Jesuit Brother James W. Deshaye died on July 13, 2018 at Scarborough General Hospital in Ontario. He was 76 years old and in religious life for 55 years.
Br. Deshaye was born in Melville, Saskatchewan. As a graduate of Campion High School, Regina, he entered the Society of Jesus at Guelph on April 30, 1963. After pronouncing First Vows on May 1, 1965, he went to Milford, Ohio, for juniorate where he learned many industrial trades. He returned to Guelph in 1967 to do another two years of hands-on work, furthering his knowledge of the many skills that proved invaluable to Jesuit communities in later life.
Br. Deshaye was involved in physical work as a handyman of many trades: construction of buildings, interior and exterior renovation, mechanical engineering, electrical repair, farming, etc. From 1973 to 1983, Br. Deshaye was assigned to the Northern Ontario Missions, beginning at Longlac; and two years later to Thunder Bay. Armstrong was his next mission from 1980 to 1983. In 1984, he returned to Guelph to become a member of the farm community until 1990. His expertise proved invaluable for an apostolate without extensive financial backing. Again Br. Deshaye returned to the North, both at Gull Bay and Armstrong where he did construction on a church and rectory and was involved in general maintenance. Once that was completed, he settled in 1996 at Cape Croker with Fr. Frank McGee. When that mission closed in 2005, Br. Deshaye journeyed to the La Storta Community in Pickering, Ontario.
Always close to his fellow brothers, Br. Deshaye enjoyed his time immensely in Pickering. But his assignment in Pickering was short, for a year later he was appointed minister at Cardoner House in Toronto. Br. Deshaye got on well with the scholastics who valued him as a mentor and looked to him for practical guidance. For the next six years, he kept that aging house functional with many repairs and renovations.
In 2012, Br. Deshaye was granted his wish to return to Northern Ontario to the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre. His life was full at Espanola doing many things to keep the Centre operational. Sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized for serious surgery. It was deemed advisable to move Br. Deshaye to the Infirmary at Pickering in May 2016 for recuperation and further chemotherapy. This did not stop him from making several trips to Anishinabe to visit and to continue a few work projects.