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What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Robbie Burns

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of James Napier McCrorie on November 17, 2013. Jim (though always James to his mother) was born in Montreal Quebec in 1936 to Thomas and Margaret McCrorie, immigrants from Scotland. Jim is survived by his beloved wife and best friend Elaine (nee Cameron), and his children and their spouses whom he loved: Ian, Ann (Alistair Mackenzie), and Aaron (Carmen Abela). Jim was the very proud and loving grandfather of Nicole, Liam, Jenna, Kennedy. Reuben and Keira. An only child, he gained a clan-ful of siblings through the Camerons of Moore Park Manitoba - Don and Joyce Cameron, Niel and Marianne Cameron, Jean and Leo Kristjanson, Hector and Leonora Cameron. He is fondly remembered by all his nieces, nephews, dear friends and comrades of all ages and those who have described him as a second father.

Growing up in Montreal, Jim learned to speak joual and remained proud throughout his life of his ability to speak the working man's French. He became a life long fan of the Habs and taught us all that Maurice "the Rocket" Richard was the greatest hockey player ever. Montreal remained dear to his heart throughout his life. Growing up he also learned to play the piano, and while he regretted that lessons and practice kept him from mischief with his pals, we all appreciated the magic his playing brought to many occasions.

All who knew Jim, will remember his love of the sea and trains. He came by it honestly - sailing across the Atlantic to visit his "ain falk" in Ayrshire at 16, working in the dining cars for CP Rail after high school and proudly serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Throughout his life Jim would take the train while others would fly or drive and he had just booked his next big trip, Ottawa to Melville, when he passed away.

Jim studied sociology at McGill University and got his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The opportunity to work with the Saskatchewan Farmers Union brought this city boy to the prairies which he came to love and provided the subject of his doctoral thesis - "In Union is Strength". It was while working in Saskatoon that Jim's friend and colleague Leo Kristjanson introduced him to Elaine Cameron. She eventually forgave Leo and married Jim in 1964 with a memorable reception at the Wright farm south of Saskatoon. Thanks to their love for each other (and Elaine's patience) they enjoyed almost 50 years of happy marriage.

The chance to help build a new and teaching-centric program brought Jim to the newly established University of Regina in 1965. It was in Regina that Jim and Elaine raised their family - with two memorable yearlong sojourns in Scotland. As a father Jim instilled an appreciation of honest hard work, love of life and family and a social conscience in his children. And while life was busy he always found time to watch the kids play hockey, volleyball or football. The outcome did not matter, it was the effort that mattered. And as a grandfather Jim continued to teach these lessons and adored spending time with all of his grandchildren.

Jim combined a love of teaching and academia with the passion and conviction to change the world. For Jim, social activism and teaching were inseparable efforts to make the world a better, more socially and economically just place. There were victories and defeats, but the progressive struggle continued – in the classroom, through distance education and on the NDP convention floor. And where Jim wasn't active, those he taught and mentored were.

As an academic, Jim took a particular interest in the social effects of North Sea oil development, the life and career of Scotland's Roderick MacFarquar ("The Highland Cause") and the experience of Canada's Spanish Civil War vets. Jim was among those who played a leading role in establishing the Spanish Civil War memorial in Ottawa.

In the 1980's, Jim took a break from teaching and became Director of the Canadian Plains Research Center. The job combined his deep love of the prairies with the opportunity to continue learning and teaching by reaching out to similar social and ecological regions as far flung as Nebraska and Kazakhstan. Jim finally retired in 1996, but remained active intellectually ("The Man in the Green Truck"), politically and socially.

Jim loved to talk with, not to, everyone. No matter where you came from, what you did, or how old you were he wanted to hear your story and learn from you. And while he was passionate in his convictions, he was respectful of those who viewed the world differently. Red-Clyde Marxists, Spanish Civil War vets, musicians, wary teenagers and former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers were all welcome at the McCrorie dinner table.

Jim loved to tell stories, sometimes more than once. And he had a great sense of mischief and fun. Supper time, hogmanay, the Brigadier's lunch, family reunions, visits and all those other occasions that Jim loved so much will sadly be a touch more sedate without his stories, gentle jokes and infectious laugh.

We loved Jim and he will be missed. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Dr. Paul Schwann Centre's Cardiac Rehabilitation and Chronic Disease Prevention, Management and Risk Reduction Program at the University of Regina (3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2) or the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (500-251 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3).

Family and friends are invited to sign the online obituary and tributes page at www.regina-memorial.ca. Arrangements entrusted to

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Gazette on Nov. 23, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
22 entries
November 22, 2014
January 3, 2014
Dear Elaine and family. I was about to send a book to Jim and somehow I arrived here. It is hard to believe Jim has gone. Words are not enough to express my love of him and his ways. I too feel his passing with great sorrow.
Dwight Zakus
December 2, 2013
My sincere condolences to Elaine and the family.
Laurie Williams
November 30, 2013
My memories of Jim date back to early childhood when he and my Dad (Bill Hope) became colleagues at the Center for Community Studies at the U of S in the early '60s. They were to become life-long friends. I remember the common cause and the intellectual discussions, which usually gave way to celebration and laughter. His interest in people, their stories and lives, along with his strong sense of community and justice have left a lasting mark on those he touched. This is a legacy to be proud of. It will not end with Jim's passing.
My condolences and best wishes to Elaine and family.
Kevin Hope
November 29, 2013
Jim was a role model to the many nephews and nieces in our family. We loved his stories and the time he took to spend with each of us. He made us all feel so special. When talking with him we truly felt that our thoughts and opinions were important. As one of our ‘elders' his experiences and knowledge will be sorely missed but we are comforted by the thought that many of his ideas, life experiences, and fun stories have been passed on. We'd like to send our best wishes to Elaine and family and look forward to seeing them soon.
Ernie & Wendy Cameron
November 28, 2013
Jim was great fun having next door to the Archives in CPRC. I will always remember his practical jokes and funny notes. He was always guaranteed to bring a smile to one's face. But I will also remember his love of social justice and his work with the Mac-Paps. He made the world a better place. My sympathies to the family.
Shelley Sweeney
November 28, 2013
Both Maggie Siggins and I remember fondly a wonderful trip that Jim McCrorie organized from The Pas to Churchill, Manitoba. On that voyage by overnight train were eminent worthies including the then new President of the University of Regina, Don Wells and his new wife, Deborah, Professor Barry Barlow and his partner, Mary Love. Jim cheered us on as we passed from taiga to tundra and finally arrived at the magnificent Hudson's Bay. Jim was a wonderful, informative leader on that memorable occasion. He was always a strong advocate of the Hudson's Bay Route Association, supporting an increase in the direct shipping between Churchill and Europe. I know Jim would be happy knowing that this dream is now reality. Bon Voyage, Jim. You will be missed. Gerry Sperling
Gerald Sperling
November 28, 2013
I greatly admired him as a colleague. My deepest condolences.

G. Papini
Physics Emeritus
U. of R.
Giorgio Papini
November 26, 2013
My deepest sympathy, Elaine and family. Thinking of you at this time.
Donna Huntley
November 25, 2013
I met Jim at a National Farmers Union seminar. As one of my mentors, Jim played a role in influencing my social and plitical views.
William Dascavich
November 25, 2013
I first met Jim and Elaine about 20 years ago, on Hecla Island, Lake Winnipeg. I was there with the "Moroccos," a fraternal golfing organization comprised of old friends from across Canada. Elaine became a dedicated participant in Morocco Golf Week thereafter. Jim, meanwhile, as perhaps the only non-golfing Scot on the planet, was content to sit out the golf, but took great pleasure in partaking of the ancillary social activities. The Moroccos, to a person, were captivated by his wit and warmth. We will miss him greatly, particularly when MGW rolls into Regina for the 2014 renewal. Our sincere condolences to Elaine and the family.
Eugene Szach
November 25, 2013
I met Jim when we were both active in the Waffle group in the NDP and many years later, worked closely with him and the excellent CPRC team when I edited Prairie Forum. I could not have asked for a more supportive press director. He was a great storyteller, as many have pointed out. He was also super-knowledgeable about the history of farmers' struggles, Marxist theory, and so much more. Gone too early! But he leaves an indelible mark.
Alvin Finkel
November 25, 2013
Dear Elaine and family:
I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. I appreciated the opportunity to work with him while he was Executive Director at CPRC for 10 years. He was a very kind man and was always concerned about his staff at CPRC. It was a pleasure to go to work each day knowing that in addition to hard work, one could look forward to sharing a laugh or joke – not only on the “Milestone Maiden” (which he nicknamed me since I grew up in Milestone) but also at his own expense. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Lorraine & Ried Nelson
Lorraine Nelson
November 25, 2013
Having worked at the U of R I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim on numerous occasions. He had that infectious smile and a way of speaking with you that made you feel like you were the most interesting person in the room. A wonderful man. My sincerest condolences.
Terry Leitner
November 24, 2013
I wondered if this was the same James I knew so many years ago in Montreal. Then I read an entry in the Guest Book re Musset Ave. So long ago, but I fondly remember James as a very kind young man. My sincerest condolences to his family.
Shirley Foster
November 24, 2013
Jim dominates our fondest of memories and he has shaped so very much of who we have become and what we want for ourselves, our community, our region and our nation, throughout our lives. A kind, caring, compassionate and gentle soul whose dance on the earth was nothing short of incredible. Thank you so much for the honour and pleasure of knowing you and, Elaine, children and grandchildren, please know that our hearts and thoughts are with you always.

Tom Marwick, Jennifer Turner, Nanaimo
November 23, 2013
Deepest condolences to Elaine and the McCorie family. I will fondly remember encounters with Jim at Hecla Island, Manitoba and Regina where the conversations were always interesting and where Jim lent his anchored levity to the occasions.
richard jakubowski
November 23, 2013
To those of us who grew up on Musset Ave in Montreal and played street hockey, football, baseball, built shacks and explored the woods and back yards in the neighbourhood Jim was more better known as Jamie. I remember well that smile. My condolences to all his family and friends.
Peter Brown
November 23, 2013
James MCrorie

For many years now Heather and I have enjoyed meeting with Jim and Elaine in the summer; we have enjoyed Jim's anecdotes and appreciated his keen political observations. We are grateful that in “retirement” Jim continued to be socially and politically active, to write, and to give support to others engaged in progressive causes.

Jim was a “peoples' sociologist” with an acute interest in the role people have in the making of history. Jim in turn was highly regarded by many outstanding Canadians; not least among them the Canadians who defended democracy and fought fascism in Spain. Not only did Jim have a leading role in the establishment of a Spanish Civil War Memorial in Ottawa he gave a huge helping hand to the publication of Canadian Volunteers: Spain, 1936-1939, the story of the veterans of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, by William Beeching and published by the Canadian Plains Research Center in 1989. The physical monuments that have been constructed together with Canadian Volunteers are bringing closer the day when the Mac-Paps will receive their place in Canadian history.

While Jim had his doctorate in sociology he still enjoyed comparing notes on problems of the day with non-academic thinkers; his Kazakhstan Diary: Impressions of a post-Soviet republic (1992) is a great example of very interesting discussions Jim had while riding the train across Russia from Siberia to Moscow.

Jim was a biographer of interesting characters; he himself was an interesting character. I must soon get a copy of Jim's “Memoirs…” Jim lived up to the University of Regina's motto:“One Who Serves”.

Ed Lehman, Cupar, Sk.
November 23, 2013
So sorry for your loss, Elaine and family. Jim was a good man and an engaging scholar. We remember him with a certain Moroccos fondness, too.
david gullickson
November 23, 2013
Dear Elaine and family - please accept my condolences on Jim's passing. I worked with him for 10 years, and remember that time with the deepest respect and affection. Jim was a wonderfully kind man, unfailingly fair to his employees, and always concerned with their welfare. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know him - to work for and with him - and on more than one occasion to share a joke or a lark with him - often at the expense of the ever patient "Milestone Maiden." I will miss him.
Brian Mlazgar
November 23, 2013
What a remarkable man. He achieved more than twenty people could have....rest gently.
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