James Alexander Trapnell Roddick

June 2, 1988 - March 22, 2020

Wished for in Whitehorse, but born in Ottawa on a humid June evening, James arrived in this world a big, beautiful boy of 9 pounds 7 ounces. The youngest son of Jenny Trapnell and David Roddick. James was back in Yukon 18 months later where, together with his big brother Stephen, they shared a childhood filled with Lego, outdoor adventures, hockey, soccer, Scrabble and chess. 

James embraced the beauty, freedom and opportunity which Yukon provided. Always caring and nurturing, he especially loved animals: hamsters, three-legged cats, family dogs and most of all, his “Pittie”, Charles, a gentle, loyal and loving companion. James had a large community of friendships that began in daycare and grew continually throughout his childhood, youth, and adult life. At school, the skateboard park, or the gym, through a simple smile and a kind word, James found kindred spirits everywhere.

Graduating from F.H. Collins in 2006, James completed a BA Honours in Sociology from St. Francis Xavier University in 2011 and his Bachelor of Education degree through Yukon College’s YNTEP program in 2019. It was upon entering YNTEP that James discovered the value of mentors, especially Dr. Norma Shorty and Dr. Brian Lewthwaite, YNTEP’s coordinator

As a young adult, James committed his life to helping children and youth. He began working at the Whitehorse Boys and Girls Club’s after school program, moving on to the City of Whitehorse and Equinox Rox summer programs. He then worked for BYTE (Bring Youth Toward Equality), the Yukon government’s Youth Directorate, and Youth Group homes, finally accepting an appointment as a Supervisor at Gadzoodsaa Student Residence. After finishing his Education degree, he also worked in Whitehorse elementary schools as a substitute teacher. 

Throughout his life, James showed thoughtfulness and care for others. He was gifted in his ability to work with children and youth and strove to inspire them to have confidence in themselves. He had a smile that lit up the universe. His big-hearted energy made people happy and in so doing, brought joy to himself. 

In his spare time James devoted his energy to helping Whitehorse youth access programs he had been privileged to enjoy while growing up. Through the non-profit Yukon Youth Outdoor Leadership Association, he forged new partnership agreements between governments and community groups to provide more equitable access for all Whitehorse youth to Mt. Sima. The Young Riders Program, which he managed for ten years, was the accomplishment that James was most proud of. As he once said on a resumé: “Those of you who know me, know I am passionate about two things: helping people and exercise”. 

James was a natural athlete who made exercise a mental as well as a physical discipline. The subject he chose for his BA Honours thesis, “Discipline as Morality: Examining ‘Going to the Gym’ as an Ethical Practice” says a lot about the central role that physical fitness played in his life. Rising regularly before 5 a.m. to swim, stretch, lift weights or throw tires around his backyard, James believed in and thrived on his fitness routine. In summer, he’d often follow workouts in his big, sunny Porter Creek yard with a bonfire or a barbecue with his buddies or his family. 

In late 2019, James reconnected with Jennie Ann Perrin, who at the time was working as an ER nurse at Kingston General Hospital, Ontario, his grandpa Roddick’s hometown. As a couple who found their calling in the caring professions and loved children, they were a good match and began planning a life together. 

Sadly, in early 2020 James began to struggle with depression, an illness that eventually took his life. James’ extended family wish to thank all his friends, teachers and all those he cared for, worked with, and taught for the kind words they have shared since his passing. If James were here today, he would want to tell them that if you feel depression or sadness, talk to a friend or someone who can listen, keep yourself busy, and recognize that simply ‘showing up’ takes courage.

As James liked to tell his cousin Emma, “It’s all about family”. He loved and was very close to his brother Stephen. James’ family will always love him and are grateful for all the love he shared and brought into this world. 

James is survived by his parents, Jennifer Trapnell (Frederik), Whitehorse and David Roddick (Melanie), Mimico, Ont.; brother Stephen Roddick (Chelsea), Whitehorse; his love, Jennie Ann Perrin, Whitehorse; Aunts Anne Shannon, Halifax; Maura Champagne (Mark), Winnipeg; Tracey Dellapinna (Paul), Halifax; Barbara Kemme, London; Daphne Arsenault (Dave), Windsor; Uncles Paul Roddick, Ottawa, Michael Roddick (Michelle), Kingston; Paul Trapnell (Marina), Winnipeg; and, Andy Trapnell (Fabienne), Vancouver. He was thrilled to have as cousins Emma Shannon, (Geelong, AU), Chris and Alex Dellapinna (Halifax); Chris and Katie Arsenault (Windsor) Dana and Louise Kemme (Edmonton and Melbourne, AU); Brendan and Ruairi O’Brien (Glasgow, Scotland); Heather and Caroline Roddick (Surrey, UK and Ottawa); and, newfound cousins Jack and Owen Champagne and their siblings (Winnipeg). Honorary relatives include Deanna Hutchison and Resti Credo (Victoria).

James’ every family conversation ended with a heartfelt “I love you”, which was always reciprocated. We will always love you and miss you, James. We know and feel you with us every day in the wonder and beauty of the world surrounding us.

Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life for James will be held at a later date. The family thanks everyone who has offered messages of condolence, stories and memories, donations of food, flowers, and charitable givings. We also thank those who mourn James but may have found it too difficult at this time to reach out. In lieu of flowers, or gifts please consider volunteering or making a donation in James’ memory to organizations that support youth leadership and mentoring, such as the Yukon Youth Outdoor Leadership Association and Northern Cultural Expressions Society, Big Brothers and Sisters, and Special Olympics Yukon. We would ask all Yukoners to make themselves aware of and support local mental health care programming.

48 Comments

  1. Ben, Doris, James and Steven

    To Jennifer Trapnell, David Roddick and Stephen Roddick,

    We are extremely sorry to learn about James’ passing.

    James had several fun times with the Malone boys (James and Steven) about 25 years ago. We remember seeing James at the Yukon College graduation ceremony in May 2019.

    Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to all of you at this very difficult time.

    From the Malone family,

    Ben, Doris, James and Steven

    Reply
    • Carol english

      James was a wonderful young man who will be missed

      Reply
  2. Paul Dellapinna

    We will always remember James’ infectious smile, big hugs, and the warm way he easily connected with everyone he met. Jenny, David, Stephen and all of James’ family and friends, we send our love and heartfelt condolences.

    Paul, Tracey, Christopher and Alex

    Reply
  3. Duncan Sinclair

    We are gobsmacked by this. Don’t know what to say. Can’t share some music through this medium. Though don’t know if James was a jazz fan!

    Can’t imagine what you, as family, are all going through. Do know that many of us are thinking about James and you.

    Somehow life will go on, but it’ll be difficult without James in our community. He demonstrated that he had so much to give already. Best wishes

    Reply
  4. Barbara scheck

    Dear Jenny and Stephen,

    I was so very sorry to hear of your unimaginable loss. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your family.
    I will make a donation in James’ honour.
    Barbara Scheck

    Reply
  5. Charlene Baker

    Condolences and hugs to his family and friends.

    Reply
  6. Linda McDonald

    To Jenny, Dave, Stephen and all the family. My deepest condolences to all of you. My heart aches with reading this, and aches thinking about your pain. May James’ love for all of you, bring you peace.

    Reply
  7. Deb Sumner

    He was so strong for us … So very sad for something to defeat this kindred spirit James
    My heart saddened for the loss for us and the suffering for you
    The darkness should of never taken you for the light you gave to all of …sadly missed our coach yukon special olympics curling team

    We toazt a tea with you from our mason jars u shared with us
    Bye James

    Reply
  8. Sylvie Binette

    What a beautiful human being James was. I would like to send my deepest and sincere condolences to the family, and especially to Jenny, the Mom. My prayers are with you in this difficult moment. Sending you much love and courage.

    Reply
  9. David Arsenualt

    Humbled but proud to be listed as part of this great Family. Love and support for the taking from afar. Peace to follow and lots more life on the near horizon.

    Reply
  10. Alla Blysak

    Heartfelt condolences and hugs from our family to yours. Kindred spirit is how we will remember him and all his work with the youth will not be forgotten. ❤️

    Reply
  11. Leah White

    Condolences and hugs to his family and friends. He touched so many lives.

    Reply
  12. Diana Komejan

    Dear Jenny, David and the rest of your families I am so very very sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  13. Becky

    Beautiful James – I remember meeting him as a young boy and the way he grinned so widely at my son during their first meeting.
    I will never forget that smile.
    To Jenny, Dave, Stephen and Frederik – my deepest sympathies for this unimaginable loss.

    Reply
  14. Gillian Staveley

    We are sending heart warming energy to your family. As someone who knew James all the way back to daycare days, I was very saddened to hear of his passing.

    Having always known and appreciated James kind and accepting nature, in his memory I plan on dedicating any extra time I have to helping youth and young adults in my community. I know he positively impacted the lives of those around him and to honour his life, I hope we can all do the same in any little way we can.

    Be at peace my friend and to those he left behind I also hope peace will grace your life in the days and years to come.

    Reply
  15. Faye Cable

    Dearest Jenny and family. Love you and sending you the warmest of Hugzzzz. Faye

    Reply
  16. Don and Gayle Trapnell

    Gayle and I were very saddened to learn of the passing of James. Any words I express could not ease the pain you must be feeling, but I do hope that the knowledge that dear family in Australia are thinking of you Jenny will give you some comfort.

    Reply
  17. Ruth nielsen

    I am so sorry to hear of this. I knew James many years ago. We went on the Battlefields tour together and when I was too shy to read my poem to the group, he read it for me. My sincerest condolences to his family.

    Reply
  18. Mark Evans-Ehricht

    Jenny, David, Stephen….you are incredibly strong even as you must have felt so unbelievably weak in losing James. Your written tribute to him is deeply moving. It is also so brave and giving of you to the community to share about depression, in the aim of helping others, as James helped others, to live fuller lives. It was my son who broke the news about James to us with a special video call. He was gutted. He held James in high esteem. Praying for you.

    Reply
  19. Claire Ness

    James was a beautiful person and did so much for the community.
    I am so sorry for this terrible loss. My heart goes out to Jenny and Steve.
    XOXO

    Reply
  20. Doug de la Mare

    I will always remember James with fond memories, i’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  21. Julie

    James was a wonderful young man who loved working with kids. We enjoyed getting to know him at our school. He will be missed. Your family is in our prayers. Holy Family Elementary Staff.

    Reply
  22. Nancy Hughes

    Jenny, you and James’ family and loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing words of encouragement for others struggling with depression and personal challenges.

    Reply
  23. Susan & John

    We are so very sorry. There are no words.

    Reply
  24. Carmen Ingram

    My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. There are no words to describe how sorry I am for your loss. I wish for you many, many wonderful memories of James to help you get through this very difficult time.
    Deepest Sympathy,
    Carmen Ingram

    Reply
  25. Alan and Barbara

    Jenny, David and Stephen, words can’t express how sad we were to hear about your loss. The James we will always remember was a happy, outgoing child with an infectious smile.

    Reply
  26. Tara

    James had a way of seeing the good in others. He drew you in with his warm smile and sense of humour. Once your guard was down, rather than a punch, he spoke truth (a perception he observed about you). “You are kind”, “ you are a mentor”, “you have a good sense of humour”, “you are disciplined”, “you are strong”, “you are a hard worker”….

    And with those words, he encouraged others to strive for their own best!

    I hope to emulate that quality of his character, so that the light does not go out. I am very thankful that I had the privilege to meet James.

    Reply
  27. Michele Markley

    Dear Jenny. No words are adequate enough to express oneself in such a sorrowful time. My thoughts are with you and your family as you live your grief. Much love, M.

    Reply
  28. Kwan Mah

    I have fond memoirs of James and my son Kevin Mah playing together when they were young.

    Reply
  29. Justin

    You were such a great person James, as someone who group homes. I loved how great you were with the youth, showed what a great person you truly were. I miss you buddy

    Reply
  30. Sheri Lynne Nevrtal

    My thoughts and prayers are with all the family at this time. I am so very sorry for your devastating loss.

    Reply
  31. Debra Fendrick

    Dear Jenny & family – my deepest condolences to you – every word in your loving tribute to James shows his specialness. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  32. Brian Lewthwaite

    James, you are an exceptional person. You are committed to the core for making a difference in the lives of others. Everything about you demonstrated commitment.

    We laughed many a time with you about this unrivalled commitment. You dedicated yourself to becoming your very best on your professional training in YNTEP. We saw this commitment every day, and on top of this we saw your interpersonal caring, obliging, and serving side.

    You are an exceptional person.

    I’m really sad I wasn’t more attuned to your greater need. I’m sorry I might have missed this…..

    but, I enjoyed immensely our collegial journey.

    You’re a great man and I am confident in your new journey ahead.

    You’ll be sorely missed by your family and friends.

    Reply
  33. Pippa Lawson

    Dear Jenny and Steve – my heart is with you and your family as you grieve this terrible loss. The lovely words of remembrance of James make it clear that he was a giver and that our community will be poorer without him. My deepest condolences.

    Reply
  34. Elise Maltinsky

    Oh Jenny…..my heart is with you as you grieve this deep loss.

    Reply
  35. Penny Ferbey

    I was so delighted to renew acquaintance with James when he was student teaching at GMP. Happy too with how genuinely pleased he seemed to be to meet up with his “old teacher”. My triplet grandchildren absolutely adored him as a student teacher. . When he returned to the school for an Open House in the spring they were all thrilled that Mr. Roddick was in the school. I was also impressed – as a former educator – with the wonderful FN unit he taught , and the parents’ day he prepared with the kids as hosts and presenters. I am so sorry for your loss Jenny and Dave, but you can certainly remember James with love and great pride. Take care.

    Reply
  36. Aura Vivas

    My heart is broken into little pieces for your great loss. It is also a great loss for all of us, for our children and youth, a great loss for this community. I am so sad that James felt so much mental pain as he experienced that terrible condition that is depression. I pray that all of you who loved James will find strength and serenity in God who suffers the pain His children feel, loves them unconditionally,; as well as find comfort in the beautiful moments lived with James, who is a treasure you will keep in your heart. My sincere sympathies.

    Reply
  37. Sharon Nelson

    Jenny, Steve and family,

    Our hearts go out to you, We are so sorry for your loss.

    Tom and Sharon Nelson

    Reply
  38. Caroline Marshall

    James was a lovely person and a wonderful cousin. Although our visits weren’t frequent, anytime we were all together, James always had a smile and a joke that brought everyone together. His dedication to his community, his family, and to making the world a better place continues to inspire me. We will all miss him so greatly.

    Reply
  39. Arlin McFarlane

    James was the friend of my son Gabe and a frequent visitor at my house. The boys would all have breakfast in their boxers with their long legs hanging out. There would be Kelvin and James and Gabe and maybe Matt or Jay or David. They were a tight ball of friends and I was glad that Gabe had them. Jenny and I met playing soccer when our children were very young and we stayed acquaintances and then became friends over the years, particularly through soccer, and friends and Hospice and my Stories into Songs project. We had many conversations about our aging mothers and how to best support them. To lose a child is such a heartbreaking thought and to suffer that loss at a destabilized time in the history of our lives is achingly difficult. While I had not seen James in a very long time I knew of him through talks with Jenny or from Gabe’s meet-ups when he would return home for visits. It took me a long moment to realize that Steve’s post was about James. I kept trying to make sense of the words and the names. It just didn’t seem possible. We all hold a light inside us, and sometimes the forces around us cause that light to be blown out. Sometimes it is very hard to rekindle that light. May we all remember James and remember to be kind to one another and to shelter the light that we call carry, so tender and so necessary.

    Reply
  40. Megan Slobodin

    Jenny, I cannot express how sorry I am. James was in my son’s class at Vanier, and I well remember his big smile. I love to see it again here. I am so happy to read where his life trajectory went, the fulfillment he had and the love he found. This rendering of his life here and who he became and what he achieved are unsurpassable. We cannot let the ending of a life define the character of the whole life, which is perfect in its completion. We on this side are stunned, bereft, saddened, in grief. We share that with you. James is a lovely soul. Please know we are all connected in this existence, all of us together, and you are still with James. I pray you and Dave and Steven and Jennie come to feel your continuing connection with him.

    Reply
  41. Barbara Gower

    Dear Jenny,
    My heart is breaking for you during what must be the most painful time of your life.
    I remember so well when we worked on the 2006 Grad Committee together — I remember you speaking very fondly of James, whom you were extremely proud of!

    My daughter Gwendolen and my son Dylan both knew James. They said he was a phenomenal young man, and were incredibly shocked by his passing.

    Jenny, there doesn’t’ seem to be much I can say to sooth your grief.
    I saw this quote recently… “When a child dies, you bury your child in your heart.”

    Sending much love and deep condolences to you and the family.
    Love, Barbara (Gower)

    Reply
  42. Janet

    I knew James professionally as the administrator of the funds he was constantly applying to for his programs for youth. I always admired his passion for helping youth. He was a unique caring young man. I am so sorry to hear of his suffering and his passing. My condolences to all his family.

    Reply
  43. Ken Hodgins

    Jenny, I’m so sorry. While I didn’t know James, my daughters did and Crystal had been one of his teachers. My sense of you has always been of your strength and caring and those qualities should sustain you and your family through this. Our sincerest condolences.

    Reply
  44. Kris and Elaine Gustafson

    Jenny and family, we are so saddened to hear of your terrible loss. Your words describing the life of your son are heartfelt. Our deepest sympathies.

    Kris and Elaine Gustafson

    Reply
  45. Jodi Gustafson

    Jenny, Steve & family, I am terribly sorry to hear of your loss. James had such a warm and kind presence. I hope you find some peace in all the goodness he brought to young peoples’ lives as he makes this transition to the spirit world. Warmest wishes.

    Reply
  46. Frances

    I had the honour and privilege of working with James. I was always so impressed by the care, attention, and dedication he gave to the children and youth he worked with. He made a tangible difference in their lives . James also wrote fantastic notes of his interactions with the children he worked with that always brought a smile to my face when I read them. Although I did not know him well it was obvious that James had a big heart and a bright spirit. He will be very much missed in this community.

    Reply

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