James William Hamilton


It is with sadness, relief for him, and gratitude to his good friends that we announce the death of Jay Hamilton, June 9, 2015, at the age of 66, in Edmonton, Alberta. He was predeceased by his father, Rev. Arthur Hamilton (2005) and his younger sister, Janet Hamilton (1998). Left to grieve are his mother, Doris, his two older sisters, Judy and Mary and their families, Janet’s family and the two friends who looked after him so carefully and lovingly during his illness and at the end, Reyn Johnson and Bonnie Hammermeister of Edmonton. Jay moved from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, back to Alberta, the province of his birth, in his early 20’s. He started raising bees, but soon returned to performing high level work in a variety of skilled jobs around the province as a certified welder, contractor, installer of large air conditioners. He loved playing and then making his own guitar, riding his motorcycle all over the west, growing tomatoes, traveling all over the world on his computer, and many other absorbing activities alone and with friends. He was generous to his friends, grateful for their comradeship and always eager to pass along his knowledge, both particular related to his work, and general knowledge that he had gleaned over his life. He developed cancer of the stomach in the fall of 2014 and bore his illness with equanimity, grace, courage, generosity to others, and by working on making a new ukulele. He and the family would like to thank Dr. Trent Dusang for his care, and Indrani and Alicia from Home Care who helped him, appreciated and cared about him. He will be remembered and his life celebrated during an open-house Saturday afternoon, June 13, 2015, beginning at 1:00 PM, at the home of Reyn and Bonnie at 4007 – 19th Ave. NW, Edmonton. Cremation will have taken place and there will be a family memorial in Ontario at a later date. His ashes will be placed in the family plot at Bajeroes, Ontario.
Condolences and remembrances may be entered at his name on the website of Serenity Funeral Service in Edmonton www.serenity.ca

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Derek Stephen McPhail

Though it had been years since I’d last seen Jay, we spent a few of our formative years as teenagers in Sault Ste. Marie, in northern Ontario, regularly hanging out together. We helped each other learn to play guitar, develop our own unique tastes in music and occasionally perform at the limited venues available. Though our families both ended up moving away from the Soo, I will always value our friendship and how we inspired each other to pursue our dreams, grounded with a shared sense of practicality, a joy of building things and taking part in theatrical events in our community.

The old understanding is that when a person dies, that person’s spirit leaves the shores of this beautiful flowering earth, across the ocean of time without looking back, to eventually arrive on the shores of the Beach of Stars. Ideally, this being is met by their last happy ancestors, who pull the newly dead spirit into a period of ritual initiation, after which they too officially become a beloved ancestor, a life-giving force capable of helping those left behind.

To give the deceased soul it’s best shot at reaching that distant shore, so that they not lose their conviction and courage, all living relatives and loved ones must show how deeply they feel the loss of the deceased in a real and honest show of grief, in what is often called a wake. The distance to the Other Shore cannot be calculated, so arrival over this yawning gulf of time is not something the deceased can accomplish unassisted. Today, I pray that those who honour the soul of this good man, freely provide the raw grief of our collective tears, to quicken Jay’s journey in his canoe of old songs, across the awaiting galactic sea.

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