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Coutts, William James (Jim)

William James (Jim) Coutts, born Aug. 29, 1920, passed away Friday, Dec. 2, 2011.
With the love of music in his heart and the peace of the season, Jim Coutts took the hand of his wife Norma and walked to their heavenly home she prepared.
Born in Hardieville, Alta. to David and Margaret Coutts, Jim was the second youngest and the last surviving of eight children (David, Margaret Ellen (Ella), Susan, Flora, John, Robert (Bob) and Jesse). His father emigrated to the region from Scotland to mine coal and make a new and prosperous life for his family. The values of a strong work ethic, and service to the community were taken to heart by Jim, which he instilled in his family.
Jim was educated in Hardieville and Crystal Lake schools. In 1940, he went to work at the Crystal Dairy in Fort Macleod. It was there he met and married Norma Simonson from Granum on Sept. 20, 1944.
Together, Jim and Norma raised four children, David Coutts (Phyllis), Margaret Radlinsky (Steve), Neil Coutts (Arlene) and Jean Patience (Shawn). In addition, left to cherish his memory are 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Jim also leaves many nieces and nephews in the Lethbridge region with fond memories.
Jim spent the early part of his working life at the Crystal Dairy in Fort Macleod making butter, which received awards and ribbons from as far away as Wisconsin. In 1957, Jim’s steadfast and earnest work ethic earned him a position in Scandia, Alta., where he bought grain for the Alberta Wheat Pool. Fondness and connection to the community of Fort Macleod brought the family back to operate the Tourist Texaco Service and Dinette west of town at the Junction of Highway 2 and Highway 3. Jim and Norma’s venture provided warm 24 hour hospitality and home-cooked food. It became one of the premier rest stops in southern Alberta. With a whistle or song in his heart, overseeing the operations and visiting with customers, who became lifelong friends, was a passion for Jim.
Eighteen years later the family expanded their restaurant operations when they built and opened the Scarlet and Gold Inn in 1977. Over the next 22 years Jim welcomed friends, managed the business and in his spare time, washed dishes, peeled the potatoes and fixed things. His experience overseeing the quality of butter or grain was taken into the unique role he played in quality control at the restaurant. He was often found at the end of many banquet serving tables, ensuring each plate met his high standards as he poured the gravy over the mashed potatoes.
Jim strongly believed in giving back to the very community which blessed his family. In the early years he helped coach track and field, and organized the Fort Macleod Boxing Club. He was Past Exalted Ruler and life member of B.P.O. Elks No. 129, honorary life member of the Fort Macleod Curling Club, served two terms as municipal councillor for Town of Fort Macleod, and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and AOTS.
Besides his regular nightly walks with his wife Norma, Jim enjoyed many hours caring for and watching his horses race. Yet the fondest memory will be that Jim did everything with a song in his heart. Whether he hummed along to the tune on an antique gramophone, whistled while climbing up the front stairs to the house or sang in orchestras and choirs, the memory of the pureness of Jim’s voice will be cherished by his family and friends for many years to come.
The family warmly invites friends and acquaintances to join them in a celebration of life, Friday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall Society, P.O. Box 718, Fort Macleod, TOL OZO.
The family would like to thank the management and care-giving staff of West Highlands Good Samaritan Assisted Living in Lethbridge for the loving care and attention given to their father for the past two and a half years

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