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Burgess James

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In Memory of James Owen Burgess

March 19, 1965 – January 10, 2022.

Husband, father, brother, son, musician, fisherman, Habs fan, and 110% at all of them. Jamie’s exuberance for life was evident in everything he did. Jamie didn’t have hobbies, he had passions.  Nothing he did was half-hearted. 

He met Kim, the love of his life, in Ottawa where they married in 1995. The following year he took a leap of faith and moved with her to Japan.  He threw himself into Japanese culture, found the local fishing holes and made many lifelong friends.

Returning to Canada, he and Kim started a family; their two brilliant boys Owen and Darcy lit up their house. Jamie wrote them songs and filled their home with laughter and music.  He was happiest in his boat, fishing with his boys by his side, going on adventures, competing for the ‘hot stick’ of the day. He took the time to make every meal, no matter how small, the best meal his boys would ever eat. He spent his summers fishing by day and playing music with dear friends around the campfire at night . 

His passing was sudden, unexpected and has left a large hole in the hearts of many. In his passing he joins his parents, Don and Pat and his big brother David.  He will be forever missed by his sisters Kate and Anne. Jamie was like a son to Kim’s parents, Peter and Patricia Hopkins and like a brother to Torie, Jonathan and Nicola, Sean and Tricia. He was a cherished uncle to Kathleen, Samantha, Sasha, Matt and Charlie. Jamie collected dozens of friends and kept collecting them as he aged. There are circles upon circles who will mourn his passing. 

It is our profound wish that all of you will remember the gift he brought us while he walked on this earth. Joy. Love of life, and music. His sense of humor was swift, intelligent, unique and effortless. He was a friend to many in the easiest way it is to be friends with another person. He left us too soon, but he gave us so much while he was here. For those who wish, a donation can be made in Jamie’s name by following the link provided: https://www.cataraquiconservationfoundation.com/get-involved

Jamie’s celebration of life will be held on March 19th at 2pm at The Heart and Crown in the Byward Market (67 Clarence St).

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My deep condolences to Kim and the boys, his family and all his many friends. Jamie sparked joy. He will be missed.

Jamie always took time with me every time we came across each other on Parliament Hill. We share music and guitar as a common passion. I was a constable at the House of Commons and mostly at the lobbies. He played my instruments on very rare occasions.
I feel so, so sad for his departure. He will be missed but never forgotten. My most sincere sympathies and condolences to the entire family.

Kim and boys. Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved husband and father. May he rest in heavenly peace.

My deepest sympathies to you Kim, Owen and Darcy. There are no words that will ease the void you must be feeling. Over time and as you reflect on a life well lived with passion and humour may you all find peace and strength in your memories. It was so awesome to see how happy he was when he and you came to the Soo. I do and will miss him.

Much love to Jamie’s family. I fondly remember our West Block lunches and how he spoke so proudly about his boys. Jamie was so kind, humble and was the very best of hill staff. He will be missed greatly.

My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Kim, Owen, and Darcy for your loss. He was taken way too soon.
Jamie’s passion for life was infectious, uplifting and unbridled.
His love for his family was unmatched and unending. His boys, the biggest source of pride.
His never ending quest to “catch the big one” made a willing fisherman out of anyone in his vicinity.
His passion for music made them a willing audience as well.
I will always think of him as a brother, teacher and mentor, but most of all, friend for life.
Rest in peace James.

Dear Kim, Darcy, Owen and Family

Words can’t express how deeply sorry about the tragic loss of such a great guy. I always enjoyed our interactions especially in the cold hockey rinks. His friendliness and likability made his company so enjoyable. I am happy that our paths crossed in life as he had a positive impact on mine. Hope your wonderful memories will help during this difficult time.

Ryan and family

I’m so sorry to hear about Jamie, we will miss chatting with him at the trailer. His passing will leave a big hole in our corner of Lakeside. Our condolences to your family. We will be thinking of you, Kim, and your boys and sending love and support.

To Kim, Darcy and Owen,

This will not surprise you, but I hope it gives you comfort to you to know that Jamie had so many friends on the Hill.

His colleagues, many of whom also became friends, deeply mourn his loss.

Please accept our deepest condolences on your great loss.

May he rest in peace.

From my very first day on Parliament Hill, to its last (11 years), Jamie went out of his way to make not just me, but every new staffer, feel welcome and part of the team. He didn’t have to do this; it’s just how he was.  There is a huge hole in the heart of the Hill today.

While I doubt you all know me from Adam, I feel like I know all of you because Jamie talked about you so much. Every day.

My deepest and most heartfelt condolences.

The first time we came to the campground Jamie was so welcoming. We loved running into him down at the docks and hearing his fishing stories. We also looked fwd to running into Jamie and Kim while out dog walking and chatted about everything under the sun. Our son Ryan will also miss seeing him on the lake at the crack of dawn while try to catch the big one. . Only the serious fisherman were out that early. Ryan’s words … “ I will Fish Extra for Jamie now.”
We will always remember his energy and love of life.
Heartfelt condolences to Kim, Owen and Darcy.
Rest In Peace Jamie.
Bothwell family. WR -4

Jamie was one of the most powerful forces in any room. His music lit up the lives of many, mostly his own. “I don’t watch TV,” he once told me. “There’s so much more entertainment playing my guitar.” For more than forty years he was like a brother to me. And there are many more who will say the same thing. Jamie collected soul mates in a way that I’ve never seen. He admired unique qualities in others and allowed us to admire his. I am devastated as I’m sure are many others. Particularly his brothers from Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, and Lake Opinicon.. We haven’t lost you Jamie. You are forever with us. Even as I write this you’re in my ear; “don’t be so repetitive, it gets boring,”
All of my love to Darcy, Owen and Kim. You are the greatest recipients of the love from a man who knew how to love life more than most.

My deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Kim, Darcy, and Owen. We spent a wonderful evening together a few summers ago. My boys loved your boys and Jamie’s burgers. They still talk about them. It was so great to see you both again. Jamie was huge support for me at Algoma University in the classroom discussing Can Lit, at the pool table skipping Can Lit, and at the pub nights where he pushed me to play my guitar and sing. Jamie worked hard at everything he put his mind to, and I am so grateful to have known him.

Dear Kim,
Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. I feel blessed to have met Jamie and you in November when both of you kindly supported me at the dinner/walk for PH. Right away, it was clear to me that you were an amazing couple. Jamie made me laugh with his funny anecdotes. Your warmth and friendliness made an impression on all of us.
We are keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Jo-Anne Mainwood

It was February 2020 and our band had almost reached the point where we could play a full set that was mostly Jamie’s original songs. We were asked by another band to open for them at the Rainbow and that was all the inspiration we needed to put the final polish on our first set and do the gig. But we didn’t have a name for the band! Not surprisingly, given Jamie’s love for fishing, we settled on Jackfish. I remember Jamie being nervous about how the audience would react. He wrote his music around the campfire with friends and family and loved coming to rehearsal to tell us about them. He was a confident performer and rightly so, as he was a fantastic guitarist. But his songs were personal. He had a style that was truly his own, drawing inspiration from his love for Kim and the passionate life they led… Well, I wasn’t nervous. I knew people would love the songs and they surely did. The same way everyone in our band loved them the first time we heard them. May the songs play on.

Dearest Kim, Darcy, and Owen

Please accept our deepest sympathies. Our hearts go out to you. Jamie was a wonderful man, so genuine, so talented, so vibrant.

On the few times Marina and I had the pleasure of being in his company he made us feel so welcome and quickly had a smile on our faces. Being in his presence was easy, and relaxed.

In reading the many sentiments it shows how much he touched the lives of many and was loved by family, friends and colleagues.

May your love and memories of him give you strength and comfort now and always.

Love and prayers,

Mike and Marina Cowan

Dear Kim, .Darcy and Owen
Our heartfelt sympathy for your tragic loss.
I know how keenly you will miss his loving presence in your lives.

Jamie was always a bright spot at family gatherings. His joy in his family, his genuine interest in the lives of rest of us,
his warm smile, his kindness and quiet confidence put everyone at ease and feeling included.

Bill and Justin

I am so sorry to hear about Jamie’s passing. He was a great man, always kind and encouraging to us all.
Sending my condolences,

The world is a colder, darker place without Jamie. As noted by so many already, Jamie’s music made everyone around him happy (especially the silly songs, “That’s the game called football.” or “Eight, nine, ten, pie.”), his love of fishing and tying flies was infectious, and he always found the funny in life.

When I first joined the Foreign Service, I thought it was the most amazing stroke of luck that Kim and Jamie were going to Japan at the same time as I was starting my first posting in Tokyo. It was so much fun to do Karaoke and experience Japanese food with them both. Jamie had a way to make the fun last by doing something as simple as returning to Canada with a Japanenglish bumper sticker…”Save Speed, Safety Drive.”

Jamie used to joke that I needed to get back to Ottawa before our kids started shaving but I always thought we had all the time in the world. Now our kids are shaving and my path has me in Africa. That said, I think of Jamie always. On a recent road trip to Durban with the family, I thought of a fishing trip Jamie and I did with Rob and remembered how much Jamie liked Steely Dan. I ordered Spotify to play them and smiled all the while. At the end of the road-trip I learned of Jamie’s passing.

I was proud to call Jamie my friend and even more proud that he called me his.

Kim, I can’t express the depths of my sorrow and the immensity of my condolences. He was taken too soon. Owen and Darcy, our hearts go out to you both. Kate and Anne, out thoughts are with you as well.

Jamie, rest in peace my friend.

Love, Allan, Midori, Isaac, Gareth and Clare

Dear Kim and boys,

My deepest condolences for your loss. I have so many happy memories of times with Jamie. Whether on Cambridge Street (singing the juicy fruit song) or out in suburbs (drawing a fish for my daughter Keira) they were always special times. Jamie was kind, generous and committed to all of you.


As my neighbour at the trailer, he was an eager supporter when I needed help with something. I didn’t have to ask, he would just get’r done and then disappear before I could thank him. I have many memories of music around the campfire, that was my favourite part of being there. It’s hard to listen to Steely Dan now. His love and devotion to Kim, Owen and Darcy was admirable. HIs philosophy of life, inspiring.

Dear Kim and family:

I have just heard of Jamie’s passing and I am so sorry. I will miss our chats at the park while the dogs tear around. Please accept my sincere condolences and thoughts.

Dear Kim and family:

It is with a heavy heart that I heard of Jamie’s recent passing. He was an excellent musician and a stand up guy. We attended university together briefly in Sault Ste Marie in the late 1980s. His father Don was my history teacher in high school and sparked a life long interest. Jamie and I also worked briefly together at the Sault Youth Hostel. I will always remember the myriad international guests that we would encounter at our tiny hostel. Jamie was the gracious host and made people of all walks of life feel special and invited them in with his warm smile and friendly gestures. We spent some special moments playing road hockey on the tiny pebble driveway beside the hostel. I still remember his band, Bug Lab playing at the University pub nights, mesmerizing the crowds with his solid renditions of Talking Heads songs. Rest easy Jamie.We will always remember you!

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