June 14, 2021
Jim Stevens quietly passed away at home on Friday, June 11, 2021 in his 91st year. We are remembering what a great person, great scientist, great educator, great friend and great Rotarian Jim was; 43 years in Rotary, including serving as president of our Rotary club in 1998-99.
For those who don't know Jim from earlier years, read about him here. He made  the world a better place. We send our heartfelt condolences to Jim's wife Karin and their extended families.
If you would like to attend the virtual service for Jim, it will held on June 25th at 2pm. Go to gilchristchapel.com, click on obituaries, then on Jim’s name and then click on https://www.oneroomstreaming@com/login
Jim's detailed obituary follows below.
It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Jim on June 11th in his 91st year.  Jim was predeceased by his first wife Carol, loving mother of Nancy, Christine (Richard), Paul (Yvette), and Tracy (Mark). Also, predeceased by his parents Margaretta and Tom, his two younger sisters Mary and Dorothy, and brother-in-law George.  Survived by his younger brother John (Judith) and brother-in-law Johan (Carolyn).  He will be sadly missed by his grandchildren Jessica, Jaclyn, Kevin, Ben, Noodinong-Bemosed, Gishebawik-Anong, Olivia, Cole, Natasha, and three great-grandchildren, Julian, Bailey, and Bowen, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. In 1984 Jim went to Sweden on a sabbatical and married Karin.  She was at his side until he died.  Jim and Karin had more than 36 wonderful years together.  Their marriage gave Jim two "bonusbarn", Elisabeth (Ronny) and Anders (Susanne), and another four grandchildren, My, Tova, Amanda and Frida.
Jim was born on his grandfather’s homestead just outside of Kenton, Manitoba.  His family returned to vacation every year until Jim was 17.  He grew up in East York in Toronto and attended William Burgess public school and East York Collegiate.  During summer holidays Jim worked at a brick yard, a haberdashery, and he was a camp counsellor and swimming instructor at Camp Mazinaw outside of Bon Echo in northeastern Ontario. In grade 13, Jim and three of his closest friends bought two war surplus trucks with a loan of $75 that he secured from his father for his share.  They bought manure, potatoes, and later Christmas trees which they sold and delivered all over East York.  During a rail strike in 1951, these same four friends drove from Toronto to Vancouver in a 1951 Chevy which they were delivering for a local Toronto car dealership.  From Vancouver they hitch-hiked on the famous Route 66 to St. Louis Missouri, and back to Toronto.
In 1953 Jim graduated from the Victoria College in Toronto specializing in Physics.  He started teaching at St. Andrew’s College in the fall with thoughts of becoming a teacher like his mother and father.  He changed his mind, and in 1954 enrolled in a Masters of Geophysics program at the University of Toronto.  In 1955, he began his PhD studies in Polymer Physics at the same university. In 1957 he and Carol moved to Guelph and he started his academic career at the Ontario Agricultural College (later in 1964 the University of Guelph). In addition to moving to Guelph and starting his academic career, he and Carol bought a farm on Stone Road and a few years later started their family.  From 1979 to 1984, Jim was the Assistant Vice-President Academic with responsibilities for the content and administration of all undergraduate programs.  He was a member of the University Senate for more than 20 years.  He was made the Honorary President of the OAC class of 1964.
Jim published more than 140 peer reviewed papers.  He spent time as a visiting professor at several institutions in Canada and abroad including Polysar in Sarnia, University of Kent in Canterbury and the University of Manchester both in England, Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Uppsala, and Umeå University in Sweden,  École Superieur de Physique et de Chimie in Paris France, and Warsaw Technical University in Poland. In recognition of his research, Jim was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1992. In 1988 Jim was part of a group at Chalmers University that won the Swedish Innovation Cup for their research on something they called Smart Windows. In 2014, Jim was awarded a silver medal by the Warsaw Technical University for his contributions to the chemistry department. Jim was involved in inception of the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Technology Fair and he was the chair when the Canada Wide Science Fair was held in Guelph in 1994.
The athletic coaches at East York Collegiate Institute instilled in Jim his love of sports.  He was a member of the East York Goliaths Basketball team that won the first All-Ontario High School Championship in 1949. He was the technical advisor for many track and field competitions like the Telegram-Maple Leaf Indoor games from 1963 to 1978, the 1973 Pacific Conference Games, and the Commonwealth Games in 1978.  Jim chaired the Ontario Universities Athletic Association Legislative Council for 25 years.  He was a mentor to many Gryphon athletes until his retirement in 1995.  In 1986 Jim was inducted into the Gryphons Hall of Fame as a Builder.  He was an avid runner and ran daily well into his late 70’s.  He loved golf and was a regular player with friends and associates at Cutten Fields for 54 years.
Jim was an active community member.  He was involved in fundraising for the River Run Centre and Hospice Wellington.  He was a member and former President of the Rotary Club of Guelph.  He espoused the values of "Service Above Self" with a membership that spanned over 40 years.
When it was time to sell the farm, Jim realized that it was time for a new hobby.  At 80 years old he decided to play the tenor saxophone.  He joined several bands including the New Horizons Band in Guelph, the Grand River New Horizons Band, the 1914 Band in Waterloo, the Fergus Brass Band, and the Village Band in the community in which he lived.  Jim was a strong Anglican all his life.  As a child he would accompany his mother to church every Sunday for two services.  From the age of 7 until his voice broke, he sang in the Boy’s Choir at St. Luke’s in East York.  He was a member of the St. George’s church, and sang in the choir for over 60 years.  In 2019, he was awarded the Order of Niagara.
The family would like to thank Dr. Cary Shafir, and the Bayshore nurses for their compassionate care making it possible for Jim to live in his home until the very end.
Memorial contributions to Hospice Wellington (519-836-3921) and the St. George’s Choral Scholar Fund (519-822-1366) would be appreciated.
Private funeral arrangements have been entrusted to GILCHRIST CHAPEL – McIntyre & Wilkie Funeral Home, One Delhi Street, Guelph, (519-824-0031).  We invite you to leave your memories and donations online at: www.gilchristchapel.com and they will be forwarded to the family.