Obituary: James M. Franklin (Jim) – November 9, 1942 – June 19, 2024 – Ottawa Citizen

James (Jim) M. Franklin, FRSC, a distinguished geologist known for his groundbreaking contributions to mineral exploration and the understanding of hydrothermal ore deposits, passed away peacefully with family by his side on June 19th, 2024 at the age of 81. Born on November 9th, 1942 in North Bay, Ontario, to Jessie Jane (née Cumming) and Richard Eben Franklin, Jim led a life of scientific curiosity filled with rich experiences, travel, and accomplishments that had a profound impact on the field of geology.

Jim’s passion for geology was ignited through his studies at Carleton University earning a B.Sc. (1964) and M.Sc. (1967). At the University of Western Ontario, his Ph.D. (1970) research on mineral deposits of the Proterozoic rocks of the north shore of Lake Superior laid the groundwork for his subsequent career as Canada’s preeminent expert on the origin of Precambrian ore deposits.

Jim began his celebrated professional career as the first professor of Economic Geology at Lakehead University. Six years later he moved to the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), continuing his work in base metals. In 1981 he pioneered Canada’s marine minerals program where he conducted exploration of hydrothermal vents onboard the deep-sea submersible Alvin. Between 1993 and 1997 Jim was Chief Scientist of the GSC, managing the geoscience program until his “retirement” in 1998. He then established Franklin Geosciences, a consultancy that contributed to the discovery of ore deposits worldwide.

Never one to slow down and truly retire, Jim continued throughout his career to serve as director of exploration and scientific advisor for several companies, supported many professional, academic and industry associations and causes, and was a passionate mentor of young geoscientists. He received numerous awards for his achievements, including the Penrose Gold Medal from the Society of Economic Geologists, the Logan Gold Medal from the Geological Association of Canada, was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Beyond his professional achievements, Jim was known for his intellect, humour, eternal optimism, and above all, his generosity and good nature. He had a 55-year partnership with his beloved wife Claire and played an active role in their family as a dad to Meredith and grandad (papa) to Gabe. Jim and Claire made their home in Ottawa, relocating to Toronto in 2023 to be close to Meredith and Gabe, whom he loved deeply.

He cherished spending time with his numerous cousins from California, New York, and Southern Ontario, as well as his friends and colleagues in Ottawa, Toronto and beyond. He endeared himself to all with his famous stories about encounters with bears on field trips, capsizing canoes, driving around with 2 tons of rocks in the family station wagon, squeezing into ill-fitting Mongolian clothes when his suitcase was lost on one of his many adventures, and contorting his 6’2″ frame into the tiny Alvin submersible hoping to not need the loo during the long hours of deep-sea exploring.

For effect he often regaled these tales attempting a different language or accent to make the story sound right. Jim will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on through the countless lives he touched, the stories he shared, and the enduring impact of his work.

The family would like to thank the staff at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, as well as friends and family for their support over the past few months. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Canadian Cancer Society in Jim’s name. A celebration of life will be held on August 11th, 2024 from 1-4 pm at the Ben Franklin Place Atrium, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.

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