James Grant Balfour died in Toronto, with family present, on September 22, 2009 in his 93rd year. Born on August 1, 1917 in London, Ontario, James married Margaret Adele Joanne Schmaltz on September 9, 1944. They had a very happy marriage that extended into its 65th year; she died on May 14, 2009 . James was the father of Richard James, Ian Grant and Barbara McGill, all of Toronto and all of whom survive him. Of his three siblings, Barbara Balfour Horne and Mary Isabelle Balfour of London survive him and Richard Colgan Balfour died before him. James graduated in 1938 from the University of Western Ontario, where he studied business administration. He found his first job in the stock room of a Zellers Limited store and he spent his entire career with that company. He managed several Zellers stores across Canada; they included the then main store on Sparks Street in Ottawa, the city in which his three children were born. From 1959 to 1980, the final stage of his career, he worked in Montreal and ultimately served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Zellers. After his retirement, James and Margaret lived happily in London, in the company of many friends. There they enjoyed their proximity to the Balfour family cottage at Maple Grove, near Grand Bend. In London, Jenny Curley was their housekeeper and then their personal assistant, helpful always and indispensable as they aged. An avid golfer and skier for most of his life, James was a loyal member of The Royal Montreal Golf Club and the London Hunt and Country Club and an enthusiastic participant in trips with London friends to ski resorts in Colorado and elsewhere. With Margaret, he attended the inaugural season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1953 and they and their children attended the Festival together regularly through 2007. He also enjoyed travel and reading. Although fortunate to have been in excellent health until close to the end of his 91st year, James suffered two significant falls and a serious stroke in 2008 that left him diminished and led to his death. In his final year, James recovered in London at University Hospital and then resided, with Margaret, in Toronto at Lakeside Long Term Care, at both of which he was kindly attended to by caring nursing and other staff. Rebecca Doria, the caregiver for both James and Margaret at Lakeside, was kind and attentive to both of them. Visitation will be at the James A. Harris Funeral Home, 220 St. James Street, London (corner of Richmond Street), on Tuesday, September 29 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. A funeral rite and celebration of James's life will be held at the same place on Wednesday, September 30 at 11:00 a.m., followed by a reception at the London Hunt and Country Club, 1431 Oxford Street West. The burial will be private.
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