It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden and tragic passing of James Bretecher, a beloved husband, father, son, and brother, on Wednesday, November 11th, 2020.
James (“Jim, Jimbo, Jamie”) was born in Dauphin, Manitoba on December 13th, 1978. He attended the French immersion school, Ecole MacNeill and continued his French studies through to his grade 12 graduation.
James lived and worked in Portage La Prairie with his wife Cheryl and their two boys, Henri (3) and Oliver (2). James was very close with his immediate and extended family and spent many of his weekends between Dauphin and Manipogo Provincial Park surrounded by the people he loved. James always felt that there were never too many people at the party and there was always enough at the table for everyone.
James was abundantly curious and studied many different trades throughout his education. He was always tinkering and loved to learn how things worked. He excelled in all of the trades he took up as both hobbies and professionally including welding, fabrication, engine repair, auto body, electronics, and carpentry.
James loved spending time in and around the water; lifeguarding, instructing swimming lessons, being on the boat, and participating in water sports. He traveled to Cuba to further his lifeguard training allowing him to work during the summer at Grand Beach Provincial Park. James furthered his lifesaving skills again and worked for a time as an EMT in Dauphin.
James spent much of his free time and summers working and helping out on various farms of his aunts and uncles. It was working on the farm where he suffered the loss of his thumb. James never allowed any injury or challenge to stand in his way. He adapted and often made light of any struggle earning him the nickname of “Jimmy-One-Thumb” during his time working at the honey farm (Ash Apiaries).
James was always on the move. He soon turned his interest towards flying. After receiving his fixed-wing pilot’s licence in Penhold, Alberta, he enrolled in a flight training program in Saint Andrews, Manitoba and obtained his Helicopter pilot’s license. James’ curiosity to learn how things work pushed him further to complete his training in Turbine Engine repair in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This eventually took him on an adventure to Fort Smith, North West Territories where he lived and worked for 7 years making many great friends. The 27 hours of driving to see his family in Dauphin never deterred him. In the years he lived up North James often made the long drive home to be with friends and family. On numerous occasions his family and friends were also fortunate enough to visit him for Northern adventures.
Eventually James’ strong desire to be with family and friends brought him closer to home. He started working at Canadian Helicopters in South Port Manitoba, servicing and repairing helicopters for the Canadian Military.
James quickly made Portage his new home and established many lasting relationships. It was on one of his trips home to spend time with family that he met his future wife and soulmate Cheryl. They quickly bonded over their interests including their shared love of spending time with family and friends, their cats, attending ducks unlimited banquets and weekends at the lake.
Both James and Cheryl wasted no time growing their romance into true love for one another. It was not long before Cheryl moved to Portage to be together with James and only 6 short months after their first meeting that they started their family by announcing the coming birth of their first son Henri (August 17th, 2017). In that summer James proposed to Cheryl while swimming in the lake during one of their many pontoon boat rides and beachside picnics.
Rushing headlong into the adventure of raising a newborn while simultaneously planning a wedding, James and Cheryl once again grew their family with the announcement of the pending birth of their second son Oliver (November 7th, 2018) only 2 months after their marriage (August 25, 2018).
James never wasted a moment to spend time with friends and family, whether it was taking them for rides while captaining the pontoon boat or cooking up huge (spicy) meals for everyone on his outdoor grill. James loved hosting and always believed the more the merrier.
James’ love of life and adventure took him and his family on world travels including spending time in the United State (What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas), Germany, Ireland and close to home on backyard adventures, weekends searching out rare finds at local garage sales, on family quad trips and many picnic’s with Cheryl and the boys.
James’ biggest pride and joy after finding Cheryl was his sons Henri and Oliver, and it was his greatest pleasure teaching them about the world and watching them grow.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a fund for Henri and Oliver for their future education.
A Celebration of Life will be held for James on Saturday, August 6, 2022 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion in Dauphin, MB