James Harry (Jim)
JAMES HARRY (JIM) CONIBEAR passed away suddenly from a heart attack on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, at the age of 70. Jim was the third child and youngest son of Harry and Alice Conibear (nee Lee), with siblings Elizabeth (Beth), Robert (Bob) and Melody.
He was born on June 5, 1942, at the farm of their neighbours, Percy and Astrid Rider, in the Donalda area. He was one of the last two children to start school at Buena Vista. He was then bused to Meeting Creek for grades two to seven, and then attended Donalda School until Grade 10.
Jim went to Edmonton to visit his sister Beth in 1958 and never returned to school. He started working for a company called Siemoss, Edison, Swan, installing telephone cables for the City of Edmonton. Jim worked on a gravel crusher in various places on Highway 43 from Whitecourt to the B.C. border for one and a half years, and then returned to Edmonton and worked in the sheet metal industry for a few months. In 1960, he started working for a printing firm in Edmonton and became a printing pressman. From then until 1977, he worked in several printing plants, first in Edmonton and then in Calgary, in many capacities, from pressman to pressroom foreman and production manager.
Jim married his first wife JoAnn in Edmonton and had a son and a daughter. Divorcing in the early 1970s, Jim moved to Calgary, where he later met Marlene Barros (nee Lesmeister) and married in 1973, bringing to this union a stepson and a stepdaughter. Jim and Marlene continued to live and work in Calgary until 1977, when they bought the farm from Jim’s parents. Jim’s dream was always to return to the farm, as he thought it was a great place to raise a family. After they moved to the farm, Jim continued to work in the printing industry, as well as farming, until his retirement from the Stettler Independent in the spring of 2006.
Jim and Marlene’s blended family became a close-knit family and many people didn’t know that the children were not full-blood siblings. Their family has grown to include 11 grandchildren and one precious great-granddaughter.
Over the past 35 to 40 years, Jim has played in many bands in the area, including Little Bit O’Country, The Treblemakers, Twilight Echos, Gophor Broke, and most recently with the Jazz Guys and the Donalda Coulee Cats. With these bands, he played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass guitar and some banjo and steel guitar. He tried to play the fiddle, much to the despair of his young children who were trying to sleep as he practised. Jim played classical guitar at the Stettler Music Festival, various weddings and other functions. Over the years, he taught music lessons in his studio in Calgary and later at Pfeiffer’s House of Music in Stettler and also out of his home in Donalda and this past year at the Donalda School. Besides being musical, he was also a good carpenter, having built the family home, and Marlene said he could always fix anything.
Travels took Jim and Marlene to Hawaii, Mazatlan, Mexico, Cuba, England, Wales, Ireland, Nova Scotia, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Alaskan Cruise and Mayan Riviera, Mexico. Jim loved every place he visited, but was always glad to get home to the farm.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Marlene; son, Terry (Joan) Conibear; daughter, Karen (Dan Mulej) Conibear; son, Brad (Cheryl) Barros; daughter, Lori (Earle) Brooks; grandchildren: Amy, Justin, Kristina, Brett, Laura, Katelyn, Latasha, Austin, Madison, Donavan and Jordyn; great-granddaughter, Elizabeth; sister, Beth Conibear; brother, Bob (Diane) Conibear; sister, Melody (Doug) Provost; mother-in-law, Kay (Jerry) Hager; sisters-in-law, Linda (Bob) Crockford, Jan Wiebe, Laurie Lesmeister, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and aunts and uncles. Jim was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Alice Conibear; sister, Marilyn Conibear; grandson, Justis Barros; father-in-law, Joe Lesmeister and brother-in-law, Clint Lesmeister.
A celebration of Jim’s life was held at the Donalda Community Hall on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 2 p.m., with Albern Bergstrom officiating. A very heartfelt tribute will be delivered by Cousin Don Lee. There will also be a presentation of Jim’s life, featuring his music prepared by his granddaughter Amy. Musician Scott Pfeiffer will accompany the hymns. Honorary pallbearers are all of Jim’s friends and fellow musicians. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Bashaw Funeral Home. Family and friends are invited to a luncheon provided by the Donalda Cemetery Club, following the Celebration of Life. The internment will follow at the Donalda Cemetery. If desired, donations can be made to Donalda and District Museum Society, Central Alberta Heritage Society, Donalda Coulee Friendship Club or the Donalda Cemetery Club.