On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Jim was freed from the bondage of Alzheimer’s Disease and is now happily golfing and playing tennis in the next realm. His gentle manner, kindness and integrity continued throughout his illness and he faced the impending changes and losses with bravery and dignity. Jim was an athlete and sports were a major part of his life. He excelled in sports during his high school years at Crescent Heights High School and played volleyball for the University of Calgary, while attaining his education degree. The majority of his teaching years were spent at CHHS, teaching physical education. His expertise and analytical mind made him an excellent coach and he devoted his life to working with kids. Many continued to call him “Coach”, even after his retirement. Jim was not only involved with school sports but was active in the community as well. He golfed, played tennis, dragon boated and was involved with the soccer association. His three children inherited his athletic abilities and excelled in a variety of sports. He was most proud of them. Sincerest thanks to Dr. Hirsch and the Riverview Care Center for the excellent care and love they provided. They gave the family the greatest gift a family could ask for - peace of mind. We always knew in our hearts that Jim was well cared for, safe, honoured and treated with dignity and respect. He will be lovingly remembered by his family: wife, Terri; daughter, Jenny (Dwayne); grandchildren, Riley and Lowyn and son, Jordan. He is also survived by his brother, Randy (Kathy) and their family as well as his sister, Linda. Jim was predeceased by his parents, Jo and Emil and his most beloved son, Brian. A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held at Cook Southland Funeral Chapel, 901 - 13 Street S.W., Medicine Hat on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jim’s name may be made to Kidsport, PO Box 40009, 355 Southridge Drive S.E., Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1B 4S6.
Uncle Jim, you were a larger than life kind of guy. I’m sorry Alzheimer’s stole you from us so early but I’m glad you’re free now. You are loved. Rest In Peace.
Uncle Jim you were a larger than life kind of guy. I’m sorry Alzheimer’s stole you from us so early but I’m glad you’re free now. You are loved. Rest In Peace.
My heart is heavy as another cousin passes .The McElwee's , granny (Mary), uncle Alex, my mom (Jean), and cousin Fred Saunders will join with the passed Dref's clan and meet Jim on the other side. My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jim. God bless. Brian
The McElwee family from Winnipeg, Mb would like to send our condolences and prayers to all of the family. We haven't seen Jim in a very long time, but hold dear our memories and visits. You are now free from any suffering, all the best to the family.
Rest in peace cousin. Love and prayers to all the family.
Our hearts go out to you Terri, Jenny and Jordon. You all spoke of Jim with such love and respect that we felt like we knew the marvellous person he was as a healthy active husband, dad and coach. Cherish that memory by telling Riley and Lowen how proud they would have been of their Poppa Jim.
Love Malcolm and Carol
The world is a bit of a "lesser place" with the passing of Jim. It was my great privilege and good fortune to have worked with Jim for a short time while teaching at Crescent Heights High School. Jim was a true gentleman and a wonderful professional. Medicine Hat and community is going to miss him.
Dear Terry and family,
Sending prayers to all of you in the loss of your husband and dad. As you said he is now free to enjoy what he loved.
Unable to attend tomorrow but thoughts are with you.
Heather (Moore) Wooding
Terri, Jenny and Jordan
I was saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. He dedicated many years to the students and student athletes at CHHS. He always had time to spend with his players. I’m sure you’ll take great comfort knowing he is respected by so many. My condolences.
Our condolences to you Terri, Jenny and Jordan. We haven't seen our cousin in awhile but do have fond memories of him, especially our younger years. We are sorry we will not be able to attend tomorrow, but know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Although unable to attend the funeral, my thoughts and prayers are with you, Terri. Even though the last years were very difficult, you were blessed to have such a wonderful husband. May you find comfort in remembering the happy times you shared.
To the Drefs family. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to you on the passing of your wonderful husband and father. We remember him as a kind and considerate man who loved and was so passionate about sports. He was a fine mentor to many a young athlete, and will always be remembered with a smile. May he rest in peace.
Terri and family, With deepest sympathy to all of you for the loss of a husband, father, grandpa and friend to all. Terri, I always enjoyed visiting with both of you at Bank of Montreal and will always remember how proud he was of his wife and children and how fond the kids were of him at school and a great coach he was off and on the school grounds. May his memories live in your hearts forever. He is now coaching with the angels in heaven.
Thinking of you,Terry & family. My youngest son, Clint, recalls fine memories of Jim as a teaching colleague at CHHS. May peace fill your hearts knowing his journey here is over.
Dear Terri and family; I am so sorry to hear of cousin Jim’s passing. These last years have been a great struggle for all of you and now he is free of his disease. Most of my memories are from when I was a kid and at family events. Cousin Jim was always laughing and so much fun to be around. When family members pass I always think of the wonderful family reunion in heaven that they are all having.
God bless all of you.
Love, Nikki Trevino and family
We send our deepest sympathies to Terri and family for the loss of a wonderful man. Darwin and Cathy Vellacott
Dear Terri, Jenny and Jordan. We are so very so for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with during this very sad time. Sincerely Doug Glenda Ryan and Tara.
My thoughts and prayers go Coach Drefs and his family.
I played basketball for Mr Drefs (I was always too formal to call him Coach) from 7th grade to 12th grade. Those are such formative years for a young man and he taught me many lessons that have taken me so far in life. The value of hard work, the impact a well timed act of kindness can have and the common bond that is built through working together. I have to say that he also had an uncanny ability to do or say something hilarious at a time when you really needed it (like having over 100 points scored on you in the 7th grade)!
Dear Terri and family, my deepest condolences to you in the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. May your happy memories help ease your sorrow.
Deepest sympathy to Terri, Jenny and Jordan!
Our family has lost another great member belonging to the MCElwee tree! Thinking of you all and hoping all those cherished memories will help you all through this very difficult time! Love from us all in Manitoba....The Lillian Saunders family---(Fred) and Leanne, Jim and Sandra, (Joe) and Joyce, (Jerry), Don and Arlene, Mary and(Elgin)!! Hugs from us all.......Leanne
Sincere condolences and prayers to all of the family from Mary Presley (Saunders) & family, Donald & Arlene Saunders
Terri, Jenny, Jordan: Our deepest condolences to you all for Jim's passing. He was always a bright spark on our soccer trips and amazing cheerleader when the girls were growing up. He was a great advocate for the kids in his charge and was always a gentleman in all he did.
Dear Terri and family, Our Most Sincere Condolences to you and your family for your loss. Our hearts and thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Hugs and Our Sympathy.
You will be missed. Rest peacefully knowing you were a huge impact on many students.
Terry and family; please accept my deepest sympathy on the passing of Jim. Jim and I worked together in the SD76 system and I always liked chatting to him. As a physical education grad myself, we could share experiences of how sports were an extension of life where it took desire, commitment and dedication to be successful. Jim went around quietly in his job providing an excellent model for his team members
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you in the weeks ahead,
Dear Terri and family, I offer condolences on behalf of the Thompson family. We are sorry for your loss and will keep you close in thought and prayer.
Terry & family, my condolences to you all in the loss of Jim.
Terri, Jenny and Jordan,
Words seem very inadequate as we feel for your loss at this time. Although you have been feeling the loss for some time now, this day makes it more poignant. Jim will always have a large soft spot in our family's heart. The time spent coaching with him were great times and I learned a lot from him. We are so grateful for his great sacrifice of time coaching Jeff and the others from Grade 7 to 12. He also had great impact on Andy. Andy had tried out for the Grade 9 team but did not make the team when the team list was posted. I was greatly disappointed for Andy. I was busy coaching the high school boys at the time (I can't remember if it was senior or junior varsity). Jim stopped me and told me not to worry as he would talk to the Grade 9 coach. Very shortly thereafter, Andy was asked to join the team and soon became a starter. Jim was never hesitant to help and to offer valuable advice or time. We will be forever grateful for the positive impact he had on our family.
Our Saviour taught that "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". Jim, by the way he lived his life and his dedication to those he coached, in a very real way laid down his life every day for his friends. We are also very mindful and grateful for your sacrifice as you shared Jim with all of us. We were blessed to have him be a part of our lives. Thank you. We pray for your comfort and peace knowing that Jim is now free from the affliction he endured with you. We know he is in a much better place.
The Roger Jensen family
My condolences for your loss. I will always hold a special place in my heart for you and your family. Many of my fondest sporting memories are filled with your family. You & Jim, and your boys always made me feel like a million bucks.
I hope you find peace during this time with your loved ones.
My deepest sympathies to you and your family Terri! May he Rest In Peace.
My deepest sympathies to you and your family Terri! My he Rest In Peace.
We our so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. From our entire family to yours we wish to express our most sincere and heart felt condolences.
Holli Friesz and Family
As a young instructor at Medicine Hat College in the early 1970's, Jim was one of my first students. He was just a wonderful person and his former students and the community of Medicine Hat are privileged to have experienced his humanity and dedication.
I will always fondly remember my cousin Jim as a happy, energetic and caring guy.
My deepest sympathies to you Terri, Jordan and Jenny and all.
May your happy memories comfort you.
Dear Terri, Jordan, (Brian), Jenny & family:
So sorry to hear of Coach Drefs passing. On behalf of his '82 Viking team, I want you to know how much we appreciate what he did for us. He was a really great man, something many of us have grown to understand even more now that we have families and/or are coaches. He had so much confidence in us all. It made such a difference. Sometimes I don't think we knew how good we had it. He was an amazing example of kindness and fair play combined with hard work & intensity. A true sportsman. That's what I learned most from Coach Drefs. To see sports for what it is... something that makes us all better. And I remember he had really quick feet, too! Glad I didn't have to play tennis against him. RIP Coach. Terri, Jordan, Brian & Jenny.. thanks for sharing him and always know how thankful we are. Thoughts & prayers, Terry Zachary '82 Vikings Basketball