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Colleen and having not long before completed my articles at Armstrong,
Brawner & Speton, joined Jim and Frank and the firm became Maczko,
Poyner & Gibbons. After Frank left to head up the newly formed Legal Aid
Society, in 1970, Jim’s law school classmate Jim Barrett and my brother
David Gibbons joined the firm, which then became Poyner, Gibbons, Barrett
& Gibbons. That partnership disbanded in 1974 when Jim took a break
from the practice of law to focus on his real estate development activities,
which he had begun while in Prince George and had expanded in the years
Between 1969 and 1974, in addition to being fully engaged in his very successful
legal practice, which included an appearance in the Supreme Court
of Canada representing the Fishermen’s Union, there were other important
events taking place in Jim’s busy life, including serving on the District of
North Vancouver Council (in 1971 and 1972), running as a Social Credit candidate
in the 1972 provincial election (the year of the unexpected NDP
sweep), building a cabin on Thormanby Island off the Sunshine Coast,
obtaining his pilot licence and, most importantly, starting a family with Janice.
By 1976 they had four children: Patrick, Errin, Steffanie and Sam.
In 1981 Jim returned to the practice of law, setting up an office in North
Vancouver, where he was joined by Ken Baxter. The firm, Poyner & Baxter,
was recognized as a leader in class action suits. Jim also had a large personal
injury practice and never hesitated to take on any litigation file. Ken retired
in 2014 and Jim, because of medical issues, retired the following year.
Throughout this approximate 25-year period Jim somehow found time to
resurrect his theatrical career, with TV appearances (including on The X
Files), leading roles in several Lawyer Shows (which were live theatre productions
at either the Stanley Theatre or the Waterfront Theatre) and
singing performances with various choirs and groups.
However, notwithstanding Jim’s great passion for law, acting and singing,
his life’s main focus was, without question, his family and, in particular, his
children and, later, his grandchildren, especially after 1980 when his marriage
ended. Jim coached them in soccer, baseball and hockey. He bought
a cabin in Whistler and they skied there regularly. They had wonderful
summers together at Thormanby, swimming, waterskiing and jumping off
the pier. He ensured, through various means, that they each received a good
education, resulting in Patrick, Errin and Sam becoming lawyers (and at
various times practising with Jim), while Steffanie received a master of fine
arts degree from the University of Colorado.
Jim’s life was further enriched when in 2010 he met Melanie Thomas,
who lived not far from him in West Vancouver. Jim often remarked how