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    - Doug Hawkins
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    - Mabel Hawkins
  • "Dear Lorna & Family, Prayers and our Condolences from..."
  • "Lorna and family. Our condolences to you and family. I..."
  • "Lorna and family So glad we had the opportunity to renew..."
    - Alan Gaskell
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MCCUBBIN, James (Jim)
August 24, 1931 - May 28, 2015
The following is excerpted from McCubbin and Laycock family tree books, researched and written by Jim's wife, Lorna. Jim was and Lorna is a sponsor and co-founder of the worldwide McCubbin Family History Association.
"I lived just a few blocks from the city center of Calgary, with my father, mother, sister Doris, brother John and several roomers. The house (now the site of the main public library) had been owned by my grandmother, Ann Laycock. The Laycocks had come west in 1888, to ranch and operate a dairy farm. Joseph Laycock died shortly after he completed the ranch buildings. His widow Ann sold the property and bought the boarding house to provide a living. After Ann died, her daughter, Rebecca "Becky," continued to operate the business as a rooming house. One of her roomers was a handsome Scot named Tom McCubbin. Tom had spent four years in the trenches during WWI. They married and continued to operate the business.
Farmers, ranchers, cowboys, Indians with their horses, dogs running under the wagons, travois, papooses; what more could a preschooler want? And I lived right in the middle of it all in the Calgary of the early 1930's. It was a scene from the 'wild west'. On our street we had almost every ethnic group one could imagine. I remember the clothing, the food, the smells, the different customs. Across the street was a junk yard. Not far from that – a blacksmith's shop. A block away – a fire hall. So, it was a continuous round of short little trips to see all the goings on at each of these wonderful and fascinating places.
My parents sold the big house and bought a house on the North Hill of Calgary at 8th Ave and 4th Street. It didn't seem a very interesting place to me…this new kind of suburbia. But there were lots of kids our age and we had year-round play. Street games were organized almost every night after school. Baseball, street hockey, kick the can. All our toys were handmade… mostly by ourselves. But, during the war there was a lot of ammunition around. We discovered some and messed with that until it scared the pants off us, (if only our parents knew).
My brother John and I, ever looking for scarce spending money, had jobs when we were in school. I delivered the Calgary Herald. Sun, snow and 30 below!
My sister Doris left home to start her career in Toronto, and eventually became the editor of Chatelaine magazine and a rousing leader for women's rights. Doris married David Anderson and they had three sons, Peter, Stephen, and Mitchell.
In the summers of the early 40s, mother volunteered to be a Youth Hostel supervisor, in a remote area, at Healey Creek, about six miles from Banff. John and I roamed completely free in the forest, among elk, moose, bear, deer, mountain goats and sheep. At the age of 10, I learned to chop and saw wood with ease. The whole thing was such an adventure for two small city boys. From then on I had a strong affinity with mountain life and nature.
Living in Calgary, the highlight of the year was the Stampede in July. It's a Rodeo where cowboys come in from near and far to ride bucking broncs, bulls and wrestle steers. Money was always in short supply back then, so sneaking into all the events, sideshows and rides, was almost more fun than the events themselves.
The Stampede Parade was a must see (still is)…real cowboys and Indians in full regalia, old-timers and ranchers; hundreds of horses and beautiful cowgirls dressed in sequined shirts.
The parade of 1944 was the first time I set eyes on the love of my life. Lorna was pedaling a bike, converted by her Air Force father to look like an RCAF motorcycle and sidecar. Her three- year-old sister, Judy, was in the sidecar. There was something about this pretty little gal that intrigued me. I watched her until she was out of sight.
I played hockey on outdoor rinks almost every night in the winter months. In summer I played baseball, swam in the river, dove off all the bridges in town, played basketball and high school teams. I wrestled for the YMCA, won the Provincial Championship for several years running. John and I went to the Canadian championships twice.
My brother John married Gladys Wilson and they moved on in the energy industry to many parts of the globe with their children, Cheryl, Karen, Brent and Lisa.
At 18, while working as a steam engineer apprentice at Union Packing, I got my Private Pilot's License, with the view of going into commercial flying, but found the expense was too high.
At age 21, I took a job at Longview, a gas plant that needed a steam engineer. Longview is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Beautiful country. My favourite kind of country.
Dear old mother, whenever I went to a new job she'd wring her hands. She thought I shouldn't leave Union Packing! "It's a good steady job."
But Dad…he said, "Go for it, you can do it!"
While in Longview, I studied and wrote my Second Class papers. At that time I was the youngest person in Alberta to have a Second Class. I was 22. In 1956, I took a job with Calgary Power at Wabamun, 45 miles west of Edmonton. It was a good, solid company, extra benefits and an opportunity to get ahead. A few years later I received my First Class papers from SAIT (Southern Alberta School of Technology).
I'd been at the Wabamun station for a few years, driving into Edmonton for my days off. I was sitting at the Y after a game of handball when I was introduced to Lorna Kinsey who had stopped by to have coffee with her father. Lorna was a nurse in training, and soon to be an ER nurse. One day she showed me her photo album. I saw the photo of her in the Calgary Stampede Parade. "You're the one!" I said.
I told her my story. I'm not sure she believed me. She did like the romance of it though. We were married a few years later. Our two children, Laurel and James ("Jamie") were the delight of our lives.
I spent 30 years supervising and managing in the coal-fired and nuclear industry. From shift engineer and management with Calgary Power to manager of a plant in Pakistan with CIDA, to Karachi with CGE, to Commissioning Manager of a nuclear station in Argentina for AECL, forming my own consulting firm Martin, McCubbin & Assoc., with my colleague, Hank Martin, to a station in Lingan, Cape Breton, and finally Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.
In the early days, I had felt strongly about nuclear power being a positive, safe energy source. I could see the extreme need for sensible methods of producing power and worked in the nuclear field for ten years with great optimism. By 1983, the bloom was going off nuclear power in North America. I handed the consulting firm over to my partner and joined Lorna in our residential and commercial real estate venture in Saint John.
While in Saint John I built a hangar and put together a seaplane. We fly fished in the salmon rivers and hiked the ocean trails of New Brunswick.
By 1991, we were retired and off to the Cayman Islands. Lorna had found an eighty-year-old 'wattle, daub and ironwood' Cayman cottage.
In 1999, we received a heritage award from the Cayman National Trust for the preservation and restoration of 'Cousin Cora's Cottage' on Boggy Sand Road. Besides all the activities around the sea, my workshop and Lorna's clay shop were popular places for our grandsons.
In 2009 we moved to Victoria, B.C. After five good years there, we yearned to be back in the mountains of Alberta and moved to Canmore. Over the past years we have spring skied at Sunshine, Banff, and hiked with our children and grandchildren, Amanda Bentley, Mark and Ryan McCubbin, Logan and Jack Troy. Amanda and Tim Gesner's baby daughter, Anna, will surely join them in a few years."
Jim died, age 83, at home in Canmore, Alberta.
Grandson Mark writes: "Grandad Jim was one of the greatest teachers I will ever have in my life. His craftsmanship and art showed me how to make great things out of nothing. Hard work pays off to create great things. Always strive to explore the world because you will learn many things from different perspectives. And of course, find a great woman to travel through life with because you'll have much more fun going through it together."
Grandson Ryan writes: "He was a great man. I learned by being near him and seeing the example he gave. He was strong but gentle. Wise but grounded and one of the best lessons he gave me was one of the last. Be the man your father would be proud to know. I know that drives dad and it drives me, too. He is an example of a great kindness we all shared. And now must remember. And now I'm all misty eyed."
Jim will be interred at the McCubbin/ Laycock family plot at Union Cemetery, Calgary. Photos, stories and condolences may be shared with the family at
[email protected]
A celebration of Jim's life to be held at a later date.

Published in The Calgary Herald from June 12 to June 13, 2015
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