Dr James C. (Jim) Osborne 1923–2008

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 5, June 2009, page(s) 212 Obituaries

Jim Osborne passed away in his sleep at home on 30 August 2008. Jim was an avid skier and windsurfer and a folk music enthusiast.

He obtained his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1946. That summer Jim and his new bride Wanda went to Pangnirtung on Baffin Island where Jim served as the only medical doctor in the eastern Arctic for 4 years, making house calls via dogsled with his ever-faithful guide and companion Eetowanga. His and Wanda’s first two children were born during that time, Jim honing his obstetrical skills. His fondness for the harmonica and his cheerful nature served him well during their time on Baffin Island.

Jim and his young family returned south to Edmonton where he began specialty training in general surgery at the Royal Alex and Charles Camsel hospitals under the tutelage of the late Dr Walter Anderson. In 1956 Jim and Wanda moved to Kamloops with their growing family and he joined the Irving Clinic. They subsequently moved to Vancouver’s North Shore, and Jim entered practice at Lions Gate Hospital as a general surgeon with an interest in thoracic surgery. He soon joined forces with Dr Bill Arber and later with Dr Bill Fenn. Although not one to seek notoriety, Jim served the medical community as an outstanding chief of surgery and subsequently chief of staff at Lions Gate Hospital.

Jim’s joy of life was expressed in his family, his love of music, and a passion for skiing and windsurfing. In 1998 (at the age of 75) he skied 89 days at Whistler. One of his proudest personal achievements was receiving the Old Guy Award at the Dave Murray Ski Camp at age 78. He was exceedingly proud of his grandson, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, one of Can­ada’s World Cup downhill Olympic hopefuls, who Jim first taught to ski. Windsurfing in Aruba was another of Jim’s accomplishments late in life.

It took some doing to catch one on Jim Osborne, but he was totally floor­ed when he entered the formal banquet as president of the BC Surgical Society in Penticton in 1972 to find a life-sized cutout of himself modeling for the Eaton’s catalogue in a suit of long underwear. It was a highlight of his medical school days. Jim leaves behind a loving family of seven children and his wife, Wanda, as well as one stepdaughter, 15 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and his close companion of 9 years, Irene Hart. Jim will be fondly remembered by his colleagues and associates and his many, many grateful patients.

—Norman Hamilton, MD
West Vancouver