine at what was then known as the Knox Clinic. My wife, Bitten, and I came to Kelowna 1 year prior to Jim’s arrival and our friendship developed quickly. This friendship was cemented by nearly 45 years of annual bird hunting trips to the Prairies for the four of us. Jim was in his element on these trips and many were our exploits. He was a fan of W.O. Mitchell and his book Who Has Seen the Wind, and he always delighted in showing us the wind. While ranging across the Prairies, Jim would bring the vehicle to a screeching stop and we would all hop out and actually look at the wind. Not at the grass and trees but, when the light was right, you could actually see the wind! This will stay with me forever.

I would now like to review for you the advances in medicine made at our Kelowna General Hospital thanks to Dr Jim Holmes. Jim started the first respiratory service in our hospital and introduced the I.C.U. and Emergency Department to the Bird respirator, which was cutting edge at the time. This was followed some years later by Jim introducing our hospital’s first dialysis program using peritoneal dialysis. This is now a full hemodialysis program. Jim then established the first cancer clinic in Kelowna and the Interior. He got the first chemotherapy program developed and indeed was our very first oncologist in Kelowna. He then worked incredibly hard to get our full-service cancer clinic to where it is today. This legacy will be hard to match indeed!

Jim will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues, and our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife, Dixie, and their family.
—Jim Tisdale, MD

James M. Tisdale, MD,. Dr James Holmes, 1934–2016. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 7, September, 2016, Page(s) 396 - Obituaries.

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