James Douglas Burgess

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of James Douglas Burgess on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. Jim passed peacefully in his home with his partner RoseAnn and his brother Rob at his side. Born in Chatham 64 years ago to the late John (Jack) and Elsie Burgess-Wigle (nee Atwood). Jim is survived by his wife RoseAnn Vis and brother Robert Burgess (Sheila) of Bracebridge. Also survived by his nephew Alex Burgess of Calgary, stepdaughter Margaret Wlodarczyk of Calgary and grandson Dallas Bonner, also of Calgary. A graduate of Blenheim District High School and Seneca College in Toronto, Jim retired from Navistar, Chatham, after 32 years, to focus on his business “A Life Full of Books” on Queen Street in Chatham. An active member of the Green Party, he put in a strong campaign for the Party in the 2004 Provincial election. Jim was an animal rights activist and strong supporter of the Chatham PAWR. He was polite, kind, friendly, and inspired so many of us “to do” something about our passions. In lieu of flowers, donations to PAWR would be appreciated. The family would like to thank the medical professionals; Willi, Monica, and Dr. L. O’Brien, as well as family members for their support during Jim’s illness and in his final days. All who knew Jim will miss his sage advice, his sharp wit, his warm generous smiles and his great stories.

47 Comments on “James Douglas Burgess”

    1. Hello. Jim … this is quite disappointing.. you did say you were looking forward to the “return”. Of the Guy Shields Trio .. all 4 of us !!!
      I’ll miss you and RoseAnn walking by 199. I wish we could have had a few conversations personally in 199 ..
      I hope you were comfortable and at piece to finally decide to close your eyes and step into the next level …
      Thank you for your endless support as a musician .. And your contagious Smile that always made my back feel so much better than I truly was ….
      I’m quite certain You had great people around you to help with your challenges .. you and rose were always together with smiles and the openness to invite a conversation from A friend who did appreciate both your interests in local live music thank you so much for that. … And then your friendship with a very good friend of ours Gerva worked with Frank and over the years I’ve known Frank to be a fantastic person who has his friends best interests far before his own. … I’m so thankful you had each other …..
      Thank you for you theirs no question Chatham has lost a positive promoter of Chatham ..the corner book shop on Queen will miss you Jim

      As will I.

      Be good !!!!!!


  1. Shock and surprise on Jim’s passing. Used to chat with him from time to time at his book store.
    My condolence to his wife and family.

  2. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. My condolences to the family. Was a coworker of Jim’s at Navistar for many years. May he Rest In Peace . Bob Teeuwen

  3. Roseann,
    So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I’m glad to have met him with you. I hope your Love & Memories help to mend your broken heart.

  4. Roseann, I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He was a great man and will be missed.

    Colleen Crow

  5. Roseann,
    I am so sorry to hear that Jim has passed! He was certainly one of the good ones! I will miss his big smile!
    Big hugs to you & all the family,

  6. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Condolences to wife and family and to his wonderful brother Bob. He is now in God’s arms and his parents Jack and Elsie. He will certainly be missed by many.

  7. Condolences to Jim’s family. I enjoyed many years working with Jim at Navistar, so sorry to hear about his passing.

  8. RoseAnn and the Burgess family

    We are so saddened by the news of Jim’s passing. He was a amazing and one of a kind man. Very kind hearted to all. Many good memories, including the Blues Fest and the times we enjoyed the Blues at the KBD Hall. May the love and memories you share help you through these difficult days. Rest in peace Jim.

    John and Terri Warren

  9. Roseanne, Rob, and Jim’s whole family, I am so very saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. His ready smile and hearty laugh will always be remembered. Elsie & my mom were such good friends and through that wonderful connection, Jim and I had a lifelong friendship. My heart goes out to you all. May your wonderful memories bring you comfort and peace. Jim will be remembered.
    With sincere sympathies,
    Myra (Foulis) and family.

  10. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I always looked forward going into his store and getting information on CK History, stories and finding treasured books.

  11. I worked with Jim at navistar for 32 yrs. he always had an upbeat personality and we would go for breakfast after retirement whenever we could , my condolences Roseanne and family. Rest In Peace Jimmy

  12. Dear Roseanne, Rob and family. So sad to learn of Jim’s passing. Great man and was always helpful to me when I was searching for a book. I will miss him dearly. Britton Grant

  13. Roseanne, Paul and I would like to offer our sincere condolences on Jim’s passing. We were very sad to hear this news.

    Paul and Janet Smith

  14. So sad to hear of Jim’s passing. Marion and I would like send the family our condolences. I have known Jim for many years and will miss him.

  15. So very sorry for your loss RoseAnn.
    He was a great friend and neighbour. Sorry to hear that he went through so much pain.
    Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Brian and Beth Krill

  16. Dear Burgess family, I’m so so sorry to read about Jim’s passing… He was raised right by his mama Elsie whom I had the pleasure to work with for years. He have the big C a good fight.

    May all your wonderful memories help your heart heal❤️

  17. RoseAnn and extended family, deepest, sincerest and most heartfelt condolences on the passing of beloved Jim. Enjoyed conversing with Jim over the years and appreciated his world view. Many blessings to Jim’s loved ones.- Walter Wolański

  18. I’m so saddened to hear of his passing. I enjoyed getting to know him at the Shrewsbury Blues Fest. He was a funny, kind soul and willed be missed. Another wonderful person gone to early. Roseanne and family I extend my deepest condolences.

  19. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️

  20. My deepest condolences RoseAnn and Family. Jim was a kind man and truly believed in public service.

  21. Lilly and Darren and Family
    RoseAnn and Rob and Sheila, we are so very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing . He was a really great guy. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  22. Yes Jim was a uniquely kind and gentle man. He and his wife helped at many activist events that we held. Always trustworthy and reliable. His store was a delightful addition to the city of Chatham. You could stop in for books and a cat if you needed one. He rescued a number of them. He will be missed by many.

  23. I was very saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. So many memories rushed through my mind. One funny story that I will share was one when we were in Grade Nine. Jim, lived in the apartments near Town and Country Lumber and I lived in the Snow House on Hwy 3 across from HR Public School. Jim convinced me one day to mix my Dad’s Canadian Club Whiskey in with milk and try it out. We did. Then he convinced me to top up the whiskey bottle with water and my Dad will never know. Well, my Dad found out and I got a wallup from him for it. That memory for ever will live with me because of Jim and the punishment I received from my Dad for doing it. That is just one of the many memories Jim and I created together in our youth. It was great to reconnect him in 2017 when I was working back in Chatham. Loved his store. RoseAnn, my condolences and please pass this on to his brother and family. I will miss Jim’s smile and the way he always greeted me.

  24. To Jim’s entire family.. very saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. The family just lived down the highway from us. Got to know Jim through his friendship with my brother. Thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time.

  25. Thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time. Knew Jim through my brother’s friendship with him and living just down the road from. Rest easy Jim.

  26. Dear RoseAnn and Jim’s family. So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He has been in our thoughts and prayers. Sadly we miss seeing you both walk by our house. I did not know Jim well, a gentle person with always a smile. We always looked forward to seeing you both in the audience and appreciated you coming out to support Guy and his music. I loved Jim cozy corner store of books. Rest in piece Jim.

  27. Dear family members,

    We are so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing! I worked with Jim’s mom for many years and always heard the good stories of both Jim and brother Bob and his family over the years. Jim’s mom was a wonderful lady and I always thought she would be around forever, I miss her wonderful warmth she shared with her friends. Jim is gone much too early, our prayers are with you.

  28. Roseann and family, so very sorry to hear of the passing of Jim. I have many great memories of all the fun times our gang had while in high school. Jim always had a smile on his face and shared his great wit with all of us. He may now be gone but will never be forgotten. Rip in Peace Budge

  29. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. One of the good guys, such a kind soul. Take comfort in your memories Rose and know he is at peace. Hugs, Kandace and Eric

  30. RoseAnn…we are sending hugs and our condolences to you. Jim will be missed by many. We always enjoyed talking with him and he was a wealth of knowledge…could find a book you needed at the speed of light. Always quick with a smile and a great story. Truly one of a kind…

  31. Jim was really a good person.
    I remember him through all our years of school.
    Nice, quiet, funny!
    Gone to soon Jim.
    Love to Roseann, Rob and Shelia.
    Life is always toooo short …..

  32. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families Roseann. Jim will be missed and remembered as 1 of the great kind hearted. Rest in Peace Jim-

  33. Jim, Thank you for your warm conversations and your great book deals. Even when I moved away from Chatham, I would still stop in for a chat and sometimes wouldn’t even leave with a book, but I would always leave with a smile.

    You provided me with some of the essential tools I needed for my journey as a Man and as a Mason.

    I will miss your wit and your willingness to have an open conversation about anything for at least an hour or more sometimes.

    Enjoy the hereafter Brother and we’ll see you on the other side!

    Mitch Allison

  34. RIP Jim.
    You were a great guy and will be missed by all.
    My condolences to his family

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