STUART “JIM” STRONG, MD December 7, 1932 – February 29, 2020

STUART “JIM” STRONG, MD
December 7, 1932 – February 29, 2020
Stuart James “Jim” Strong was born and grew up in South-Western England, in the village of Banwell, Somerset. As the youngest of two sons born into a family of simple means during the Depression and then WW2, resourcefulness was embedded in his psyche (even the family cat earned its way by contributing half a rabbit to supper on occasion) and this kind of creativity carried him through life. An adventurer at heart, young “Stuart” enjoyed walking far and wide – alone or with his grandad who called him “Jimmy”. As an older lad he joined organized groups such as the scouting movement and the speleologist club exploring caves in the Mendip Hills. Little Jimmy grew and developed into a valued athlete at grammar school.  Knowing that he would be conscripted when he came of age, but not wishing to harm anyone, he resolved to become a doctor. This was no mean feat for someone in his circumstance, but from pure determination and discipline he managed to qualify and then support himself through university as a farm labourer, living at home and commuting to university for lectures on a secondhand motorbike. At the University of Bristol Jim met Stella Bayly, his “lucky star” and now wife of 64 years. He worked his way from medical officer in the RAF to Pathologist at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford during which time he produced a research book, “The Placenta In Twin Pregnancy”, and four children. Martin, Alison (John), Philip (Laurel) and Helen (Wade) were his and Stella’s “two pigeon pair”. All survive him – he is predeceased by his parents, Percy & Florence, and his brother, Don. Opportunity brought Jim & family to Canada where they started a wonderful new life here in Sudbury. Dr Strong became the Director of Pathology at Memorial Hospital and was soon recruited by Dr Roger Perrault to run the Sudbury Red Cross. He oversaw the modernization of the Blood Services here and for NE Ontario, the construction of a dedicated Blood Transfusion Centre on Cedar Street, and organized a world class Plasmapheresis program. He inspired great loyalty amongst his staff and volunteers. Unfortunately, the Centre and its services and programs – that he built over decades and which provided essential service for all of Northern Ontario – were decommission against his objections. He wrote about his experiences in his memoirs “Jottings” and specifically about the Red Cross in the “The Sanguinary Years”. The plasmapheresis program is now being reinstated. At the same time he lead his children on regular expeditions to explore the local topography – by foot, by ski, by sail and by canoe. In 1973 a plot of land was discovered and with the manual assistance of family and friends, Jim & Stella constructed a lakeside cottage on Manitoulin Island. The “Stronghold” became a favourite retreat, the place where the family felt most at home, where we bonded and formed indelible and joyful memories, (and a few indelibly panicky ones too – fortunately all with agreeable endings). Eventually the cottage on White’s Point became Stella & Jim’s retirement home where they spent their “golden years” (or “rusty years” as he called them)… industriously and continuously improving the gardens, decks, docks, storage, steerage, swallow boxes, etc while welcoming a steady stream of visitors – family, friends, birds and other wildlife, and occasional itinerant human wanderers who just happened to be in the right place and right time. From this base they travelled afar to cycle Europe etc and resumed the self-propelled wanderlust of Jim’s youth. Jim & Stella were active in the Manitoulin Nature Club and contributed generously to the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy program. Jim was always down to earth, making friends wherever he went. His colleague Dr Theo Ciszewski described him as “a great human being, very cordial to everybody around, helpful on every occasion, a very wise man, a very good physician and extremely good organizer of Canadian Blood Services… all Canadians should be proud of him.” He was to us a most beloved husband and father, a wonderful provider, and protector whose ultimate success is that he is survived by his wife and all children. He was a consistent supporter of all our endeavours. No words are sufficient to describe how much he will be missed. You done good, Jimmy. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Maison McCulloch Hospice, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (www.escarpment.ca) or charity of choice. A memorial service at the Jackson & Barnard Funeral Home with a celebration of life to follow will be held in June, date and time to be announced. For donations, or messages of condolence www.Lougheed.org.
“To me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe — such a great universe, and so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible—and eternal, so that come what may to my ‘Soul,’ my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part — I shall still have some sort of a finger in the pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me — but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.”