The Okanagan lost a good one last weekend.
After a life well lived, Jim Tisdale was at his Kelowna home, overlooking the lake, with his family all around him, listening to his favourite Mozart concerto as he passed away on Sunday. He was 83.
Tisdale and the love of his life, Bitten, shared a love of nature and a passion for the outdoors. Tisdale was an avid fly fisherman (truly an art form for him), a paddler, hiker, runner, hunter and skier (with style and grace both in champagne powder and on Nordic trails). In his later years, he became a keen birder. So, of course, he was a long-time member of the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club.
He was also a student of the heavens, say family members, who add that astronomy was his religion. His quest was to study the universe and share his knowledge until his last day. He helped establish the Okanagan Centre chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Kelowna and was instrumental in establishing the Okanagan Observatory on Big White Road.
He was born and grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., studied zoology at Michigan State University and went to medical school at the University of Western Ontario, graduating in 1963 cum laude. He met Bitten, fresh off the boat from Denmark, in Sarnia in 1957 where they worked in a lab together. They married in 1960.
As soon as he finished medical school, they set off for British Columbia, choosing Kelowna as their home, playground and place to raise their family. He was an ‘old school’ physician who made house calls, delivered his own babies, and had great compassion and dedication to his patients. He was also part of an amazing close-knit team at Group One Medical.
Above all, Tisdale loved his family: his wife with whom he shared more than six decades of love, adventure and partnership; his three daughters, Kirsten (Scott), Sarah (Ian), and Jenn (Phill); seven grandchildren (Jake, Theo, Rachel, Grace, Fraser-James, Jacob and Julian); nephews and nieces in Ontario and Denmark; and many “grand” dogs.
He made many others feel like family and he loved them all, they say. His family and those friends are sharing “great sadness but also a tremendous sense of gratitude” as they say goodbye.
He was known for his intelligent wit and wicked sense of humour. Many members of his family and close friends were often on the receiving end of his gentle humour and practical jokes.
Until the last few years, he enjoyed a vibrant healthy life. His family expressed appreciation for the care and compassion of his medical team, especially Dr. Dan Obedkoff and Dr. Richard Hooper.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on July 27 at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Rd. in Kelowa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the KGH Foundation (kghfoundation.com) or the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Okanagan Centre (Kelowna) chapter with cheques made out to RASCOC and mailed to: RASCOC, 285 Terai Ct, Kelowna, V1X 5X6.