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Joseph (Jim) Kemes Joseph (Jim) Kemes

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Joseph (Jim) Kemes

September 14, 1934 - May 9, 2019


Joseph James Kemes (Jim, Jimmy, James) Sept 14, 1934 – May 9, 2019, departed for his final sojourn, peacefully and without struggle, at the age of 84.

Predeceased by his father Jozsef, his mother Teresa, his brother Lazlo, his nephew Laci (all in Hungary), father-in-law Ross Miller and mother-in-law, Ada Miller (Oliver BC).

Survived by his loving wife Donna-Faye of Oliver BC, daughters Ramona (Thomas), Dana (Derek), and Tara (Kylie) all of Vancouver BC. Grandchildren Luke, Hannah and Sam of Vancouver BC.

After making the tough decision to leave Hungary during the 1956 Revolution, Jim first came to Canada from Hungary in 1957 as part of the Sopron Forestry Placement at the University of British Columbia. Initially finding work in the forestry and fishing camps in Powell River and on Haida Gwaii, he made his way to the Okanagan to pick fruit in ‘58, falling in love with the climate, vista and people — in particular Donna-Faye in 1961.

Between working in the Okanagan orchards in the summer and winter jobs in Vancouver, Jim took a course in commercial art through the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He picked up a job in the packing house and made his permanent residence in Oliver. He spent many years supplementing his income by painting signs throughout the Okanagan and if you look closely, you will still find the odd sign in Oliver created by Jim.

With ambition and work ethic, Jim climbed his way up the ranks in the packinghouse, ultimately retiring as the General Manager in 1994. He was instrumental in leading the packinghouse and BC Tree Fruits through many changes and modernizations. Jim proudly represented the packinghouse and Canada travelling to many US cities and to countries such as China and Thailand, building relationships with customers, sharing knowledge of the fruit and best handling practices.

During his life, Jim also served on several boards, including the Okanagan Savings Credit Union, the Oliver Arts Council and the Okanagan Valley Tree Fruit Authority. He spent many years with the local Rotary Club, and he donated artwork to various organizations for fundraisers and volunteered at SOSS with the art department.

His main hobby was creating art. In a perfect world, it would have been his career. Starting with wood inlay, he proceeded to oils, pastels, watercolours, charcoal, acrylics, ink line drawings, and eventually computer graphics. Notably, he produced a calendar every year depicting local scenery and wildlife. Jim also enjoyed growing his own herb garden, was passionate about his cactus cultivation, and cooking with peppers and paprika. He loved to BBQ, enjoyed jazz music, and debating big and small with family and friends.

In his later years, Jim was content to putter in his garden, enjoy afternoon drives through the valley with Donna-Faye and entertaining his family on the deck. Egészségedre! (Cheers! In Hungarian.)

Celebration of life will take place at 10:00 am, Saturday June 8, 2019 at the Oliver Community Centre.

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Pages: 12

From: Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium

Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Beverly Pottinger
Relation: friends

Dearest Donna,
You’ve been on my mind lately… I will never forget how you and Jim “adopted” us all when we moved to town. I have so many fond memories of you and I in your pool, frolicking with the boys while Jim looked on with a smile. You and Jim were surrogate grandparents to the boys when they were little and I’ll never forget being welcomed into your home and hearts. Jim was such a wonderful man, always with a kind word, smile and a hug and a compassionate ear. Our thoughts are with you and yours.
Beverly, Daryn, Mathew and Jeremy

From: Lynn
Relation: As kids we knew Jim when he worked with our Dad at the Packinghouse.

Our sincere condolences to Jim’s family on the loss of a kind and gentle man ~ Bill Shaw Family

From: Brian Mapplebeck
Relation: friend

Sorry Donna

From: Trish Van Vianen

My thoughts are with you all as you say goodbye to a wonderful man. I was fortunate enough to get to know him growing up in Oliver. May you all find comfort in the memories you hold in your hearts and may sharing them bring you as much joy as it did while making them.

From: Lorette Gludovatz
Relation: Friend

Sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. My condolences to Donna and family.

From: Silvia Budavari
Relation: Friend

My heart and thoughts are with you, Donna and family. Jim was a great man and I am sure he will paint many a great pictures in heaven!!!

From: Don and Ruth McLarty
Relation: Friend of Donna

Our thoughts are with you and your family Donna. Jim was a great man and a wonderful artist. Take care

From: Pat & Linda Hampson
Relation: I met Jim through my good friend Grant Bott who trained me as a Firefighter in West Van.

Please accept our sincere condolences.
Pat & Linda Hampson.

From: Val (Cowan) Hitchens
Relation: Friend

Hi Donna-Faye & family
I was very sad to hear of Jimmy’s passing. Auntie Margaret passed along the news to me. I fondly remember our get together a few (maybe more) years ago at your home with Jimmy. I treasure some items of artwork he gave me…we had such a great time visiting & I was struck by the love & happiness you two exhibited! We go back a long way growing up as neighbors – you & your family are very special to me. We are better for having Jimmy & you in our lives…I hope we can visit again soon. I will try to come to the service. Much love.

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

  Celebration of Life

Date & Time:
June 8, 2019
Beginning at 10:00am

Oliver Community Centre
6359 Park Drive
Oliver, BC Canada

Celebration of life will take place at 10:00 am, Saturday June 8, 2019 at the Oliver Community Centre.


6359 Park Drive
Oliver, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

Thank You Notice

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