I passed the note to my friend Sheldon Leemon, and here's his tribute.
The first computer I owned was an Atari 800 that I bought in 1979, after
years of internal debate over the Ohio Scientific or Cromemco, and later
the PET or TRS-80. So, I first became aware of Jim from magazines that
lumped the 6502 computers together, such as Compute, that stared out
as a 6502 publication, with PET, Apple, and Atari. When I was hired by
Commodore in early 1982 to do a port of its Vic Invaders for the upcoming
release of the Commodore 64 that fall, I had to get up to speed on
Commodore computers quickly, particularly because the development
machine for the 64 was a PET with a Commodore 9060 5MB hard drive
(a huge boat anchor). So, I started reading the T-PUG Journal and
old issues of Compute (which I had been writing for since 1980),
both of which included many of Jim's articles.
I thought of him as the "old man" of Commodore computing even then,
since he was in his late 40's and had that big muttonchops/mustache
combo. I even got to meet him at Commodore events after I had written
"Mapping the 64" in 1984. He was hearty and enthusiastic, a real Canadian.
But he didn't seem too thrilled with the 64 era in which money and mass
sales had become the only point of the company. Jim stood for the era
in which the world of personal computers belonged exclusively to a
fraternity of amateurs (in the sense of the original Latin), eager
to share rather than cash in. Although he clearly enjoyed his local
celebrity, it never crossed his mind to try to make a fortune from it.
His passing confirms that era is gone for good.
--Sheldon Leemon sleemon at gmail.com