We Remember

BURNS, James Edward (Jim)

May 22, 1943 — February 1, 2024

The family is sad to announce the peaceful passing of Jim in Kelowna on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the age of 80 years following a brief illness.  He is survived by his beloved daughter Jennifer (Nick); Jennifer’s mother Pauline (Mike); and his siblings Don, Patricia, Mickey (Bill), and Joann; as well as many nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his cherished wife Erika Henfling; and siblings Larry, Brenda, and Connie.

Born in Montreal, Jim was educated at Concordia University (BA), Queens University(B.Ed), and the University of Ottawa (M.Ed).

He moved to Kelowna in 1981 to teach at Okanagan College where he met and fell in love with Erika Henfling.  While in Kelowna Jim loved to organize weekly pool matches for himself and a variety of friends and Okanagan College colleagues.  His weekly reports on those matches are legendary.  Sometimes you could see a touch of the fighting Irish in his blood, but that was only fleeting moments.  Those moments would pass and the glint in his eyes and laughter would return.  He loved music, played lead guitar in a band during his Montreal days, and always had a song in his heart.

The family will be forever grateful to his friend and colleague Doug Birtwistle who helped him through the final stages of his illness, and also to his very close friend Walter Wheatley.  A special thank you to the nurses and staff of Three Links Manor and Brandt’s Creek Mews for their compassionate care and kindness.

There will be no service per Jim’s request.  Memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.


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Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Link: cmhakelowna.com




  • Michelle Nicholson says:

    I have fond memories of Jim and I send my condolences to his family. For several years my office was across the hall from Jim’s at Okanagan College. I loved being greeted by his hearty Good Morning each day. I also enjoyed watching him teach one semester when he allowed me to audit his Organizational Behaviour course when I was working on my Masters degree. I learned a lot from him that semester. He helped me to be a better teacher as well as helping me to be successful in my MBA OB course. He touched lives and expanded his students minds. I’m glad his was part of my life.

  • Barry McGillivray says:

    Jim was one of my first colleagues at the college. He was smart, sometimes eccentric and quirky and a very unique personality. He was a drinker, a smoker and a gambler but his heart was always in the right place. I miss the pool games and I will miss his unique view of the world. and the “Jimbo theory of management”. He was my friend and I will miss him.

  • Patricia Burns says:

    Our family loved listening to music (especially Irish music) but the only one who had any musical talent was Jimmy. He livened up so many family gatherings with his guitar playing. Rest In Peace, Jimmy.
    Your sister Pat.

  • Michael Bilodeau says:

    Jim was a great friend and our 3 years together in the band were wonderful. A great guitar player. ! I will miss Him.

  • Rudi Metzger says:

    I was one of the fortunate few who Jim invited into his life and passtimes, including regular pool games. I still have many saved pool summaries that Jim penned after each match. They were aptly titled “The Pest Report”. They still crack me up. Rest in peace with your beloved Erika Jim!
    Rudi Metzger

  • JOANN BURNS says:

    As a child I remember Jim as the big bully brother. As a teenager he was my ally and understood me better than my parents. He also tried to teach me guitar but he was the only one in the family with that kind of talent. Jimmy had a flair for writing. .When my two younger sisters died he wrote an epitaph for each of them that was bang on – the good, the bad and the ugly. I asked him to write mine asap so I could edit it although I probably wouldn’t have to. lol I remember great times at the cottage in Newport, Vermont and Christmases when he used to entertain us all.
    RIP Jimmy.

  • Robert Leclerc says:

    Jim was the man of many nicknames: the Count, Jimbo and Unola are but a few. Good man, whom I am pleased to have known for more than 50 years, dating to our Montreal years. In music, he was a country and western guy while I was the opera man. We respected the difference. Jim will be missed by all, including me.

  • Mickey Naisby says:

    Jimmy was my younger brother. We were blessed to grow up in a large family in the best of times – carefree outdoor play, good neighbours, etc. He was our family musician entertaining us at all family gatherings. Musician, academic, teacher, father of a beautiful daughter Jennifer, husband to his cherished Erika, Rest In Peace dear brother.

  • Springfield Funeral Home says:

    My condolences to Jim’s family and friends.

    I first met Jim in 1991 while beginning my BBA at OUC. Jim was one of a few people during my undergrad years who inspired me to want to teach, and I’m glad that I was able to tell him that many years ago.

    Close to twenty years ago, I began my career teaching Business Admin, which included some of the same courses that Jim had taught me. So I reached out to him. What began as just a quick request for some advice, turned into regular, almost weekly, chats. I guess I could call Jim a mentor, but often he was more like a big brother. Over the years, we had many lengthy conversations. Jim would share his stories that often contained intriguing nuggets of wisdom.

    Those who knew Jim, and had the privilege to call him a friend, know that he had an imaginative wit. He entertained many through his Pool Hall Journals (a.k.a., “The Pest Report, not-so-live from the Rustydome”). They reminded me of Gonzo Journalism, and I sometimes pondered if Jim was channelling Hunter S. Thompson as he penned his humorous tales.

    Jim certainly leaves a legacy. At least once a semester, I’m able to tell my students about a professor I had way back. Just this week, I had a question from a student in my O.B. class, asking what we can do to affect positive change. In my answer, I was able to mention Jim, how he promoted change, which inspired me to try, and how my students can soon carry on as well. As part of my answer, I was able to humorously quote Jim from more than 30 years ago; so, his words and lessons live on.
    In saying goodbye to Jim, I’ll quote him once again. It’s actually an old saying, but Jim used it often to end a class or close a telephone conversation:

    … “Keep the home fires burning.”

  • Donna says:

    Jimmy and Erika were both very close family friends, To myself, but also my parents. If dad wasn’t playing pool with Jimmy, the four of them were sitting around the table playing cards. He wasn’t my professor in college but always helped me when I needed it. Was a really good advice giver, other than being over confident that we could start a band and go in tour, haha!
    Losing Erika was the hardest thing Jimmy had ever experienced (while I knew him) and every time him and I would talk about it, I could see the overwhelming loss and grief he continued to feel. He spent a lot of days with us after losing her. Grief never leaves your heart, and my heart broke for him.
    My scotch glass will always be full, and with every sip, I will think of you Jimmy,
    Thanks for being such a good pal to my dad, and I hope you are at peace, enjoying every moment with Erika again ❤️

    Sending so much love to all of Jimmy’s family.

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