Our Condolences, Obituary for James Whiteside

On the 26th of April 2020, James Whiteside died peacefully in his sleep with his son Oscar, and wife Denise by his side.

Behind him he leaves two sons, Oscar and Johnathan. Oscar currently an Assistant Quantity Surveyor for Permasteelisa and Johnathan, managing director of “Whiteside Contracts Ltd” specialising in hard landscaping and general contracting in Northern Ireland.

My father has lived a long and fruitful life starting his career in Belfast. He worked as a labourer during Belfast’s 1960’s development phase whilst studying his HNC in college on day release.

He told me that he didn’t take much notice of the lessons taught in class and instead of turning left into the college, would more often turn right into the local cinema.

However, he spoke of one day that changed him forever. He went into college and saw a complicated diagram of reinforcing steels to be buried in concrete. Most other student eyes glazed over, but he made the connection to what he saw of the foundation workers the day before. The complicated abstract diagram now made sense now that it had purpose.

From that day he didn’t miss a class and implemented these skills over the next 50 years living and working in South Africa, Mauritius, England and Ireland.

Some of his more prestigious projects were working on the Thames Barrier project as well as the Millennium Dome– now the O2, supplying and installing the precast footings used for the massive suspension cables used to hoist and support its vast canopy.

Later in life he founded Oscar James Ltd specialising in high quality external façade design and installation, primarily insulated render and BSC fire rated cladding to residential, commercial and industrial clients.

His word was as good as any signed instruction and he could be relied upon to deliver on his promises.

He was always an eccentric man, nothing was ever simple and straight forward with Jim Whiteside. If you needed him to Ying, you could bet on a Yang, but it was that which made him so unique. The irony of him leaving us at a time when arranging a funeral is neigh on impossible, is not lost.

He was full of surprises as well. My mother told me that for many years, she couldn’t leave the house without a passport because of the constant fear of a random trip abroad.

As a past time, he enjoyed his golf where many deals and friendships were formed over the years and made close friendships in his syndicate as well as at the Bearsted and Thurnham club where he was an active member of the committee for many years.

He was always friendly and non-presumptuous. He would speak to anyone and always make them feel welcome.

Truly a loss, to his family, industry and community.

Our condolences from BITA, we will continue to work with and support Oscar James Ltd into the future.