Posted: May 22nd, 2015

1160_NW9HRyzW_Gladstone, Jim - May 2015bw

Jim (James Lionel Frederick) Gladstone:

November 18, 1942 – May 16, 2015

The world has lost a great world champion cowboy, bright legal mind, First Nations warrior, and devoted father, James Lionel Frederick Gladstone (“Many Guns”). After many years of battling a chronic disease, Jim passed away reluctantly, but peacefully at his home in Cardston, Alberta, on May 16th, 2015 surrounded by family members.

Jim had big moccasins to fill, as the eldest son of Fred Gladstone, and first grandson to his namesake, Senator James Gladstone. All three men were committed to rodeo, their Indian heritage and Blood Tribe, learning and education, and most importantly, their families. Senator Gladstone was a formidable farmer and rancher who brought modern farming practices to the Blood reservation. He was a trailblazer for Aboriginal rights, who served as president of the Indian Association of Alberta, and was the first Status Indian to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Jim’s father, Fred Gladstone, continued the legacy with notable accomplishments, including: helping form the INFR and INFR Hall of Fame Inductee (2011); CRPA Gold Card Holder (1992); Canadian Calf Roping Champion in 1948 and 1950; Canadian Wild Cow Milking Champion in 1948 and 1956; received an award “In Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Native Community” (1974) by the Alberta Government; and, was a given “Pioneer of Rodeo” award by the Calgary Stampede (1985).

Jim was born in 1942 to Fred and Edith Gladstone in Cardston, Alberta, and had 3 siblings: June, (Jennifer) Caen, and Jeff (known as the 4 “J’s”). During his formative years, Jim learned from his father and grandfather’s example, and developed his love for athletics, honing in on a passion for rodeo. At a time when rodeo was still somewhat of a past-time, Jim spent countless hours practicing and drove thousands of rodeo miles perfecting his skills. He married in his early 20’s, and often brought his growing family on the road with him during his rise in rodeo rankings.

Jim’s hard work paid off in 1977 when he won the NFR World Calf Roping title. He became the first cowboy from north of the American border to take the world title in any of the timed events and the eighth Canadian to latch on to a global championship. He continued to be the only Canadian to win a world calf roping title. Jim won the average payoff at the NFR as well and pocketed $7100 with is go round and average placing plus another $5000 bonus. The 35-year-old father of five roped ten calves in 119.7 seconds setting a new NFR record and beating the previous mark by almost five and a half seconds and did it all under the handicap of a broken finger.

He wound up in 14th position with $18,300 and left the NFR on the shoulder of his countrymen waving the maple leaf flag. Jim earned his professional card in 1962 starting in calf roping and occasional wild cow milking. He began picking up cheques in steer wrestling by 1963. He has been credited with championships in both events from the all Indian circuit. Jim was among the top three in the nation professional rankings each year from 1962 through 1966, before capturing his first Canadian calf roping title in 1969. He went on to win two more Canadian championships in 1971 & 1973 and was runner up to the title in 1972, 75, 77, 76. Jim qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo seven times from the first one held in 1974 through 1980 and competed at four National Finals Rodeos in 1972, 73, 77 and 78. Jim also served on the CRCA board as calf roping director in 1979.

Jim won numerous All Star and MVP awards throughout his basketball career and competed in prestigious tournaments in Canada and the US. One of his favourite events was attending the annual Christmas All Star Basketball Tournament. Jim also appeared on national television show, Front Page Challenge and also the former CBC late night talk show.

With his desire to support his family and embark on other important life callings, Jim moved his family to Edmonton, Alberta, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in law from the University of Alberta in 1985, and passed his Bar exam in 1986. He subsequently practiced as a defense attorney for First Nations people throughout Southern Alberta until his retirement.

Although retired from law, Jim was elected to the Blood Tribe Council and served a four-year term completed in 2012. During this time, Jim took a strong (and unpopular) stance about hydraulic fracturing on the Blood Reservation and the need for regulations and factual information given to the Blood Tribe. He also worked on efforts to preserve the Blackfoot language on the reservation. True to his sense of statesmanship to the First Nations people, despite his fragile physical condition, he travelled to Edmonton, Alberta on April 2014, where he was inducted as a special witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Jim cofounded the Blackfoot program, aitsi’poyiiksi, with Peter Weasel Moccasin in 2007 when they gathered elders at Jim’s home to solidify the concept and moved forward to formally organize the program in 2010.

Throughout his life and even more so in the last years of his life, Jim focused on spending time with his children and grandchildren, who brought him so much joy. In between all his career accomplishments, Jim was actively involved with his children’s lives and fostered a love for athletics and education. Friday night pizza, chips/cheese/pickles, and Ken’s popcorn were common favorites he liked to enjoy with his kids. He encouraged their independence, especially when it meant they could drive him around and “quickly” run a few errands for him!! Jim has always been a generous man and loved filling shopping carts of gifts for his family on Christmas Eve, taking family out for Chinese food and breakfast at IHOP, and buying the grandkids birthday gifts. He enjoyed his morning cup of coffee while reading the paper and doing the daily crossword puzzle. He was a devoted Direct TV and Dish Network customer and loved watching sports events of all kinds, the cooking channel, and movies, especially with his dog, Betsy, perched on his chest, while covered up in blankets, jackets, and a heater blowing in his face.

Jim was a proud Native man to the end, not wanting to burden others with his care and still insisting on walking for himself right to the end. His death has left a big hole in the hearts and lives of his family and friends, he will be missed greatly. May the Creator safely accompany him on the rest of his journey home, surrounded by loved ones. May he shoot some hoops before climbing onto his horse and riding off as the strong Native leader he is, knowing he successfully fulfilled the legacy of his Gladstone heritage.

Jim’s death was preceded by his parents, Fred and Edith Gladstone, June Wilms (sister), and son, Jace Gladstone. He is survived by his younger sister, J. Caen Bly; brother, Jeff Gladstone; and his 6 children: Stacey Schmidt (Greg Riley); Quincey Atkin (Troy Atkin); Chad Gladstone (Kim Gladstone); Skye Carroll (Martin Carroll); Lincoln Gladstone (first wife, Suzanne Johansen) and Zak Gladstone (second wife, Gloria Boucher); and 12 grandchildren, Trentin & Trey Atkin; Ashton & Tennison Schmidt; Madi, Miles, Chase & Callay Gladstone; and Solia, Atalya, Steele & Azure Carroll; & dear friend Celia Pace.

His family wishes to thank those kind friends, family, and caregivers who were there for him in his declining years and declining health to help him and provide companionship when his children were not able to be near him. It is greatly appreciated and not forgotten.

A Cowboy Farewell will be held in Jim’s honour and celebration of his life at Ranchman’s Cook House, 9615 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary, Alberta on Friday May 22nd, from 11am–4pm. The family invites all those that knew Jim to come and pay tribute in celebration of his life.

The Funeral Service will be held at the CARDSTON AGRIDOME, Cardston, Alberta on Saturday, May 23 at 12:00 noon.

Friends may meet the Family at the LEGACY FUNERAL HOME, 107- 6 Street West, on Saturday, May 23 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Interment in the Family Plot, Blood Reserve.

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7 Condolences for “GLADSTONE Jim”

  1. richard close says:

    Reading his obituary brought tears to me eyes. He was a man among all men. I feel everyone in Alberta should be proud of him. His life was an example to all who live in this great western province. May his spirit inspire many young men to maintain their western heritage. His spirit will live forever in many hearts.

  2. Neldon and Priscilla Hatch says:

    It is hard to say Goodbye to a classmate but we are glad that Jim was with us for our last class reunion.He will be remembered for his many accomplishments and love of life!!
    May you find green pastures and a good horse to enjoy!!

  3. Daniel L`Heureux Meadow Lake Sask. says:

    Sorry to hear about Jim`s passing my condolences to the immediate family, I am a relative who hasn`t met any of you my grand mother was Lucy ( senator Jim Gladstone sister) who married Dan Nault . One of their 4 daughters was Myrtle who is my mother who married Fernand L`Heureux. My Sincere Sympathy.

  4. Max Small says:

    Farewell Jim…The night in Helena Mt…at the rodeo my horse went lame and could not be used and they were about to turn my calf out and you came up and said”here Max get on my horse..I have never forgotten your true friendship and sportsman attitude..From then on we were friends with you even riding my horse at times….
    My condolences to family and friends//Yes we have lost a good friend ,brother and man of his word but he will always be in our memories and hearts..

  5. Vally Goforth says:

    An angel must have whispered in my ear … it was a day before Jim’s second year of crossing over that I was ‘inspired’ to google Jim to see what his latest adventures had been. Was not prepared to be staring at his obituary.

    When I met him he was 65 and he seemed a bit surprised at that, ie, how and when did he get to this age? Of course 65 is still very young, and he was very fit and still regularly ‘rodeoing’. Was so surprised to see that he had declined in such a short time.

    Am grateful that he passed peacefully, but can fully imagine that he passed reluctantly, and from the mortal point of view was just way too soon; can only trust that there are no mistakes from Bigger Picture’s point of view, it’s all exactly as it should be, but still difficult to accept from our limited perspective.

    I would take my Tylor Girl for walks along the Salt River and always picked Betsy up to come with us. All the dogs in the area recognized my car when I pulled up. They knew what that meant: an amazing and long hike along the river. The dogs had a ball, Betsy was always super cute the way she would jump up on some of the bigger dogs just out of shear joy.

    When I dropped Betsy back off, Jim and I would always have a conversation which started out with him asking me: ‘What has our Creator revealed to you today?’ He knew I loved all things God, and of course God is All Things. So we talked about GodStuff after which he always said that based on my beliefs and ‘knowings’ I would have made a good Mormon. Got a good laugh and my reminding him that I don’t play well on ‘teams’.

    I am deeply sadden at his passing and for his experiences of ill health in his last few years, but am confident that he has adjusted amazingly, powerfully and joyfully to his new state of Being and that he is continuing to do great things by inspiring and guiding those of us still on our earthly journeys.

    My deepest sympathy to his close friends and family.

  6. Jim Mason says:

    I knew of Jim Gladstone when I was in the RCMP in southern Alberta in the early eighties. I was transferred in 1984 to St Albert. Formally met Jim while he was at U of A and I was attending there also in the evenings. We became best friends Right up to his passing. I was a team roper and roper.
    We had a tremendous amount of fun and and good times going down the road to rodeos and other adventures.
    As we were both named

  7. David White says:

    I was with Jim on Front Page Challenge (the same segment) I will never forget him.

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