Synonymous with the Westport Lions for over 50 Years, Jim McGlade Celebrates 80th Birthday

Lion Jim McGlade celebrated his 80th birthday at Lions’ Den this past Saturday.

Westport Lions Roar

By Lion Bob Reddick

If I had to pick one word to describe Jim McGlade, I would choose devoted.  Jim has been a devoted husband to Jeanie for almost 53 years, a devoted son, and father to daughters Jenny and Julie, devoted grandfather, and a dedicated Lions member for 52 years.  Family has always been important to Jim.  Often, when he is asked if he can go somewhere or do something, Jim replies, “Sorry, I can’t, I have to watch my grandson (Duston or Jack) play hockey.”   

Last Saturday, Jim celebrated his 80th birthday at the Lions’ Den with a large crowd of family, friends, Lions, hockey teammates, and players he has coached.

Jim is a celebrity in the Westport hockey scene for his coaching and being able to still play hockey at 80.  How many 80-year-olds do you know that can skate, let alone play hockey with players that are up to 25 years younger?

Behind Jim’s many accomplishments and adventures is his youthfulness, determination, optimism, and his devotion to whatever he tackles.

Jim started his policing career in 1965 in London, Ontario, and was then transferred to Perth, then to Westport, and eventually ended his 30-year career at OPP headquarters in Perth. He spent 28 years with the OPP marine unit and instructor across the province. Jim was assigned to marine security for the 1976 Olympics. 

Jim escorted the Royal Yacht Britannia on four different occasions from the Quebec border to Toronto.   One of his favourite stories is taking Princess Margaret, attired in a bathing suit and towel for a boat ride in 1981.  After the boat ride, Jim gave the Princess his OPP hat.  When Jim was asked what Princess Margaret said about the experience, he recalled her saying, “Absolutely smashing.”

Another of Jim’s cherished memories was when 30 police officers took some disabled young people on a Rideau Trail trek in all-terrain wheelchairs.  “One little girl had never seen a porcupine.  I’ll never forget it,” says Jim.

Lion Jim is a legend in the Lion community.  He is known for many of the devilish tricks he has played on Lions over the years.  Jim has been active in promoting Lionism outside our community; as Zone chair in 1981, he helped to charter Lions Clubs in Prescott, Delta, and Seeley’s Bay. At the District Level, and as Regional Chairperson of Sight First, he pioneered vision screening for young people in elementary schools, researched and fundraised $20,000 for a pair e-glasses, collected used eyeglasses, and participated on three trips to Ghana and one to Trinidad Tobago to help people there with vision problems. 

At the club level, he has held all executive positions including president, secretary, treasurer, director and continues to be chairperson of Vision Screening, Sight First, eSight & Hearing Committees. Jim is actively involved in many of the club’s initiatives, such as, the club’s Reuse and Recycle Centre, the beach and property maintenance, and vision screening at the local elementary schools.

Jim is one of only eight people associated with the Westport Lions Club since 1946 to receive the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.  Currently he is the only Lion in the club that has been honoured with a life membership.

In addition to being an active Lions’ member for 52 years, Jim has been heavily involved in the community.  He has chaired the Parish Council at St. Edward’s Church for many years.  Jim has enthusiastically coached Junior B hockey, girls’ baseball and along with Terry Bryan was instrumental in organizing the first addition on the old Westport arena. He also volunteers at the Westport airfield.

Jim’s daughter Julie summed it up best, when she said, “He has given us all the values of being good, honest people and to always be willing to help when needed. He’s a guy anyone can count on.”

Clarification:  The recent fundraiser for Robbie Murphy was not a Westport Lions Event.  It was organized by community members and was held at the Lions’ Clubhouse.

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