By David F. Rooney
Jim Holdener, whose kindness, good humour and generosity of spirit touched many lives, was repaid in kind Monday as more than 500 people filled the Community Centre for a celebration of his life.
The 55-year-old front store manager at Pharmasave died suddenly in Tehachapi, Calif., on March 20 while on vacation with his wife, Sue. Easily one of the best liked people in Revelstoke, his passing sent shock and sorrow rippling through the city.
Jim’s Ceremony of Life, MC’d by Gary Sulz of Brandon Bowers Funeral Home, was a bittersweet tribute to the man that evoked tears and laughter by turns from the standing-room-only crowd.
“In some way Jim has touched each of us here,” Sulz told the crowd that numbered between 500 and 600 people. “His death brings a sense of loss.”
But in death there is the comfort of knowing that the departed lived life to its fullest and Jim was certainly one who delighted in its zest.
“It is sometimes said that the purpose of life is to know joy,” Sulz said. “Jim knew that purpose. The happiness of others gave him that joy.”
Jim was devoted to his parents Arnold and Bea, his late parents-in-law Hugh and Florrie Storr, his wife Sue and his six brothers, Gordon, David, Keith, Dennis, Glen and Bryon, as well as their wives, children and grandchildren.
Dennis said the family gave Jim a report card. It consisted of A+ pretty much across the board except in spelling. There, he got a D. And where Sue was concerned he deserved “an A+++.” Sweethearts since they were teenagers, Jim and Sue were each other’s best friends and together they had tremendous fun with friends and family here at home or on the road during their many motorcycle trips.
Motorcycles were one of Jim’s major passions. He owned several and he liked nothing better than hopping on his bike and zipping up Highway 23N to Martha Creek, a quick trip that was recreated by local Harley Davidson enthusiasts after the Ceremony of Life.
“Going up to Martha Creek was special for Jim,” said fellow rider Hank Krawczwk.
Mark McKee, too, had very fond memories of Jim and more than a few stories.
“One of my favourite stories — and this is before my time — involved Soren Sorenson who used to go by Jim’s house when he was just a kid and yell, ‘Come on Yimmy, let’s go yumpin!’ That was when ski jumping was big here in town. And Jimmy would be upstairs going, ‘I hate yumpin!'”
Jim was dedicated to his community and the people in it. He always listened to people, no matter who they were, and paid attention to what they were saying. And he always had an open mind. McKee said that several years back when the City began discussing water treatment Jim joined the committee looking into it because he wanted to stop water treatment. But the more he read and the more he studied the less enthusiasm he had for his earlier position and, in fact, became an ardent supporter of water treatment.
Steven Hui, who had employed Jim for the last 15 years, spoke of Jim’s remarkable ability relate to people.
“Jim was an instant hit with the staff and he was incredible with the public,” Hui said.
However, as sad as this parting may be “there will be a day when our paths will converge,” he said.
Jim Holdener, born Oct. 21, 1954, and died March 20, 2010, was cremated and his ashes in-urned at the Mount Begbie Columbarium at Mountain View Ceremony.
He will be missed.