James McKitrick Thurlow

Obituary
  • "Mr. Thurlow was one of my teachers at DMCI and I recall his..."
    - Grant Millard
  • "My history teacher; very nice guy."
    - kim vaughan
  • "Mr. Thurlow was my history teacher at DMCI and have always..."
  • "Most sincere sympathies, Setsuko, to you and your family. ..."
  • "The best high school I had. Inspiring, kind, and brilliant...."
    - Leslie Rice

JAMES McKITRICK THURLOW December 20, 1928 - April 5, 2011 Passed away peacefully on April 5, 2011 after a valiant battle with pneumonia. Dearly remembered and survived by his beloved wife Setsuko of 56 years, sons Peter (Abu Dhabi) and Andrew (Burlington) and granddaughters Laura and Katrina (Ottawa), and relatives, colleagues and friends in Canada and Japan. He was predeceased by younger brother Jack (London). Born in Edmonton, grew up in Toronto and St. Thomas, and graduated from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. In 1952 Jim responded to the call of the United Church of Canada to teach in Japan at Kwansei Gakuin, a United Church related school. He spent eight happy years teaching English at the high school and history at the university. Jim's time in Japan changed his perspective from a traditional western focused view to a broader, deeper world view. In 1955 he married Setsuko Nakamura of Hiroshima, and together they pursued their studies at the University of Toronto before returning to Kwansei Gakuin. In 1962 Jim returned to Toronto with his family where he had an opportunity to teach at Don Mills Collegiate Institute, and thoroughly enjoyed his teaching career as the Head of the History department until his retirement in 1991. He challenged students to think critically, both in the classroom and during many study tours to the USSR during the Cold War, as well as to other European, Asian and African countries. Deeply concerned about Canada's silence over the intensifying nuclear arms race, he became instrumental in mobilizing concerned colleagues in the mid-1970s to organize a disarmament education group, Hiroshima - Nagasaki Relived, with the support of the mayors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Toronto. He established the James and Setsuko Thurlow Scholarship in Peace and Disarmament Studies at the University of British Columbia. He also became concerned about the plight of Japanese immigrants to the Toronto area and facilitated the founding of Japanese Social Services, a non-profit community-based agency in the Greater Toronto Area. Indeed he was a man of global vision and local action. What brought joy to Jim was traveling, feeling the ocean under his feet, and the accomplishments of his family. There will be a celebration of his life at 2:00 p.m. (visitation 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.) on June 11th at York Cemetery & Visitation Centre, 160 Beecroft Road, North York (north of Sheppard Ave., west of Yonge St., 416-221-3404). A reception will be held after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations to either of the following would be appreciated: Japanese Social Services (6 Garamond Court, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 1Z5 Canada, telephone: 416-385-9200, e-mail [email protected], website www.jss.ca/english/about.html), or Hiroshima Day Coalition, 100 Bain Avenue, 51 Oaks, Toronto, Ontario M4K 1E8, website www.hiroshimadaycoalition.ca or a charity of your choice.

Published in the Toronto Star from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2011