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More about James Loney

By Carol Martin
SooToday.com
Friday, December 09, 2005

SooToday.com is starting to receive new recollections of James Loney, after previous reader contributions to this website were profiled last night and this morning on CBC-TV's The National and CBC Radio's World Report.

We've decided to consolidate all of your e-mails here so you can read them all in one place.

We're also encouraging additional submissions for posting here.

Send your e-mails to helwig@sootoday.com

Links to the CBC coverage can be found at the bottom of this article. They won't work after today (Friday).

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I knew James Loney from elementary school. We were good friends.

He was a very kind and gentle person who was tolerant towards others.

In his non-judgmental ways he would talk to you.

As a people we should also try to live this way - in being kind and loving towards each other.

Perhaps many disagreements and many wars would have never been initiated.

Today, I realize what a gem we have in James as a humanitarian and whole heartedly pray he will get through this ordeal and continue his wonderful and essential work.

- Merilice Dorigo (Finateri)

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"I knew James in high school," recalls Ray Boucher. "He was always walking around with the same goofy grin you see in the picture posted on Sootoday.com, and as in the picture he wasn't real big on the clean-shaven look," Boucher said.

"I think he did a lot of work on the yearbook and took pictures at all the different activities we had at school. I worked with him at Columbus Boy's Camp in Orillia for a summer. Even as a kid himself, he was great with kids.

"Last I saw him was a year or two ago at Christmas or Easter. He told me he was working on some kind of farm that was run as a group home type thing, I think for young men. He had just started there after working in Toronto doing the same type of thing for a few years.

"It comes as no surprise to me that James is still doing the same type of good work. He is one of the gentlest, least judgmental people I know, and people can't help but feel comfortable with him. It is my prayer that the people who have taken him captive avail themselves to speak with him.

I have no doubt that if they get to know him they will certainly see in him a person of peace and good will, and release him safely."

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"My family lived next door to James Loney and his family for 15 years," says Greg Bedford, director of business development at Babcock & Wilcox in Cambridge, Ontario.

"I recall James studied theology and was interested in the priesthood. He was the big brother that every kid on the street wanted to have. My family and I said a prayer last night for his safe release," Bedford tells SooToday.com.

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"He was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet," recalls Ron Lusterio, who attended St. Mary's College with Loney in the late 1970s and early 80s.

"He was always friendly, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet," Lusterio says, adding that Loney was very involved with the religious aspect of life at SMC. "I'm not surprised he would end up in in the humanitarian field."

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"I went to St. Mark elementary school and St. Mary's with James," says Jeffrey Lysiak, now assistant professor of urology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I had no idea what James did after high school but as Ron Lusterio already said it is not surprising he ended up in a humanitarian field. I hope this situation ends well and that James is reunited with his family soon," Lysiak tells SooToday.com

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Former City Councillor Brady Irwin also thinks he remembers Loney around SMC. "Haven't seen him since," Irwin tells SooToday.com. "If it's the same guy, my recollection of him was that he was a very easy-going and conscientious guy."

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"I worked for several years with Jim Loney at a camp for underprivileged kids in southern Ontario," says 11:23, a frequent poster in SooToday.com's News Response forum. "Every time you saw him working, you realized he was put here on earth to help people. It doesn't surprise me to know he was in a very dangerous area to bring assistance to those most in need. He was always very tolerant, kind, and peaceful towards everyone around him."

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Dear editor:

I have been trying to write this email for almost a week but every time I do I start to cry thinking of my dear friend James Loney.

I have known James since I was seven years old.

We moved to Sault Ste. Marie when I was seven and his family were the neighbours behind us.

My mother became very fast and good friends with his mother Claudette.

I became friends with both James and Kathleen.

It's difficult to write which one of my memories of James is my fondest (I have so many) but this is the one that makes me smile during a very sad time.

The church that we attended was called St. Jerome's. St. Jerome's had a Youth Group that the Priest held on Sunday nights.

One Sunday my four girlfriends Patricia D'Angelo, Merelice Dorigo (Finateri) Sandra Elgie (Mossa) and Anne Fournier (they also all went to public school with James but I didn't) and I decided to attend.

We all sat at a table and James joined us.

There were many teens in the class that night they were all quiet and attentive but for some reason instead of listening to the priest our table started messing around and laughing and making noise.

The priest warned us a few times that he was going to ask us to leave if we didn't stop.

We quieted down for a little while but then something came over James and he poked my arm with a sharp pencil!

I let out a scream at the top of my lungs and the priest said "That's it! All of you, get out and don't come back!"

We stood up and left the room and I'll never forget James looking at me and saying "My mother is going to be so mad at me for getting kicked out of the Youth Group!"

James was completely in shock - I don't think that he's ever been in trouble before that!

Needless to say, looking back at it now, it was pretty funny but James should have known better than to sit at a table with us!

My heart and soul goes out to James and his family and friends.

I am praying for him constantly and I know in my heart I will see him again.

Soon we will all be sitting around a table, talking to James and I am going to poke him with a pencil!

Marianne Laszlo

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To read more letters about James Loney from SooToday.com readers, please click here.

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Broadcast links

CBC World Report - 8 a.m. Friday
The National, with Peter Mansbridge



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