Obituary of James Samuel Dobie

Obituary of James Samuel Dobie

This is the text of the obituary of J.S. Dobie which appeared on the front page of the Bruce Mines Spectator, Thursday, Nov. 5, 1942. It took up the full left-hand column plus about four more inches plus a photograph. A photocopy was sent to me on March 9, 1995 by Mr. Merritt Strum of Bruce Mines, Ont.


The sudden passing at Blind River, Wednesday evening, October 28th, 1942, of James Samuel Dobie, B.A.Sc, O.L.S, D.L.S, has taken from the north one of its most outstanding figures. His loss has left a vacancy which will be felt not only in his immediate community but throughout the whole north country to which he gave close to half a century of untiring devotion.

Mr. Dobie was born in Bruce Mines the eldest son of James Barnes Dobie and Mary Caroline Lobb. He spent his early childhood in Bruce Mines, coming to Thessalon about 1878 where his father's business interests in Marks, Dobie & Co., were located. He was educated at the Owen Sound Collegiate and received his degree of Bachelor of Applied Science in 1896 from the University of Toronto.

Immediately upon graduation, Mr. Dobie took up the work of surveying and his first assignment took him to the Province of Quebec in connection with the Beauharnois Deep Waterways project. In 1898 his marriage to Miss Esther Maude Smedley of Toronto, took place. Immediately after, he removed to Port Arthur where he was located for two years and it was while there that he qualified as an Ontario Land Surveyor.

Mr Dobie's life work was spent in Ontario with the exception of about a year and a half when in 1905 he was made a Dominion Land Surveyor and appointed Director of Surveys for the newly formed Province of Saskatchewan. Since his return to Ontario in 1907 his work has carried him from boundary to boundary through every important chain of lakes and rivers from James Bay to the Great Lakes. The Dobie base line in Patricia, run in 1919, is a monument to his name. Countless lakes and islands hitherto unexplored and uncharted were first recorded and named by him. For about eight or nine years his work covered the western part of Ontario. During that time he ran a practically continuous traverse line following the course of the Albany River and stretching from the Manitoba Boundary in James Bay. In 1915 and 1916 he surveyed the islands of Lake Huron from Bruce Mines to Little Current. In 1930 and 1931 he mapped the islands along the north shore of Lake Superior.

But Mr. Dobie's associations were not confined to the forests, streams and lakes of our land -- throughout his whole life he displayed deeply human interests in all with whom he came in contact. The relationships of mutual respect and loyalty between him and the men he worked with are a lasting tribute. Enduring friendships were formed and in some cases the same men were members of Mr. Dobie's party for over twenty years.

A recent manifestation of his deep sense of community welfare was his work and association with the Canadian Red Cross Society when the new Thessalon Hospital was built. He was for many years a member of the Dyment Lodge, A.F. and A.M., and active on the Thessalon Board of Trade. Mr. Dobie's faith and devotion to the church, of which he was clerk of the session, was both a great support to its work and a source of deep satisfaction to himself. His life as a man and as a citizen is not only an inspiration to those coming after him but a challenge to all who would see the North Country filling its high destiny in the development of the human and natural resources of Canada.

Mr. Dobie is survived by his wife and five daughters: Mrs. David Munroe of Ormstown, Quebec, Mrs. A. W. Derby of Noranda, Mrs. J. M. Keith of Montreal, Mrs. John Fullerton of Thessalon, and Mrs. D. R. Wilson of Timmins, Ont., by five grandchildren, by two sisters, Mrs. John McEachern of Sudbury and Mrs. Fred R. Hutchison of Huntingdon, Pa., and three brothers, Mr. Draper Dobie of Port Colborne, Mr. Joseph Dobie of Bourlamaque, and Mr. Norman Dobie, Debert, N.S.

The funeral service was held in Zion United Church, on Saturday, October 31st. The minister in charge, Rev. R. W. Beveridge, said in part: (several inches of text omitted here)

Honorary pall bearers were: Mr. D. J. Sandie, Dr. J. M. Robb, Mr. F. W. Rickaby, Mr. A. A. Burk, Mr. Donald McKay, Mr. Bamagesic, Mr. A. Grigg, Joseph Hicks. The pall bearers were: Mr. Wilfred St. John, Mr. F. H. Cavanagh, Mr. William Yates, Mr. Albert Thomson, Mr. J. O. Coulter, Mr. F. A. Clement, Mr. Jas. Fullerton.

The out-of-town relatives who attended the funeral were, Mrs. David Munroe, Dr. and Mrs. A. W. Derby, Mrs. J. M. Keith, Mr. and Mrs. D. R. Wilson, Mr. Draper Dobie, Mrs. J. A. McEachern, Mr. Joseph Dobie, Dr. and Mrs. Fred R. Hutchison, Miss Alice Dobie, Mr. Fred Marks. Interment took place at the Little Rapids Cemetery.