Remembering Jimmy Toodlican

An account of the service held in honour of Cele (Jimmy Toodlican) on Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Nellie Anderson.

What a fantastic send off at the Shackan Community Hall and at Jimmy's house. The beat of the drums and the sound of all the voices was certainly a Glorious way to leave and enter into the Spirit world.

We have been advised the drum count was well over 100, closer to 150. Both Bishop Barbara and Bishop Gordon joined in sounding their drums. Thank you. The count says over 500 people attended for Jimmy's send off!

Words spoken penetrated straight to the "T", the name given him by the children of School District #58. He eventually was called "Mr. T" at all the schools.

As most of you know, late Jimmy had written (separately from his Last Will), from his heart, all his wishes and/or requests. Naming his MC, Leonard Joe, and details of which Funeral Home and which type of casket he desired according to the pricing. How much was to be spent on a casket and stated how he was to be transferred to his home.

Late Jimmy specifically asked not to take apart his porch for entry and exit. Not to have his head banged in any way. He requested his attire to be of a ribbon shirt and that he would appreciate others to wear the same. Thus, did you see all the colours of ribbon shirts and skirts? Special Thanks to Bishop Barbara for wearing her attire with colourful ribbons.

Late Jimmy's Pastoral Cross was located in his bedroom next to his bedtime table and his Pastoral Pendelton Blanket was also located there. These were sent to the funeral chapel and they had both been placed with him on his departure.

John F. Isaac (Jimmy much more referred to him as Johnny Cheese), did an awesome presentation on the Reveille. This presentation was made as Jimmy attended for the Opening Prayer every Remembrance Day Ceremony held at Shulus reserve in Memory of all Native Veterans, except for 2 that they know of. One time when he was sick, and another time when he was away out of town. Excellent.

Very Special Thanks for our Bishops Barbara and Gordon for attending.

And Rev. Angus for opening and Pastoral Elder Amy Charlie for the language prayers. Must have made Jimmy's Spirit feel so good. Many others, thank you.

Dennis Saddleman wrote and read a poem very fitting to the "T". He will share more of it in the near future. The words and drum songs by Ernie Michell were fulfilling and spoke volumes of our late Cele / Jimmy. And so much more . . . Thank you John Haugen, Hrolf Joe and Kevin Duncan for helping carry him to his service. It was a longer haul than usual. And the Honorary Pallbearers as well for representing us.

He asked to have two horses. One for horse and rider and one with empty saddle. The appointed persons were not able to fulfill this request. Hence, the story Bishop Gordon shared with me at the grave site: that two black mustangs joined the front of the procession and led the entire time to the grave site.  Bishop Gordon was very happy for Jimmy. As the horses went along, how free they looked in their walk and dance. Many people in the procession shared this beautiful site with one another. (Just to mention that one person counted approximately 150-175 vehicles in the procession.) In the end, he still got his wish to be led by two horses.

The amount of food that fed all the people was amazing; and there was some left to take home to family members unable to attend.

I hope many will remember even a few of the many stories he shared after service luncheons and/or study time. I will talk to Danny Whitehead about the story he shared with us after studying about Babylon. He had a Legend parallel to that story regarding the Native Languages that sound like Babylon when all the Natives spoke altogether in their tongue.

Legend of late Cele, Late Jimmy Toodlican remains........within your heart.

Knowing that many will continue to share his stories and experiences that will make us laugh and be happy. :)

Just felt like sharing about Cele/Jimmy. Perhaps it helps me work thru the acceptance and healing journey after such a loss.

Thank you. Nellie.


Go here for the beautiful poem by Dennis Saddleman honouring Jimmy


From Bishop Gordon Light

What a wonderful account of the celebration of Jimmy's life. It was an amazing day. . . Seeing all the children with drums as we left Jim's house brought tears to my eyes. And I was grateful to sound my drum in company with others. The songs you and Marlena sang were beautiful. I hope you both keep doing that! I was moved by all the Chiefs' tributes - and so moved when Dennis read his poem. I know Jim was moved by it all. Such a day - I was honoured to be a part of it. Blessings to you. +Gordon

From Bishop Barbara Andrews

Thank you for this beautiful write up of Jimmy’s funeral. It was a honour to be invited to be part of it and I so loved wearing my ribbon robe and playing my drum for Jimmy’s service. I was so proud to be your bishop as I saw the great involvement of Jimmy’s friends from the church. Angus gave outstanding leadership and it is always wonderful to have Amy lead our prayers. Dennis’ poem was so powerful and should be published for all to read. Marlena and Nellie’s prayers and hymns sung in our language was so meaningful. It is always good to have John I with us and honouring a warrior with a final salute. Seeing what wonderful leadership the folks from All Saints and Lytton gave in Jimmy's send off would have pleased Jimmy greatly. I am sure he was smiling down on us with a big smile on his face.  Thank you all for the wonderful way you honour our pastoral elder and for your continued support of his family. Blessings, +Barbara

Images by Philomana Hughes and others

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