Born in New Waterford on June 3, 1939, Jim was the son of the late Alexander and Cecilia (Burke) MacKinnon. After 25 months apart, Jim is reunited with his beloved Dolena who predeceased him in August 2021. They were married on August 3, 1963 and together raised 4 children. Jim is survived by his children; Cecilia (Harold) Beaton, David MacKinnon, Blair (Corrine Sponagle) MacKinnon and Shannon (Bradley) Lever. Jim was called many names during his life, but his favourite was Papa Jim.
His grandchildren were his pride and joy and Jim leaves behind eight grandchildren to mourn his passing; Willie, Katie and Holly (Beaton), Joey, Sara and Reiley (Lever) and Blaire and Alexander (MacKinnon). Papa Jim had many more honorary grandchildren, who he loved like his own. Jim had a close bond with his siblings, and left to mourn his passing are David (Gloria), Freddy, Mary “Gerry” McIntyre and Alex (Noreen). Also left to mourn his passing are sisters-in-law; Eileen O’Flaherty, Finn MacNeil and Joanne Boudreau and brother-in-law Angus Beaton, brother-in-law John MacNeil (Jean). He will also be sadly missed by his many nieces and nephews on both the MacKinnon and MacNeil sides.
Besides his parents, Jim was predeceased by his two sisters, Cecilia Beaton and Iris (Joey) Young. He was also predeceased by sisters-in-law; Agnes (Sonny) Boudreau, Sadie (Arnie) Leudy, and brothers-in-law; Mickey (Louise) MacNeil, Francis “Fikey” MacNeil, Paddy O’Flaherty and Angus McIntyre.
Like many men of his time, Jim began working in his early teens and drove truck for his Uncle Michael transporting the Halifax Herald from Halifax to Cape Breton each night. In 1958 Jim started his career as a Coal Miner and retired in 1996 from Lingan and Phalen. Not one to stay idle, Jim entered an older workers retraining program at the age of 71 and worked as a substitute grounds supervisor with the CBRVCE until he was almost 80.
As the grandson of “Jim 30 Days”, New Waterfords first magistrate and one of the architects for the Town of New Waterford, community service was a constant pillar in Jim’s life.
Jim contributed his time and energy to many organizations over the years, most notably with the New Waterford Lions Club, serving as King Lion and Deputy District Governor during his tenure and as a founding member and longtime Chairperson of the New Waterford Coal Dust Days Committee. Even in declining health, he was so glad to participate in his final Coal Dust Days parade this past summer.
Our family wishes to extend a sincere thank you to all those who have helped care for Jim over the last couple of years. To the staff of New Waterford Homecare and VON, thank you for helping us to keep Jim at home for as long as we could. To the caring staff at Parkland Cape Breton, thank you for welcoming Jim to your community and making us all feel like family. To the staff at the CBRH and the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital, thank you for making Jim’s last weeks so peaceful and for guiding us through this difficult time. A special thank you to Linda MacNeil for your love and support.
A Funeral Mass of celebration will take place on Saturday, September 30 at 10 a.m. in the Parish Church of St. Leonard, Mount Carmel Avenue, with Father Godwin Obike officiating and will be immediately followed by a celebration at the New Waterford Legion, Plummer Ave, New Waterford.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Children’s Wish Foundation or the Nova Scotia SPCA. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: www.foresthaven.ca
Coal Miner's Day
"Each dawn as we rise, lord we know all too well,
We face only one thing-a pit filled with hell,
To scratch out a living the best that we can,
But deep in the hearts, lies the soul of a man.
With black covered faces, and hard calloused hands,
We work the dark tunnels, unable to stand.
To labor and toil as we harvest the coals,
We silently pray "Lord, please harvest our soul"
-The Coal Miner's Prayer, W. Calvert