Cover photo for James Gilles Goodwin's Obituary
James Gilles Goodwin Profile Photo
1930 Jim 2024

James Gilles Goodwin

June 11, 1930 — March 6, 2024


James Gilles Goodwin, born and raised in the depression era small town environment of Elmira Ontario, the seventh of eleven children to Hilda Goodwin (née Moeser) and William Goodwin, passed away in his 94th year on March 6, 2024.  His high school sweetheart and wife of 68 years Marlyn (née Johnston) was at his side.  Jim's legacy includes his four sons, Bill, Tom, Greg, Randy, their spouses Johanne, Penny, Susan as well as six grandchildren; Estelle, Joel, Sun-Jae, Ju-Yu, Roslyn and Tori. 

Crediting having learned the value of hard work from his father, and learning to care for others from his mother, Jim graduated from the medical school at the University of Western Ontario in 1957.  Proud of his alma matter, he instigated a bursary program for medical students that will continue forever.

During their honeymoon in 1955, Jim and Marlyn were struck by Muskoka and set their sights on moving here.  Their ambitions were put on hold as the couple and their son Bill moved to Nova Scotia where Jim served his military obligations as a medical officer in the Canadian Navy, a requirement to repay the debt of service for their financial support to study medicine.  The arrival of Tom and Greg while they lived in Nova Scotia expanded the family.  The Muskoka dream lead them to Gravenhurst in 1962 where Jim became a local doctor in the Fisher Medical Clinic. Their dream of a daughter did not work out, as son number four (Randy) arrived a few years later.

In  the early years, previous to 1969 and OHIP,  the doctor got paid when the family could afford it.  Occasionally, he was paid in farm produce   Sometimes, the altruistic doctor would simply tear up accounts payable during Christmas, to help financially distressed families. 

 Jim was a lifetime member of the Canadian College of Physicians & Surgeons, having a distinguished 35 year career serving his patients. Always living by the motto of Rotary International (Service Above Self), he was an honoured 50 year plus member, along the way having been awarded three times with the highest form of recognition Rotary Club bestows, known as Paul Harris Fellowships, for outstanding contribution to the community.   A few of the many other interests include being a long time member of the Canadian Power Squadron, where he enjoyed teaching first aid and boating skills, being a director at the Trinity United Church, and spending lots of time at the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre. Jim and Marlyn were both recognized volunteers at the Muskoka Heritage Centre for over seventeen years, in addition to dozens of other local community efforts.  They both enjoyed developing musical skills with the Bi-Focals, a local concert band where Jim played the trombone.

Jim was an avid supporter of South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge, where he spent countless days as doctor, chief of staff, and eventually co-chairing the fundraising for the Frank Miller wing currently in use.  Having spent much of his youth involved in scouting, he was also a good friend to 1st Gravenhurst scouting group and gave back even more to his community through G.A.P. (Gravenhurst Against Poverty)    Jim was a proud contributor to the Muskoka Community Foundation which supports local citizens and community organizations alike within his much loved Muskoka. These involvements sound like good background support for his well deserved Ontario Senior Achievement Award in 2012.

An avid outdoorsman in love with the lakes, Jim could often be found pursuing the good life offered by Muskoka - boating, sailing, fishing, hiking, skiing or just enjoying a sunset on the lake; that is of course when the phone didn't ring for a doctor on call.

 Along with Marlyn, Jim was a world traveller, both for personal pleasure and Rotary International projects.  Ever optimistic, Jim supported Polio Plus which has now almost eradicated Polio worldwide and was a participant in Cambodia for Rotary Wheels for Learning. This specific project recently celebrated 10,000 bicycles distributed to impoverished Cambodians. He ventured to  Dominican Republic to distribute medical and educational supplies, built homes in Guatemala, and was an ambassador of International Fellowship in India and the Philippines. He used to say that even though he had travelled extensively all over the world, to every continent (including Antartica), he had never found a place he liked better than Muskoka.

Jim always had time for people, taking a personal interest, and was a mentor to many. His self-professed priorities were marriage, sons, medicine, and Rotary.  Given his tremendous generosity, we would add philanthropy.  As a family physician, he was often credited as having good bedside manner, taking the philosophy that "it is more important to know what kind of person has a disease then what kind of disease a person has."

A sample of other recognitions he received include Western University Honour Society, Royal Canadian Navy Observers Wings, Gravenhurst Personality of the Year 1984 for his community service, the Ontario Bicentennial Medal awarded by the province, and the Scouts Canada Centennial Medal. 

We cannot imagine a life better lived than his.

Visitation will be held in Gravenhurst at the Cavill-Turner Funeral Home on Friday, March 15 from 2 to 4pm.  Funeral services will be held at the Trinity United Church on Saturday, March 16 at 1.30pm, followed by a reception at the Muskoka Heritage Centre at 3pm, located on the shore of his beloved Lake Muskoka in Gravenhurst.
 In lieu of flowers. our husband, dad, and grandpa requested that (if desired) memorial donations could be made to any of his many favourite causes, including the Muskoka Community Foundation (Goodwin sub-fund), the South Muskoka 
 Memorial Hospital Foundation, or 1st Gravenhurst Scout Group. 705 646 1220 - South Muskoka Hospital Foundation (SMHF)  705 645 4404 x 3193

1st Gravenhurst scouts-Facebook-  Donations should be made to Scouts Canada,ca or cheques with 1st Gravenhurst Scouting and please write  Dr. J.G.Goodwin in the memo line

Cheques may be mailed to: 

Scouts Canada – First Gravenhurst

425 John Street South

Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1J4

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 15, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Cavill - Turner Funeral Home

215-1 Bay Street, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1H1

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Memorial Service

Saturday, March 16, 2024

1:30 - 2:30 pm

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