James Alexander Trapnell Roddick
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.