And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make
  • 67 years old
  • Born on June 22, 1948 .
  • Passed away on July 15, 2015 .

This memorial website was created in memory of our friend, James Wilson.  He will be missed.  We are grateful for our time with him and for the legacy he left.

Celebration of Life:

Date: Sunday, August 2, 4 pm - 8 pm

Place: Mono Lake County Park

More information can be found on the "His Life" tab above.

Posted by Diana Cunningham on 15th July 2018
I don't really know what to say: just that we are thinking about you and Kay and your family on this anniversary.
Posted by Dick & Di McKinney/Sly on 22nd June 2018
James Kepler Wilson - a good friend and an amazing man, with a very interesting name. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley; I remember the observatory on Mount Wilson. In my mind's eye James is somewhere at a higher elevation, with a farther seeing eye, and with Johannes observing and basking in this wonderful universe.
Posted by Tom Andrews on 22nd June 2017
Ah, the many, many cross-country ski trips, hikes, and backpacks. I miss James deeply.
Posted by Julie Zela on 22nd June 2017
Though it's been 20 years since I worked for James, it continuously amazes me the impact having him as a boss and friend had on me. Happy birthday James. May your trails have many spectacular views!
Posted by Andy Selters on 16th July 2016
Hoooowwuuuullll! a big, long, coyote howl under a bright moon
Posted by Steve Jan on 15th July 2016
With all the discussion right now about forest plan revision, I am reminded of James almost daily. I think it was he who first characterized the White Mountain Wilderness boundaries at the Inyo County line as the "line of shame." It would be a fitting tribute to James to try to erase that line of shame in final Inyo NF plan revision.
Posted by Gretchen Schumacher on 15th July 2016
James, I still see you heading out Reata on your morning bike ride as I walk. We smile & wave at each other. Hope you are having a great ride! Miss you.
Posted by Diana Cunningham on 22nd June 2016
Happy Birthday, James. Kay gave me five species of your garlic to plant and I harvested it last weekend. Thank you for everything, always.
Posted by Kathryn Erickson on 22nd June 2016
Happy Birthday, James. We miss you sorely.
Posted by Rosie Howard on 8th September 2015
This is the poem I read at James's Celebration of Life on Sunday, August 2, 2015. In James' Garden I bent down to pluck a weed Gently nudging aside the watermelon vine Thinking of the hand that planted the seed Seeing the smile that presented to friends Succulent melons at Midsummer feasts. Might there be his footprint here To treasure among the vines and interlopers? That footprint I so often saw On days and miles of mountain meanders As I was always behind you. So many of us Behind you on so many things. How many times DID Your foot fall upon a wild footless place? Crashing through chigger infested rain forest In search of Three-wattled Bellbirds. Climbing as Dan said, "Some obscure pinnacle." Thrashing through "high hat willows," Swiss army knife poised. Wading thigh high Secret Creeks Pygmy Kingfishers laughing overhead. Walking impassioned and measured the mire of meetings Finding a path through opposing minds. Passing through many souls leaving only good effects. What wild creature continues to live because of your care? What bird continues to fly having been seen by your eye? Oh, my kingdom for a map of your footprints Lit with your delight as if you soaked up The energy of the planet through your feet Up through your veins to inspire your heart And your marvelous mind! That consciousness That cared and inspired actions that made a difference. You had the uncanny ability To draw others to unwonted connections With broader effect than acting alone. If only we could see the footprints you Left on minds and hearts. My thoughts have wound and weeded me through the Melons and on to the squash and the beans. No wonder the lovely garden has weeds - You were busy tending the planet whole.
Posted by Larry Nahm on 30th August 2015
"His passing has eclipsed the gaiety of nations", Dr. Johnson famously and exaggeratedly wrote of a friend. Perhaps I join you in feeling my gaiety eclipsed. So many memories have now taken on a new value, a poignancy, and a renewed sense of the fragility of easy pleasance. Have you too been given the sense that you were loved, appreciated and cared for? For example: for some years I'd walk into his store with ill-covered feet (sometimes he'd pull a sock out of the front of a boot while I wearing it). He kept me supplied with remedies I sorely needed in so many ways. Before I was flown to Renown Med. Ctr. in Reno in 1983 James and one other caring person lifted my spirits with a visit. Eclipses recede--onward now with gratitude toward James and the wondrous things which enriched him and continue to enrich us
Posted by Julie Zela on 12th August 2015
Employer, boss, business owner extraordinaire – remarkable inspirational human being.
Posted by Todd Vogel on 11th August 2015
Ok, How 'bout when Kay and James, Denise, Chris, Marti D; many others and I were working in Saline Valley, tamarisk, the fall of 2006. The mid term elections had just happened. Conservative US representative from California Richard Pombo had finally been defeated in the election. Over the din of Beverage Canyon's creek I heard James yelling "Pombo!!! Pooommmbbbooo!" As a large tamarisk fell. Baked dutch oven enchiladas for dinner that night. Bean was a pup. Good times.
Posted by Tom Andrews on 8th August 2015
I have known James for 40 years, ever since I first moved to Bishop as a wildlife biologist. We spent many days hiking, crosscountry skiing, and hanging out together. Kay and James invited me into their home many times. Even though I have lived in Colorado and elsewhere for many years, my memories of the Sierra Nevada, James' passionate love for the wilderness and our easy laughter will stay with me for years to come. I miss him dearly, and I know his passing leaves a large hole in the larger Owens Valley community.
Posted by Pat Cone on 7th August 2015
I met James in Bishop when I was flying for work out of the airport in the early 1980s, and really appreciate all he's down for the Valley and the Inyo. Always an excited, and solid, voice of reason. I had the chance to go to his Celebration of Life last night at the Summer Outdoor Retailer here in Utah, and it was a good chance to tell stories, and hear new stories about this good man.
Posted by Rosanne Catron on 5th August 2015
This is the poem I read at my dad's celebration of life: Dad Go. Go on joyfully round the next curve. For we will till the garden, pick melons, Cradle the first ripe tomato, Thrill at every green tendril and shoot. Dad, go on joyfully over the summit. We will walk amongst the piñon and juniper, Amongst the granite boulders and scree, We will seek out expanses of ocean and desert, Under skies both sun baked and stormy. We will look for bears, squirrels, snakes, Lizards skittering in the dust. And of course, we will watch for the dusky winged, Bright eyed flickering of birds. We will do all this and feel awe, as you do. Dad, I’m not saying there isn’t sadness in our hearts. My hands and feet feel so heavy these days, It’s as if they are rooted in the earth. But we will eat good bread and good cheese, Talk with our neighbors, Dance, Drink tea and wine, Turn anger and sadness into energy, Be kind, Read books whenever possible, And of course love family and friends. So dad, go on joyfully through the next grove. That perfect view is waiting. You know the one. With a big slab of granite to warm your back, The Sierras as far as you can see, And just the sound of the wind through the trees. So go on dad. Go on joyfully round that next curve.
Posted by Kris Morris on 2nd August 2015
James was a family member that I got to see only every one to three years. I knew he was a really terrific guy – someone I admired, and would have loved to spend more time with. Through all the tributes to him since his passing, I have learned that he was even more amazing than I knew. I’m sorry I didn’t have the opportunity to know him better. The world has lost a great treasure.
Posted by Darla Heil on 1st August 2015
For James James lived life with gusto; fighting for what he saw was worth fighting for, reasonably and with respect; loving, always loving – Kay, Rosanne, Bayard, and Ansel – his family and his friends, wilderness and all things wild, the land, open spaces, his community, creatures large and small… James was willing to work hard for his vision of progress – a good place to live, providing support when he could and inspiration for those sharing that vision. He’s gone – passed on – merged back into the great mystery. I’ll miss him so – always someone willing to lend a hand or lead the way for a cause worth struggling for, but also with the good sense to take time away from those struggles for himself, his family & friends, for exploration and enjoyment, for the pure love of life. James, knowing you was a blessing and an inspiration. I’ll miss you and wish you well in the boundless mystery awaiting us all. My sincerest condolences to Kay, Rosanne, Bayard, and Ansel for your loss.
Posted by Andrew Schurr on 1st August 2015
James was a great friend, mentor, and example of a life well lived. During my time with Friends of the Inyo and since I moved to the Eastern Sierra in 2008 he was a constant force in my professional and personal life. He was a great man who inspired me, and all of us to live more fully. Below is an excerpt written on my travel blog as a tribute when I found out about his death while cycle touring in Mongolia posted here at the request of mutual friends. His encouragement helped me to take the leap to have a great adventure. His example and life of adventure and conservation is a model. Work hard but play hard too, something James always did. "James Wilson, whom I knew as friend and board member of the organization I used to work for, has left for the next adventure. He was a great man and one of the fittest nearly 70 year old guys I have ever met. His passing and hours of riding has given me reason and a chance to reflect. Life is short and nothing is certain. You can be here one day and gone the next. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in the small stuff, giving into stress too often, and putting off the fun for an over developed sense of obligation. James, although very hard working and an avid conservationist, loved a good hike, a good adventure, and a good time. He, and his memory, will remind those who knew him to get out and get after it, to work hard but also have a good time. Take a minute to soak in the beauty of the world and revel in the moment of whatever you are doing. Just like pushing my bike through deep sand under the desert sun, sometimes life sucks, but when you step back it is all just part of the big picture that is life in general. Enjoy every moment, make it your own, live it to the fullest, and go down fighting and laughing. James, this one is for you man. You were a huge influence on everyone you knew me included and I will try to live more fully thanks to you and your example. Until the next time man, journey well." Farewell James. See you on the otherside my friend. You made life more full and were an example for all of us. We can only hope to live up to it. Thanks for everything.
Posted by Lynne Foster on 1st August 2015
It's so hard to think of what to say when we know we'll never see our friend James again. I knew James since Friends of the Inyo was first formed and will always miss his wise counsel on matters environmental as well as his personal warmth, humor, and "trueness." We can all only hope that each of us will leave behind even a fraction of what James has left behind -- for his family, for all who knew him, and for the environment.
Posted by Keiko Ishikawa on 1st August 2015
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home. (author unknown) I have been thinking of you, James, every day since I got the news of your stroke and subsequently the passing. I have burnt several Japanese incense to pray for your peaceful trip back to where you originally had come from. I have also lit small Japanese candles with summer flowers on them, with a sense of deep sorrow, but also with the gratitude that I was fortunate to know you in my life. I first met you in your store in 1983, and got to know you, Kay and Roseanne better after you moved to the first floor of Smoke’s house on Willow Street. I always loved your quiet yet very profound statements. You have been and will be a special person in my life, who will bring the surrounding sense of peace, comfort and justice. Thank you, James, for sharing your life with us.
Posted by Dave Herbst on 28th July 2015
James was such a humble and wise man. He provided council and perspective and sympathy when needed in matters of work and life and the passions we bring to those. Coming to belong to the FOI Board, after he'd been there so long, I was at times anxious to see change, frustrated when it did not happen, and impatient. He wrote this to me: "While I feel we all would like the most "natural" public land, politics is the art of the possible, and we need to get the most for bighorn, collared lizards, and mayflies. So sometimes we are going to have to take half a loaf, hoping that there will be enough bread to feed the creatures. To mix up my metaphors to the point of confusion perhaps." To at once be funny and deep in his thoughts was a hallmark of James Wilson. He was calm and kind, self-effacing and generous, delighted in the magic of nature and observing the glory and beauty around him. At times I forget, and then it hits me, and I just shake my head again in disbelief. Is he really gone? No, he's just ahead of us, down the trail, around that next bend or beyond. That's how I like to think of the paths he has walked, and how he led the way. The way along which we may continue and carry on with the passions of caring for and reveling in the wild of nature. What a great guy! Blessed to have shared time with him.
Posted by Julie Zela on 28th July 2015
I greatly appreciate Todd Vogel's comparison of birding with James being like going to Disneyland with a small child. When you guys spotted a cool bird and James would start going “oh oh oh oh my god it’s a Caspian Tern!” “oh oh oh! Todd! Todd! Get on this bird I think it’s a Barrow’s Goldeneye!!!” You could plug in just about anything James was excited about and he would respond with that very same enthusiasm, fervor and eagerness! Todd's story absolutely perfectly illustrates exactly how excited James could get. It was always totally contagious and always made me laugh. Much love to Kay, Rosanne, Chris & Todd and everybody touched by this inspirational, very special man. Farewell James, with very fond memories and deep deep respect.
Posted by Todd Vogel on 28th July 2015
I remembered another story: James told me long ago about an incident in his back yard, back when they lived on Willow Street. It seems he was hanging out in the yard, reading a book. His over the fence neighbor, an elderly woman, noticed him and, over the fence, asked him what he was doing. He replied "I'm reading a book." To which she replied "I have a book!" Now pretty much any time I go to start a new book I think to myself "I have a book!" Maybe you had to be there but I think it's funny.
Posted by Diana Cunningham on 26th July 2015
We were stunned at James' passing and the loss of such a wonderful person. We will miss seeing him and Kay in the Brewery, his wise and compassionate voice, his strength of character, his generous spirit. Eastern Sierra landscapes and habitats that he worked so tirelessly to protect are lasting monuments to his life: his gift to all living things and future generations. We will miss you James. Thank you for all you gave. The world is truly a better place for having you here.
Posted by Dick & Di McKinney/Sly on 26th July 2015
To Kay, Roseanne (& Bay and Ansel, whom we look forward to meeting) & all of James' friends on the Mythical East Side & elsewhere, Di and I were as stunned as the rest of you when Sydni Scott called us out of the blue and told me Kay had asked her to let us know that James had passed. We had just driven through back in mid-April, where we fed James and Kay breakfast in our little travel trailer there at Brown's Town. These two were obviously comfortable with each other and still deeply in love. When someone so vital suddenly drops away, it is just hard to believe he is gone. Since that fateful call, so many memories of James have come flooding out of my mind and even now I am learning more interesting things abut him - like his middle name: Kepler. Kay, is this a family name, or was James' father (or mother) an astronomer?. I first met James when I began working winters as the ski mechanic at the Ski Hut in Berzerkeley back in the early '70s. His personal integrity was already legendary there. The walls of his Mail Order department were filled with cards and letters testifying to the friendly, straight forward, efficient and utterly competent way he ran the show there. Later we all saw the same commitment to excellence at Wilson's Eastside Sports. His sense of humor wasn't far behind: I once saw James and Peter Noone chasing each other around the store in a knock-down, drag-out shoot-out with those little plastic pistols that shot tiny Frisbees instead of water. I was still finding those little plastic discs around the shop months, even years later. And I always thought it was James who, when the restroom walls had been repainted (several times), started the next round of graffiti with the words: "Clean Walls?" James and I did not see each other very often, but always followed each other's careers with interest: mine at Sawyer Paddles and Oars (James loved wood working); his at Wilson's. We always made time to see each other at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show in Salt Lake City. James turned me on to a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant there, to which we returned year after year. He loved seeking out well run small businesses with special offerings. He especially appreciated honest, capable, committed people. Every time I saw them together, James would brag openly about his manager Chris, saying his business wouldn't be what it was without her. He was seven years younger than I, but he was still a mentor when it came to fostering and maintaining enduring relationships. That's the kind of guy he was. I have loved the Sierra Nevada since my first back packing trip out of Mineral King in 1945 at age 4 and I took my bride Di on her first back packing trip into the Virginia Lakes, but James was In Love with the Sierra. I doubt if he could have lived anywhere else. Just imagine the number of trails he knew back in the fastness of those mountains. We mainly saw James & Kay when we passed through Bishop on that incredible route 395. Showing up at Wilson's for a visit became even more important than standing outside Schat's with a quarter pound of butter waiting for the bakery to open. Once we had the pleasure of showing James & Kay around our own corner of paradise: Ashland, Oregon (in The Mythical State Of Jefferson) when they were passing through looking at colleges for Roseanne. The four of us loved swapping stories about boots, paddles, teaching, climbing, nursing, gardening, daughters, nieces & nephews, and of course, the back country out yonder. We never joined James & Kay on any of their trips, but we all enjoyed hearing about the others' adventures. We shared a few of them - like time in Death Valley and canoeing Labyrinth & Stillwater Canyons on the Green River, just not at the same time. James' family, his friends, his colleagues, the desert, the birds - and the mountains- we're all going to miss him, but as long as we live we will hold him close in our hearts. We are honored and blessed to be counted among James' many admirers, Dick & Di McKinney/Sly Ashland, Oregon
Posted by Lynn Peterson on 24th July 2015
Last year on an Audubon morning at the COSA, there was a little boy who knew how to use binoculars. He ran around very excitedly pointing out crows and doves, not understanding why no one was very interested in his sitings. After an hour he stated "I'm bored". James asked him "What are you going to do about it?" The boy looked surprised. Then he ran off to play king of the mountain on a little dirt pile. After a while his grandfather (not James) called to him "Let's go". The child yelled out "No. I'm having too much fun". I thought "Wow, what a good father James must have been". Lorraine Masten
Posted by Bob Harrington on 22nd July 2015
James was one of the first people I met when I first moved to Bishop in '78. Rick Wheeler and I rented the downstairs apartment of a duplex and James and Kay lived upstairs. We quickly became close friends, climbing, hiking, skiing, and working together at the shop. I remember so clearly holding Rosanne the day she came home from the hospital. Last weekend, camped in the wilderness, of course I thought a lot about James because he was such a foremost wilderness lover and advocate. At sunset, as the lakes turned dark and the sky bright, there was a lovely view of Red Slate Mountain, a fine route James and I climbed many years ago. Moments later, Hermit Thrushes called their music from the hemlocks below my viewing ledge, and I was reminded that James taught me that most beautiful of birdsongs. James was a great mentor to me in matters of natural history, and in that way, he enriched my life greatly. Stunned, bummed, shocked -- it's inevitable of course, but so unexpected. James had a quiet confident integrity that served him so well in all of his endeavors. He was such a model of how to conduct oneself in a way that held strong to one's beliefs and values, but respected others and their perspectives. I'll miss his humor, wise counsel, broad knowledge of so many things, and love for his family and friends.
Posted by Elin Ljung on 22nd July 2015
Mono Lake and the Mono Basin owe their protection in part to James' efforts and vigilance. We at the Mono Lake Committee will miss seeing James birding in the area, and will miss his steadfast support for Mono Lake. http://www.monolake.org/today/2015/07/18/eastern-sierra-loses-james-wilson/
Posted by Olaya Spearman on 22nd July 2015
Dear James, I have such a vivid memory of walking over the hills of Mallarauco with you and Kay, so vivid your conection with nature and the birds, I´m very sorry you have left us and I won´t see you again, but it just reminds me that the biggest mystery of life is death.
Posted by Joe Szewczak on 22nd July 2015
James shared his joy of all things natural so infectiously. Gentle and radiant. Emptiness with his passing, but enduring inspiration for how we can all live better.
Posted by Andy Selters on 20th July 2015
Few people I've known have tied together so many people, places, and ways of being as James. From business to environment, personal achievements to successful family life, community unity to advocacy politics, science and art, large vision and personal attention, philanthropy…I recall a quote from Jules Eichorn about Norman Clyde being so thoroughly adapted to his chosen environment--the high mountains; James was thoroughly adapted to the natural, economic, political, and social environments of the Eastern Sierra.
Posted by Sue Martin on 20th July 2015
Sue Martin and Family; Your cup was not only half full, it was brimming over. If there is a heaven, I hope you meet John Muir there. You would have so much to talk about! It was a privilege to know and work for you for the past 15 years. Your spirit will live on with Kay, Roseanne, Bayard, & Ansel, and all those whose lives you touched. We'll miss you so much...
Posted by Molly McCammon on 20th July 2015
I knew James and Kay while working in Berkeley at the Ski Hut and kept in touch with them through our mutual friend Roman. I last saw James about 5 years ago while passing through Bishop on the East Side. That twinkle and sense of humor......I know why he will be missed. My heart goes out to Kay and family.
Posted by Joy Fatooh on 20th July 2015
James' passing is like a great, spreading, deep-rooted tree falling: it shakes you whether you are close or not, and leaves a huge gap in our community. That gap will fill because of the many seeds he planted. I knew him as fair and generous business owner; wise and eloquent Audubon president during my tenure as newsletter editor; and essential liaison between the conservation and climbing communities. I remember his soft voice and kind, level gaze creating an island of calm in my day whenever we chanced to meet. The Eastern Sierra without James Wilson will only resemble the place it has been with him because his legacy will live on.
Posted by Roman Motyka on 20th July 2015
I will miss James, he was truly an exceptional person and I loved him dearly. My heart goes out to Kay and Roseanne for their loss. We met many decades ago while working at Ski Hut in Berkeley and forged a deep friendship through hiking and climbing together. His love for nature, the mountains, and of course his birding skills were unsurpassed. I have great memories of his visits to Alaska and my visits to Bishop. We both loved the Sierras and all else that is wild. I am glad that we were able to stay in touch through all the years and that James remained a true friend. His memory will live on in my heart.
Posted by Connie & Claus Engelhardt on 20th July 2015
We moved to Bishop 15 years ago drawn by the nearby Sierra Nevada and desert lands. Naturally, we soon met James and Kay, shopped at the store, birded together, shared meals, and became fast friends. James was valued by his family and friends and made a lasting contribution to the Bishop community and environment. We will all miss him greatly!
Posted by Roanne Mayer on 20th July 2015
I just heard about James passing and was so saddened. I met James while working with Wilson's as a member of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. James was always such a positive person and always brought an air of kindness, joy and patience with him in every interaction I had with him. I will miss him and hope his family will always be able to recall the joy he brought to everyone.
Posted by Losang Rabgey on 19th July 2015
On behalf of everyone at Machik, we wish to express our deep sorrow at the passing of James. He embodied the kind of care and compassion that the world most urgently needs....the genuine capacity to hear and connect to the needs of people half a world away. His long-term support for rural students in a mountain village in Tibet has been truly inspiring. We remain ever grateful to and greatly miss James's gentle spirit and kindness. - Losang & Tashi Rabgey, Co-founders, Machik and Team
Posted by Lori Gable on 19th July 2015
As so many of us can attest, James truly was such a bright light; living a life in line with all he believed. And he so clearly enjoyed it all- such happiness emanated from him whenever I saw him. I will forever carry with me the kindness, wisdom and generosity of spirit he bestowed on me and my family, especially our daughter, as well as his incredible ability to extend his energy to other beings and this land we all love so much. Thank you, James, for all that you have done and the inspiration that will continue to flow in your wake.
Posted by Jeanne Walter on 19th July 2015
James I am so sad. Remembering Berkley, the Ski Hut, climbing weekends in Yosemite. Making the decision to move to the East Side. You and Kay staying with us until you found a rental, Hanby I think? Mostly I will miss your amazing skill at dealing with opposing views and not losing your cool, I want to do that someday. You are loved by so many. The mountains and birds will continue to sustain you.
Posted by Gail Koske-Phillips on 19th July 2015
James always represented the best of Bishop to me. The Baniff Film Festival was such an unexpected treat for my family every year. He added to the community with projects but also with consistently treating individuals with kindness and respect. He left such a deep imprint on Bishop, he will never be completely gone.
Posted by Tom And Jo Heindel on 19th July 2015
The James Wilson and Heindel family tapestry In 1972 we moved to the Owens Valley and very quickly heard of James Wilson, a Renaissance man and lover of all things wild and bringing people together to make it even better. Our paths began crossing at Eastside Sports and in the field. We were always awed with his intellect, compassion, and persuasive ideas. We moved overseas for a decade and returned, back into the fold with James at the helm. We grew closer and relied on each other for ideas and support of various environmental and conservation projects. The 25 years since our return has sped by like a bullet for all of us, and while some judge the accomplishments as highly successful, many of us feel that we've only just begun. James had so much he wanted to do. So many have done so much for so long for the Eastern Sierra that to single out one person, or one couple, for recognition seemed to us to be undeserved. We were coerced by Barb Kelley and Mike Prather to accept such an award for our avian contributions. Then we were told that James would be making the presentation. We are so grateful that it was our decades-long friend whom we adored who would make this embarrassment bearable. We are equally grateful that Skandar Reid videotaped the entire afternoon and has edited out James's powerful and poetic presentation for all to enjoy (See Gallery:video). While James gave us countless gifts, this speech and the long hugs that came afterwards gave us love that you usually only get from some family members! A beautiful giant has fallen but his echoes will reverberate as long as there is an Eastern Sierra.
Posted by Jeff Cook on 19th July 2015
Mountain-lovers who find a way to live in Bishop are very fortunate. Because of James, I was able to move there and stay for many years. While traveling through the Eastside in 1980, I lost my boots at a trailhead. When I was shopping for new ones at the old Eastside Sports store location, I asked James and his partner Rick Wheeler for a job. They hired me, and so began my long acquaintance with James. To support his own love of wild mountains and deserts, he (and wife Kay and present-owner Chris) built the original small store into the institution that it now is, argueably one of the best mountain shops on the planet. He acheived this, and worked hard to preserve wildlife and natural places, while spending more time hiking and climbing and skiing and biking than anyone I know. His imprint on the Eastern Sierra, and the influence of his personal example on those of us who knew him, will last.
Posted by Jan Rhoades on 19th July 2015
I juat can't stop thinking how I will miss James -- I often said hi as he and Tim passed me on a bike ride out to Round Valley -- He and Kay shared guffaws in dancing class with Sophie and me. What a ready smile and a kind word for all -- a true pillar of the community. My deepest sympathies to Kay and the family. Much love to all of you.
Posted by Patricia Ellis on 18th July 2015
I will miss James..his wit, support and encouragement through his community service, his kindness when I would go into "Wilson's" in helping me find just the right item I was looking for. He is and will be missed.
Posted by Ryan Spaulding on 18th July 2015
I only recently came to know James and Kay through birding out and about here on the east side. I am new to birding, and I am unable to describe just how much my life has changed- for the best- since I became completely fascinated by our feathered friends. I am forever thankful for my short time birding with James, which includes a very special memory of us both witnessing a female American redstart adorably digging through leaf litter whilst looking for food. James' excitement in that moment was intoxicating.... I will miss James immensely, and his influence on me will not be forgotten. James helped remind me that my love for the Range of Light will never stop growing. My deepest condolences to Rose, Bay, Ansel and Kay. Thank you so much, James.
Posted by Roy Wetzel on 18th July 2015
The friendship that developed with James soon after arriving at Berkeley in 1969 is a precious standout experience of my life. Having arrived from New Jersey without words such as backpack or taco in my vocabulary, James nonetheless shared his unreserved friendship which opened the door to having a life abundant with hiking, climbing and birding. Moreover, he introduced me to many warm and caring people. James’ varied successes, whether personal, business, philanthropic or other, result in part due to his caring values and innate wisdom about what is important in life, and reflect the best of humankind. James - Thank You for All
Posted by Robin Barrett on 18th July 2015
We enjoyed James dropping into our business and we enjoyed dropping into Eastside Sports as well. For the past 10 years I have dropped his Inyo Register to him and his wife, being the paper delivery person for that area. I will continue to remember him as I drive by and feel the loss. My condolences to Kay. His love for her was very evident.
Posted by Lynn Peterson on 18th July 2015
I wanted to share this with everyone. Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens Oh very young What will you leave us this time? You're only dancing on this earth for a short while And though your dreams may toss and turn you now They will vanish away like your daddy's best jeans Denim blue fading up to the sky And though you want them to last forever You know they never will You know they never will And the patches make the goodbye harder still Oh very young What will you leave us this time? There'll never be a better chance to change your mind And if you want this world to see a better day Will you carry the words of love with you? Will you ride the great white bird into heaven? And though you want to last forever You know you never will You know you never will And the goodbye makes the journey harder still Will you carry the words of love with you? Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye Oh very young What will you leave us this time? You're only dancing on this earth for a short while Oh very young What will you leave us this time? Songwriters YUSUF ISLAM, CAT STEVENS

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