Blake Wilson James born February 14, 1928, passed on peacefully at the East Gate Lodge in Beausejour on November 20, 2022.
Blake was preceded by his parents Gordon and Margret Susan (née Small); sister Norma; brothers Leslie and Donald James.
Blake was raised on the family farm in Lydiatt, Manitoba. He left home at an early age for the city lights where he found work as a commercial artist. It was in Winnipeg that he met fellow artist Bill Mason, and together they moved on to Crawley films and later the National Film Board of Canada.
While at the NFB, Blake worked on many projects, some of his own were, Through a Broken Pane, Prairie Album and Wop May. He also worked on films produced and directed by Bill Mason, Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes, Paddle to the Sea, and Death of a Legend, to name but a few.
In 1969 the NFB released the film Blake, Bill’s homage to a vagabond of the skies, to popular acclaim, becoming one of the NFB’s top viewed productions of all time. It later went on to become an Oscar nominated contender.
Whether it was paddling his red chestnut canoe down remote rivers, or flying his yellow bi-plane over the horizon of unknown adventure, Blake cherished his independence. His quick smile and almost impish approach to life won him friends wherever he went.
Upon retiring Blake returned to the family farm where he pursued his passion for flying, motorcycles and music.
A Service of Remembrance will be held on Monday, November 28, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at Sobering Funeral Chapel, 1035 Park Avenue, Beausejour, MB. Interment will follow in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Lydiatt, MB.
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To all of the James family, I pray that the comforting arms of the Creator God, surround you all and give you peace. May the memories you cherish give you strength to face the future. “Fly high above the storm clouds of life!”
Rick Andruchuk (Andy)
Blake was a unforgettable character! Every summer I worked at MPC I hoped that Blake and Bill would drop in. They were 2 of a kind who loved life and didn’t mind sharing theirs with others. Their memory and work will live on through all they have done.
A life well lived is the greatest life of all. Blake identified his passions, he pursued them and lived them. To me this is a big part of the formula to obtain a happy life. This seems to best describe Blake Wilson.
To his friends and family goes my deepest heartfelt condolences.
Solo Canoe Facebook group.
My Deepest Sympathies to Blake’s family and friends, for God knows he had many of friends who wished him well throughout his travels. I was lucky enough to meet and work with Blake at Atkinson Film Arts in Ottawa. The World was richer for having him in it and he had a Great outlook on life, and filled the room with his presence. His memory will live forever. Rest in Peace Blake.
I worked alongside Blake in 1986 at Atkinson’s in Ottawa. At the time he was in the layout department with me working on the Teddy Ruxpin television series. He was an amazing artist and a wonderful human. He would stop and chat about anything under the sun. Despite his incredible life experiences he was always very humble and never one to brag. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
Bradley Small and Eileen Chartier
our deepest sympathy to the James family on the loss of Blake James a patriarch of the family who will be missed by all.
Extending sympathy to family of James Blake. I met him when he was in East Gate Lodge, a very quiet yet friendly good looking fellow. When I read his obituary I looked up the NFB films mentioned. I never knew he had such an interesting life and I regret not getting to know him better. Definitely my loss!
Please google: National film board BLAKE and watch it.
I was sorry to lose Blake who was such a talented gentle soul who loved nature and embraced life. He was very modest in speaking of his art talents and his ability to build and fly planes and to fix almost anything. He was n inspiration to many of us here at Meech Lake and we will always remember him fondly
My deepest sympathy to the James family and friends of Blake. It is with great sadness that I learned of his passing. Blake will be always remembered as an adventurer and a man who loved freedom, flying and the great outdoors. He was a hero to me in my youth and I was truly blessed to later meet him at the NFB in Montreal.
Blake was a mentor for me, who became a dear friend. We both shared a allot in common especially a love of aviation and WW1 aircraft and I will always cherish the times that we owned a small airplane together. We spent great weekends at the small airport in Gatineau, mostly chatting and fixing our Petenpole to keep it flight worthy. He had a wealth of knowledge and stories and was always ready to fly or hop on his motorcycle and ride across the country to be with friends and family.
It was my great pleasure and privilege to be a small part of Blakes life when we worked together at Atkinson Film Arts, where he was always generous with his time and talents. Blake had the most wonderful positive outlook on life, with a mischievous sense of humour. He was always ready to share a laugh and was full of fun and wonder. To me he will always be missed and thought of with much love and friendship, the same that Blake always shared with everyone he met.