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James F. Heal

February 12, 1934 - September 5, 2021

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JAMES (JIM) F. HEAL On September 5, 2021, after a full life and in his 87th year, and after a short battle with a terminal cancer. He expressed his love and appreciation in his final days for those who assisted him to live as independently as possible until almost the very end. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp…” he often said. Son of the late Kathleen Heal (nee Kozak) and the late Fred Heal; predeceased by his wife and soul-mate, Katherine Heal (Kathy), his sister Cheryl, and his son Robert David Heal. Dad was predeceased by his brothers in law Victor Garcia, Doug (Danny) Garcia and Mom’s parents, Emily and Henry Garcia.  He is greatly missed by daughter Susan (Brad) and son Andrew (Monica); grandkids: Heather (Steff), Robert,  Matthew and Christina. Sister in law Jackie Garcia and sister in law Anita Johnston, brother in law Roger (Muriel) Petersen, Vicki (Paul) Bruno and Nick and Emily, Kristi (Tim) Yamashita and Dana and Ethan.  Niece Wendy, great nieces Chantal and Isabel. And the many extended family: Brunos, Owens, Kozaks, DeMouras, Callanan among others in our wonderful mix of Portuguese and Ukrainian heritages. Thanks as well to Tom, Phil and Angie who were a source of comfort for him.

Dad was a loving husband and a good father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend and mentor.  James spent his formative years in Bermuda. There, he met our mom, his wife and soulmate, Katherine (Kathy) Garcia. The two spent their entire lives together from the age of 16 until mom passed in 2016. He has missed her so much and she was always the better angel. They are together again in the comfort of our Lord.

Mom put Dad through law school, financing his studies through her work as a kindergarten teacher at the Toronto District School Board when they came to Canada in the 1950s. Mom brought ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit to their relationship, working first as a teacher and later a bookstore owner of “Storytale Lane” on Roncesvalles.

Mom and Dad later split their time among their homes in Toronto, in Bermuda (“Greenmount”) and their farm property in Oro-Medonte. Anyone who knew the Oro-Medonte farm from its modest beginnings in 1967 would be amazed to see it now. Dad might have been a keen student of the law, but he was truly happiest at the farm. We didn’t successfully grow much, but boy, we moved a lot of dirt around. The red tractor (Allis Chalmers 175) and the yellow machine (CASE 580B) were where he liked to operate, probably more so than behind a desk, although he was just as good at both. Many of his partners and colleagues got to see dad not only behind a desk but also behind the wheel of his tractors!

Mom and Dad were life-long proponents of the value of education to secure a better future.

James attended Warwick Academy in Bermuda in the 1940s and scholarship support allowed him to pursue studies abroad. Dad spent a year at Humberside Collegiate in Toronto to ready him for the University of Toronto, Victoria College (Philosophy). From there, he attended Osgoode Hall Law School where he graduated near the top of his law school class. James joined then Blake, Cassels and Graydon in 1960 where he spent his entire professional career, practicing banking and commercial law for almost 40 years, and where he enjoyed much professional success. Many of the young lawyers he mentored have themselves gone on to become leaders at the bar and at the firm. But Jim’s beginnings were humble. Yet he never forgot the lessons he learned during his early years about hard work and the importance of lending a helping hand to others.

James was born in Toronto, and raised on a farm in Richmond Hill, Ontario, on February 12, 1934 and lived with his grandparents George and Dora Kozak, and the extended Kozak family. Decades later we would frequently gather for Sunday visits to the Kozak home.

Dad is missed by the many who loved him, and by those whose lives he touched.

A virtual celebration of Dad’s life will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at  2 pm at Adams Funeral Home, Barrie. and can be viewed through the following link: https://afterword.com/stories/james-heal

All are welcome to virtually attend the services. In keeping with current COVID protocols, a private interment of his ashes will be held later at the Barrie Union Cemetery.

The family expresses their heartfelt appreciation to the many that eased Dad’s passing at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, and to the home care team at Home Instead (Barrie). In lieu of flowers, please consider a charitable donation to the educational institution of your choice.