It is with great sadness that we announce our dear friend, supporter, Patrons’ Council member and former board director, Jim Eccott passed away on March 6, 2020. Jim was a member of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Board of Directors from 2010 to 2017, and a tremendous leader who truly believed in the power of philanthropy.
Jim was an entrepreneur, starting several businesses and working as a lumber broker before joining DiaMet Minerals in 1992. During this tenure, he was involved in the discovery of the Ekati Mine, Canada’s first Diamond Mine and consequently co-founded the Canadian diamond industry.
He lived in Kelowna for almost 50 years, but his generosity and community impact spread far beyond B.C.’s interior. He was a previous member of the UBC Board of Governors and a current member of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors.
“Jim Eccott was an enthusiastic philanthropist and will be missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him,” says Angela Chapman, President & CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “Jim considered giving back to the community his post-retirement career. He was a dedicated member of our Board and Patrons’ Council, working tirelessly to raise both money and awareness to improve and transform health care in BC.”
Jim was described as the embodiment of integrity and kindness and a thoughtful leader, providing guidance and wisdom to the organizations he supported. He was passionate about giving back and making a difference in the community. His philanthropy was guided by the simple notion of seeing a need and filling it.
Once, when he wanted to make a gift to Kelowna General Hospital, he simply met with an emergency physician to ask what they most needed but lacked the budget for. In a short time, they had a new X-ray machine.
In Vancouver, Jim was a passionate supporter of the opening of the Joseph & Rosalie Segal and Family Health Centre at Vancouver General Hospital. This purpose-built facility is the first of its kind in B.C., caring for people with mental health and substance use issues. More recently, he also supported Dementia research.
“The whole concept of hospitalization and health care is changing,” said Jim. “[Working with the board] was a wonderful experience because, number one you realize just how hard the staff worked, particularly the emergency departments and some of these other areas. The dedication of staff to the cause. If you’re not involved with the hospital you hear these stories and you don’t think very much about it. But when you’re close to it you see just how much they’ve accomplished.”
Jim was predeceased by his wife and the mother of his children, Shirley Anne. He found love again and married Colleen Dickson Eccott who lovingly cared for him and was by his side at his passing. Jim led his life with his family — children and grandchildren and great- grandchildren — always in his mind and heart.
In addition to his philanthropic board memberships, Jim served on the Board of DiaMet Minerals Ltd., Canadian Airlines International, Del Roca Energy Ltd., Northern Air Support Ltd., Sun-Rype Products and most recently Canterra Minerals Corp.