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Remembering Jim Roome, Cowichan businessman, sea captain, wit

Jim Roome - courtesy Roome family
Jim Roome
— image credit: courtesy Roome family

Jim Roome, one of Cowichan’s best-known self-made men, maritime salts, community captains, and no-nonsense wits, died peacefully at his beloved home, The Firs, on May 6 surrounded by his family.

He was 76.

Roome, skipper of his family’s restored vessel, Vigorous II, was born to prominent locals, Honor (nee Taylor) and Ronald Roome, on Jan. 23, 1938.

North Cowichan’s Roome Road is named after Roome’s grandfather.

“Jim’s life was one of constant learning. His depth and breadth of electrical, electronic, mechanical, marine, and other knowledge was staggering, and he loved to pass it along, especially to his grandson Nicholas,” his family states.

His wife, Julie, noted Roome was “a bit of a pack rat,” gathering useful stuff for his busy life on and off the water.

His keen sense of humour was mixed with acute observational prowess.

“Jim didn’t suffer fools gladly,” Julie said.

The 63-year member of the Maple Bay Yacht Club was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Roome was also a member of the West Coast Workboat Association, and long-time of the International Retired Tug Association.

The former firefighter with Maple Bay Volunteer Fire Department served as the hall’s chief between 1967 and 1968.

“Jim was instrumental in the fire hall’s earlier days,” noted Julie.

After Vancouver Vocational School, Roome worked for BC Tel in Vancouver, and for Federal Electric on the DEW Line as an electronics tech/station chief.

Once home from the DEW Line, he settled permanently in Duncan as owner and operator of Hamilton Electric Ltd.

The Duncan Business Improvement Area member was also active with North Cowichan’s business community, and a strong advocate for his tenants and downtown merchants.

He also served on North Cowichan council in 1970 and 1971, and chaired the United Way campaign.

In lieu of flowers, the Roome family requests considering donations to the Canadian Cancer Society, or the Cowichan Hospital Foundation, in his name.

A memorial open house will be held at The Firs, 6263 Lakes Rd., Duncan, on Saturday, May 31 from 1 to 4 p.m.

“This will be a relaxed and informal gathering to share memories and stories, to which anyone who knew Jim is welcome,” his family writes.

“There will be no formal speeches or “foofaraw” as per Jim’s request. He wanted us to celebrate his life more than mourn his passing, and for old friends to reconnect once more.”

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