The world has lost an extraordinary human being. It is with profound sadness that the family announces the passing of James, a man possessed of a brilliant mind, gentle soul and tender heart, after a long, courageous and feisty battle with illness, on May 14, 2009, in his 48th year due to HIV and Hepatitis C- related complications.
Dearly beloved, best friend since high school, and husband of Antonia (‘Smudge’) Swann, James is predeceased by parents Rudolf and Marie (nee Karl), second mother Gerda (Gitt), and oldest brother Walter. Adored by his remaining siblings, sister Hilda (Al), and brothers John (Jill), Joe (Marlene) and Bill (Ardith), and by his mother-in-law Ann Swann and his brother-in-law, and surrogate younger brother, Peter Swann. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and his many cousins, in particular, Judy (Weissmann) Kretz and husband Werner for whom he held a special place in his heart. He will also be missed by his many friends and colleagues in the ongoing fight for safe blood for all Canadians and justice for all those with HIV and Hepatitis C.
James was a highly respected, articulate and exemplary activist who represented the true meaning of fairness and kindness. A member of the board of directors of the Canadian Blood Services, co- founder of the Canadian Treatment Action Council and one of the founders of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, as well as numerous other boards and committees including the Canadian Hemophilia Society and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario), each of which benefited from his legal expertise, drive and compassion for others. James was the recipient of many honours and awards for his tireless efforts during his too short life, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal awarded by the Governor General of Canada, the City of Toronto Gardiner Award for Citizen of the Year, the Canadian Association for HIV Research (CAHR) Special Award for his role in encouraging research in the field of Hepatitis C-HIV Co-Infection, the Canadian Association for HIV Research ”Red Ribbon” Award for his work in AIDS advocacy and he was one of the first names put on the Ontario AIDS Network Honour Roll celebrating outstanding achievement in HIV/AIDS advocacy, but he always considered his ultimate reward, the continuing ability to be able to do something that helped others. He also played one of the leading roles in initiating the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada and James was one of the lead plaintiffs in a class action suit that was launched to secure Hepatitis C compensation, which resulted in a $1.1 billion settlement for Canadians infected through tainted blood. An immediate private family service is planned. In future, there will be an announcement of a larger public memorial and celebration of James’s life and work.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Toronto and Central Ontario Regional Haemophilia Society, located at 45 Charles Street East, Suite 802, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1S2, telephone (416) 924-3446 or toll free 1-888-838-8846, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.hemophilia.ca/en/provincial-chapters/ontario/toronto-and-central-ontario-region. For those who may wish to express their condolences at this time, please share your thoughts to email@example.com.