James Charles Degras was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on September 3, 1929, and left this world from Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 26, 2013. In between, he worked hard and loved well. Jimmy was predeceased by his wife of 53 years, Camille (Viger); his parents, James and Elizabeth (Fordham); and his brother, Gerald. He left behind his daughters, Janet DeGras (Larry Wilson) and Catherine Beard (Dave Beard); grandchildren: Elizabeth Northart, Katherine Kidd (Jacob Kidd), Jonathan Hepler, and Eli Wilson; sisters: Mildred Burt, Irene Vaughan, Cheryl DeGras, and Lorraine DeGras; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters in-law, and close friends. Jim was a lifelong member of the YMCA where he learned to swim as a young boy and participated in Golden Gloves boxing as a teenager; where as a young man he spent quality time with his daughters; and where, as a senior citizen, he found a safe environment for socializing and staying fit. James started working early in life, first helping in his grandparent's store in Montreal, weighing potatoes and sweeping floors, then in the kitchen at Eatons of Canada. He learned the tool and die trade at Bombardier in Montreal, then moved on to work as a mechanical engineer in Detroit, retiring first from General Motors, then again from TRW in 1991, when he moved to Colorado Springs to be near his daughters and grandchildren. There is so much more that could be said, but for our dear Papa, life was first and foremost about his relationships with family and friends. He will be dearly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be sent to The ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter, Pikes Peak Hospice, or your local YMCA.
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Published in The Gazette on June 30, 2013