James Robert Prestmo

James Robert Prestmo

January 2, 1944 —

November 8, 2015


Jim is survived by his wife Anna and his sons John (Lisa) and Ross (Joanna). Grandchildren, Ryder, Emily, Logan, Olivia, Mason, Sarah, Charlene and Levi.

Predeceased by his Parents Axel and Elizabeth.

James Robert Prestmo was born on January 2nd, 1944 at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC, the only child of Axel and Elizabeth Prestmo. They lived in Hammond near Maple Ridge and after a short battle with cancer Jim’s mother died when he was 11 years old, leaving him to be raised by his father, extended family and friends.

Growing up, Jim showed a flare for music, learning to play piano at an early age, and later guitar. One story he used to tell was when he was in Sunday school, he was asked to play a piece on the piano, he instead played a rendition of Great Balls Of Fire, by Jerry Lee Lewis; he was asked to leave and not come back.

Looking to instill some discipline, Axel enrolled Jim in St George’s boarding school for boys in Vancouver. While there, Jim excelled at sports including swimming and soccer.

As a teenager, Jim chummed around with his buddies, riding motorcycles, playing sports, playing in various bands and generally getting into trouble. Eventually, not liking the path that Jim was on, his father purchased a one way ticket for him to Australia in 1963.

Stopping in Japan, Thailand and other Asian ports along the way, Jim’s ship finally landed in Sydney. He toured the country working various jobs and eventually wound up at Wire Lagoon, a farming property in New South Wales. It was here that he got his taste for working the land. He ran cotton pickers, and was eventually put in charge of crop irrigation. Also working on the property was the McDougall family, and after a short courtship, he married their oldest daughter Diana in 1967.

Jim and Di lived in Australia for about a year, and then returned to Canada. En route to Kitimat to find work, they stopped to spend time with a friend of the family who owned a ranch in the Mapes area, a place where Jim had spent a few summers growing up. They loved the area and the people and decided to stay. Their first son John was born in 1969, at St John’s hospital in Vanderhoof, and soon after they purchased the property on Blackwater Rd, which became Diamond D Ranch. In the spring of 1971 their second son Ross was born.

Jim worked the land and worked various jobs to make ends meet and created a successful cattle operation. The Prestmo’s were involved in the Mapes community for 20 years and Jim coached his boys and their friends in hockey, baseball and soccer. Jim also continued to play guitar in different bands and was forced to relearn the instrument after he cut off two of his fingers in a chainsaw accident. He became a pilot and owned a number of planes, generally using them to access remote areas for fishing and hunting. He loved the freedom of flying, terrorizing neighbors on tractors in their fields and travelling the province.

In 1988, the family moved back to Australia, finally settling on the west coast. Again Jim worked various jobs including driving coach and tour buses all over the country. When his sons moved back to Canada and the USA and started their own families, Jim followed and eventually started courting a Mapes girl in 2010. Jim proposed to his second wife, Anna Johnson, during a trip to Australia, notifying his sons with a text that read ‘gettin married’. They were married on March 12, 2011. Jim and Anna enjoyed travelling, golfing, visits with friends and family, and both became involved grandparents with each other’s grandchildren.

Jim was a social person who gained many friends in many places through-out his life. He lived life on his own terms right to the end.

Jim’s family would like to thank everyone for their messages, food and support over the past weeks, as well as the doctors, nurses and staff at St. John’s Hospital and PGRH.