In memory of

James “Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz

June 8, 1953 – September 3, 2010

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz set off on his last forever wild hike on Friday, September 3, 2010. Our master troubadour and dear friend fought a heroic battle with cancer in Helena, MT. He was 57 years old.

Walkin’ Jim is widely known throughout the U.S. for his unique combination of long-distance hiking, original songwriting, and photography. Jim was an adventurer, artist, poet, photographer, author, and environmental activist.

In his lifetime, he accomplished numerous long-distance treks including the complete lengths of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, an east to west cross-continent hike, the entire U.S. Continental Divide, trips from Yellowstone to the Yukon, and many others. In total, he hiked over 28,000 miles of long-distance trips.

When not on a long trip, Walkin’ Jim could be found on any of the many trails in southwest Montana for a day hike with family and friends. He was also an avid cross-country skier. Jim also enjoyed wilderness travels by canoe.

Between trips, Jim would create, produce and perform original shows of his travels with photography and music, always incorporating his keen sense of environmental awareness and justice for all things wild. His musical, hiking, and environmental career spanned 45 years.

Jim was born in Royal Oak, MI, June 8, 1953, to Wilbur and Audra Stoltz. He graduated high school from Royal Oak – Kimball High School.

Walkin’ Jim began playing the guitar when he was in the 4th grade. He performed in several bands during the 1970s. He attained his love for the outdoors and hiking beginning with the Boy Scouts. His first long-distance hike was on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1973. The following year, Jim began his Ocean to Ocean walk beginning in West Quodyhead, ME, and ending on the Olympic Pennisula, WA. The entire trip followed dirt roads, railroad tracks, and trails.

Jim’s first recording was “Spirit is Still on the Run,” in 1986. He also recorded, “Forever Wild,” “Listen to the Earth,” “The Long Trails,” and many others. Walkin’ Jim produced over eight musical albums and one music video for children, “Come Walk With Me.”

Jim was an accomplished poet. His poetry was published as, “Whisper Behind the Wind.” Walkin’ Jim wrote a book, “Walking with the Wild Wind: Reflections on a Montana Journey,” highlighting his inspirational travels and wilderness philosophy.

A few year’s ago, Jim discovered his talent for painting. He developed an extensive array of work in oils specializing in interpretive environmental themes. He liked to work in the medium of oil-based cattle markers on canvas. Many of his paintings reflected themes from his songs and poetry.

Walkin’ Jim founded Music United to Sustain the Environment (MUSE) with Craig Wagner, and Joyce Rouse. MUSE is a group of professional touring musicians who are concerned about the health of our planet. Many of them draw their inspiration from the land, and feel the need to give something back toward protecting it. Walkin’ Jim stood at the forefront of many environmental causes throughout the U.S.

Jim helped with the planning and design of several trails throughout the American Southwest. A short segment of U.S. Forest Service trail in northern Arizona was recently created and named the Walkin’ Jim Trail.

To spread his love of people and song, Jim was employed for nearly 30 winter seasons at Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, MT, driving horse-drawn sleighs to festive dinners where he performed his extensive repertoire of music.
Jim’s life is richly entwined by a web of countless dear friends, including thousands of children throughout the country who have learned and loved his stories and songs.
Walkin’ Jim is survived by his true friend Leslie Stoltz, Big Sky, MT, brother Mark Stoltz, Honor, MI, and sister’s Susan Grace Stoltz, of Fairbanks, AK, and Lisa Mohr, Wixom, MI, and many nieces and nephews.

Jim’s life work and dreams centered on his desire to share the beauty, the unique character, the mood, and the value of wilderness through his music, writings, art, and activism. He leaves a special and enduring legacy to his family, friends, and enumerable list of fans. A legacy directing all of us to live lives of happiness while sharing in and protecting all things wild.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, September 8, 4:00 p.m., at Last Chance Ranch, 2884 Grizzly Gulch, Helena, MT.
A few things to know first:
1) Allow ½ hour from town to Last Chance Ranch parking area
2) Be prepared for a wagon ride shuttle or ½ mile walk from parking area to service location (and dress for weather!)
3) Carpooling is encouraged
4) Join family and friends afterwards at Bert and Ernie’s downtown for more time together, more stories, and appetizers with no-host bar
DIRECTIONS
Highway 287 into Helena. At T-junction (Montana Ave., Safeway), turn left. Go uphill toward Capitol to Broadway (2nd stop sign). Turn right on Broadway and take to Park Ave. (T-junction). Turn left.
Take Park Ave (also called W. Main) to split in road. Veer left on Orofino Gulch. Road winds up past Unionville. When road turns to dirt, go 1.1 miles to 3-way junction, then continue on center road approx. 2.4 mi to N. Fork Travis Creek Rd. Turn right.
Go 1 mile, then bear left, then take another immediate left at “LCR” sign (Last Chance Ranch). Go .1 mile, then turn right through gate with “LCR” sign, and you will see “Last Chance Ranch” headgate ahead.
Park in valley by old ranch equipment. You can take the wagon shuttle from here or walk the ½ mile to the service site.

Directions for contributions:
In Honor of Walkin Jim Stoltz
MUSE
(Music United to Sustain the Environment)
P.O. Box 1512
Helena, MT 59624

Updated information will be available soon at www.walkinjim.com. Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home. To offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Jim, please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com.

Memories

Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Kathy Johnson says

    I’ve known Jim for a couple of dozen years. He stayed with my family a couple of times during his tours; I felt especially privelged to get to know him better this past spring when he had a couple of days free and and we were able to spend more time together–and I finally got to take some walks with Jim in the places I know and love.

    The Earth has lost one of its greatest friends, as have all of us who knew Jim. I send my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

    This sudden loss is a reminder to me to follow Jim’s advice, from “Morning in the Mountains,” to “Live each day like you mean it; grab hold of each day that comes your way. And if it’s blessings you’re a-countin’, try a mornin’ in the mountains; there ain’t no better way to start the day.”

  2. Kathy Johnson says

    Another note: My daughter Heather was born to Jim’s song “Windsinger” (we’d brought tapes to the hospital). Just another way that he’s been an integral part of my family. We will remember Jim with every step that we walk in the wilderness.

  3. Rick & Annette McCollum says

    Our love and prayers go out to the family and friends of Walkin’ Jim Stoltz. We miss him and his wonderful music and stories. We’re glad we had the opportunity to build a Snail travel guitar for Jim.
    Kindest Regards,
    Rick & Annette McCollum

  4. I’ll never forget Jim’s shows in Seattle I saw. One of the greatest voices and spirits ever.
    Can’t express how grateful I am to have met
    and sang with a grand human being.

    My heart goes out to you.

    Forever wild,
    Lu

  5. Karen Frauson says

    Thinking of Walking Jim brings back such great memoies. I still laugh out loud at memories of Jim, Les, Shannon and I in California, hikes in Glacier, great memories of working with him at Lone Mountain Ranch, hikes in Zion and most recently at his concert in Idaho Falls. My thoughts are with Les, Susan Grace, Lisa and Mark. He will be missed greatly and everytime I dance, I will dance for you Jim. Love, Karen

  6. Kathy Murphy says

    Les, Susan, Mark, and Lisa, wish we could be there with you for the memorial service. Walkin Jim made and will continue to make a big impact on all of our lives. We love you guys – Rest in peace Walkin Jim – Love from, Kathy, Kevin, Robert and Brian

  7. Gary Lawless, Beth Leonard says

    All of the critters have lost one of their best human friends, and we have too. We will miss Jim’s visits to Maine, and we will miss knowing that he was out there somewhere walking, singing, being. Now he is hiking the Milky Way, and we will look up to the stars, and keep our hearts Forever Wild. We send love to Leslie, to Jim’s family, and thanks to Jim, thanks for being here. We love you.

  8. I’m deeply saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. I was privileged to attend his performance at his 1998 ALDHA Gathering, and he made a lasting impression on me then and through his newsletters. I admire and will continue to be inspired by Jim’s amazing spirit, dedication, and artistry. My sincerest condolences to all his loved ones.

  9. John (Canada Goose) Wilson says

    Condolences to family and friends.

    Jim was admired and respected by many, and was a friend to all. His talent was obvious; his ethics unquestioned. He touched many hearts, and will be sorely missed.

    I had the honour to share a breakfast table with him, and other hikers, a few years ago at “Lou’s” restaurant in Hanover, New Hampshire (while at an ALDHA Gathering). It is a fond memory.

  10. Montana Council, Boy Scouts of America says

    Jim was a tremendous human being who taught so many people about the joys of the out of doors. Our sincere sympathy to his family and friends.

  11. Madeleine Landis says

    I only met Jim at the Wilderness Conference this April in Berkeley but had heard about him for years because of his great activism. He was so friendly & passionate & inspiring. I now cherish the CD’s & signed book I bought from him. He was kind enough to send me an email very recently, too, tho I had no idea he was so close to the end.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences. We will continue his work saving our precious wild places. As a fellow long distance hiker, the wilderness will feel emptier now but I plan to memorize some of his lyrics to recite to people! (I can’t sing 🙂 Thank you. Happy trails will live on! Madeleine Landis

  12. Jamie Lennox and Dawn Serra says
  13. Paul Richards says

    I’ll post a tribute to Walkin’ Jim later this afternoon (Sunday, September 5, 2010) at:

    Dispatches from the Wildlands:
    http://blogs.alternet.org/paulrichards/

  14. Les, Susan, Lisa, Mark, and all of your families,

    I’m so sorry Jim had to pass through this life so quickly. He was an awesome person, with great talent, an incredible vision, and a heart willing and able to share it all. He has left behind pieces of all of that to be shared with countless numbers of us far into the future. God bless you all! love, Pat

  15. Walkin’ Jim will be remembered for his baritone voice; singing songs about his love for wild places. An inspiration to all who met him or heard him perform; a loving heart for all beings; I heard him sing for the last time at the California Wilderness Convention in April. I will cherish that memory.

    With Deepest Sympathy;

    Mary

  16. Ruth and Lester Payne says

    With heartfelt sympathy for your loss, Leslie. Just read our Sunday paper out of Spokane and in the Outdoor section next to the article on the new visitor’s center at Yellowstone was and article on Walkin’ Jim Stoltz. Our thoughts and prayers are with you

  17. Wild places and wild creatures have lost a dear and effective friend. All of us at the Wildlands Project are in his debt. Jim will live on not just in the memory of other people, but in the life of the Earth–in all the places he moved people to respect, love and protect.

  18. Kevin Hancock says

    My condolences to Jim’s family.
    We have all lost an incredibly kind person whose love of this earth and wonderful music will live on. Jim was a person that has truly made a difference in this world.
    I will think of him often when I return to the wild places.
    RIP my friend…”Let it stay, FOREVER WILD”

  19. John Giacalone says

    Wild lands, wild places, wild lives are essential to our well being. It is in these places that we find healing and goodness. Jim your message and life resounds throughout this great land, your songs and lyrics fill the air, and your spirit is sustained within all those you have touched. It’s the good hearts that spring from the salt of the earth, they delighten and brighten my day; we owe it all to the spirit of love and the friends along .. the way. I’m gonah climb a mountain –to see what I can see, feel, and sense.

  20. Leslie, Lisa, Susan Grace and Mark, my prayers are with you. From the time at Dartmouth that Raven told him, “Walkin’ Jim, this lady thinks you are me, why don’t you take her to Lou’s for apple pie?”, Jim has been my true friend. Orrin and I were so privileged to visit Jim and Leslie and to appreciate and enjoy Jim’s efforts to share his love and concern for the earth and all God’s creatures. Walkin’ Jim, you’ll always be with us in your music and poetry.

  21. John Nangle & Daniele McKay says

    Walkin’ Jim was an inspiration, and as Daniele and I reflect on our friendship with Jim we see how he was woven into our lives. I was fortunate enough to share 450 miles with Jim on a section of his Yellowstone to the Yukon adventure. And true to Jim’s spirit this was an adventure. Later as a result of traveling to see Jim perform, he introduced me to Daniele, now my wife. In 2005 Jim married Daniele and I, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 5th anniversary. Surely Jim will be in our thoughts, and we’ll share a smile and a laugh.

  22. Sandra Stoltz Bautista says

    I just can’t stop thinking about Jim & the things I still want to ask him and tell him so I’m writing this to him ihoping that the act of writing it will send my thoughts right up to Heaven where I know he is comfortably entertaining the Angels with his wonderful songs.
    Dear JIm: I have been thinking about you sooooo much in recent days and how unfair it seems that you would have to battle yet another health crisis.
    I have always been in love with LIFE but knowing you and your sisters has given me an enhanced appreciation of all this life on earth has to offer. I wanted to thank you for taking time to stop on your journey so Frank and I could get to know you a little. I’ve so enjoyed our email exchanges. I’m so fortunate to be one of those in our genetic line who escaped the family disease and have always been amazed at those, like you, who have struggled with it, for your tremendous spirit and love of life…in spite of the obstacles. Thank you for sharing that spirit with the rest of us. I will miss you more than you could ever know but I know I can always turn on my iPod and there you will be. I love you & your music & your spirit and they will live on forever. May you rest in peace, Love, Sandy

  23. Dusty Atherton says

    My condolences to all the friends and family of walkin Jim. I had seen Jim preform twice in Big Sky and once on my college campus, a long time ago… I learned to play “Friends Along the Way” and sung it at my wedding, my 1 and only live preformance singing/guitar. That song, and the man behind it, will always have a very very special palce in my heart, my family, and of course all my friends. I will never forget Jim, and his songs and spirit will never die, they are now and forever living inside of all of us. Thank you for everthying you shared with us Jim, you will be missed. The earth and all the people on it are better off simply because you once walked here.

  24. Ronald Camire says

    God Bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Shaaron Netherton says

    While Jim lived in Montana, we think a piece of his spirit has always dwelled in the wilds of Nevada. We were so lucky to have had Jim hiking through eastern Nevada last year and giving an incredible performance in Reno this spring. So little did we know it would be his last for us. Jim had a magical way that touched people deep in their hearts. Those of us in Nevada will never forget him.
    From all of his friends at Friends of Nevada Wilderness

  26. Kirstin Replogle says

    WJ, I’ll never forget the evening you stayed with me, swapping stories after your performance in Urbana, IL, several years ago. You treated me like a lifetime friend, and that’s what you’ll always be to me.

    To Jim’s family and friends — may you find comfort in the wind and the water that will carry his voice forever, and in sharing memories of a life lived to the fullest. His message lives on, until we meet him again at the trailhead. I wish you peace.

  27. Thank you, Jim, for sharing your many gifts and leaving our land a better place. Your legacy will live on through the messages in your poems, books, and songs. I’ve introduced many, many children to your songs, Jim, and that “Big Fat Fish” will live on forever through the smiles of children everywhere! The words, “Keep It Wild” have special meaning because of you. Thank you for all you have done for humankind and Mother Earth.

  28. I was one of the many lucky hikers that walked a mile or two on the PCT with Walkin’ Jim in 1996. We shared many laughs, smiles, stories and songs. WJ’s love, knowledge and respect of all things wild made each of us more aware of how insignificantly significant all of us are and how important it is to take a moment to appreciate the finer details.

    All my thoughts and wishes for peace and comfort go out to his family and loved ones. Rest in Peace my friend and comrade.

  29. Steve Ambler says

    My heart goes out to Jims family, I met Walkin Jim at an Appalachian Trail gathering in the early 80’s. I’ll never stop listening to his music,and will look for him in the clouds, I learned of his passing yesterday evening– it had been a very windy day here in PA………

  30. Jim, I am so sorry to hear of your passing. I will always treasure your friendship and the memories of picking and singing in the living room and all the walks we took in the Finger Lakes hills over the years. And I’ll never stop singing your songs. Thanks Jim for helping to keep the wild in my soul.

  31. Jim has passed over “Across the Great Divide”. I am proud and honored to call Jim a friend. He was an amazing performer, teacher, mentor, and, one hell of a hiker.

    Whether “Out on the Crest Trail” or “Across the Great Divide” Jim had the gift to turn the spirituality of wilderness into song. His style was never preachy, but with a voice deep as the valley’s he sang of, his soulful ballads took us to mountain heights.

    His message was simple, the wilderness is within us all, we must learn to respect and protect our last wilderness places for the next generation. Thanks Jim, Your Spirit is still on the Run!

    -Tim

  32. I had the honor of caring for Jim during his hospitalization for his transplant. In the few days he was in my care, I gained an understanding of his large spirit and his expansive love for our planet. He will hide in the wind and walk the trails always.

  33. I am so sorry to hear … I’ve been a correspondent of Jim’s for years (he posted one of my poems on his Web site) and once performed with him here in Wisconsin. I am thinking right now of Badger Clark’s wonderful poem “I Must Come Back!”, about coming back from the beyond and walking old beloved trails. It is available on the Internet if anyone wants to read it. I’m grateful to Jim for all he shared with so many people. My deep sympathy to his family and close friends.

  34. I am so sad to hear that Jim has left us, but know many will continue to walk in his footsteps and fight the ‘best fight’ to carry on his (and our) hope for the future of Mother Earth. I have Jim’s music in hand and his deep voice and beautiful lyrics will continue to reverberate all he stood for, not only within my heart but hopefully within those of generations to come as well. Rest easy friend. Forever Wild. Forever with us!

  35. Russell and Joyce Smith says

    Our prayers are with you at this time.

  36. Jim’s shining life, enthusiasm, heart-on-sleeve dedication and passion for wilderness, wild things, gratitude and joy in life showed so many of us what it is to live a cledar, passionate, open-hearted life, unabashedly inspired by love. He walked his talk like few others, and that’s not just the 28,000 geographical miles. I was blessed to be his friend. Leslie, Susan, Mark,Lisa, he loved you and spoke of you often. He cherished the UU community, and all his trail, musical, activist, four-legged, finned, winged, bark-and-leaf and flowering friends. May his life keep singing our hearts to open, love this beatutiful planet, and make a difference in our lives. Walk with the wild wind, dear friend.

  37. Claire Peters says

    I was introduced to Walkin’ Jim’s music by a friend in 1988, when I was working in Yellowstone Park. I loved it then, and still listen to him now when I’m living the city life far from Yellowstone and the mountains of Montana and Wyoming.

    Very sad to hear of his paasing. May he rest in peace, and may his legacy live on.

  38. David Stokes says

    Walkin Jim will forever be remembered here in my heart, and SE Wisconsin. His vision and love will live on. My sympathies to his family.

  39. Robert Cooke says

    To Jim’s family, I would like to express my deepest symphony. I am saddened by the new of Jim’s passing. I first met Jim on the AT in 1973 and we hiked together for some distance, off and on, along the entire trip that summer. We did hike together to the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine, even though the mountain was officially closed due to the weather (October 1973). Jim was someone that was easy to become friends with, a joy to hike with and had a positive outlook on life. I remember hiking across Pinkham Notch in the Whites to the shelter, arriving in the early evening. The hut caretaker had just served dinner to the other hikers and we were very hungry. He welcomed Jim and me with a turkey dinner and all the food we could eat (a joy for a through hiker). I remember meeting Jim’s sister in Vermont; she had joined Jim and hiked a piece of the AT along the Vermont Long Trail. After the At the next time I saw Jim was when he was doing his cross country hike coast-to-coast. I met up with Jim at a shelter outside of Gorham, NH. I had brought a large pot of my home made beef stew to share with Jim that evening. We spent the night at the shelter and I saw him off the next morning to continue his trip.

  40. Robert Cooke says

    I have just a few more words that I would like to express about Jim. After seeing him during his cross country hike; I did not see Jim until, I think it was, 2005 when he did a presentation; songs and pictures in Stratham, NH. It had been about 30 years since I had seen him last. During the intermission, Jim gave me a hug and we briefly caught up on what he had been doing since I had saw him last. I was impressed with the direction that Jim had taken with his life. I consider Jim a dear friend that I will miss deeply. I hope that this note begins to expresses what a great man he is and how proud I am to have known him.

  41. Wendy Grethen says

    He was an amazing person and performer with a valuable message. His sharing of his passion touched many people of all ages. I am grateful to have met him and to have brought him to Duluth a couple times so people could meet him and listen/watch/learn/be inspired from his program. I very much admire and appreciate all that he has shared. His music and message will live on.

  42. Lolly and Bob Bower says

    We hosted Jim on his fall 2009 trip to Wisconsin and were so very glad to have shared a day or two with this wonderful human being. We all felt we had made a “friends along the way” connection. Our hearts go out to all his many friends and to his family. Lolly and Bob

  43. Bill and Louise South says

    Even though we are in Hawaii, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Walkin’ Jim’s message and music echo across the waves. Years ago, I introduced my wife to Walkin’ Jim’s music. She is a music teacher. She in turn introduced Jim’s music to her youth chorus. Though most of the
    chorus’s musical repertoire has changed over the last 5 years, there is one constant. The kids refuse to give up Walkin’ Jim’s song, “Big Fat Fish.” It will remain a favorite forever.

  44. Dottye & Jim Wilhite says

    A gentle man, with a love for the earth, its wild places and the wild things, sharing his experiences through his music and pictures. His dedication to preserving our wild places will never be equaled. We had the privilege of seeing him several times, here in our home town and in Montana. He will be missed, but he will always be with us in his books and music.

  45. Randal O'Toole & Vickie Crowley says

    It is hard to imagine the world without Walkin’ Jim.

  46. Carol Schusler says

    I’m so sorry to hear from the newsletter of his passing. After seeing his show when he came to Ithaca NY many years ago I became very inspired by him! I will miss his walking and environmental updates. 🙁

  47. Cliff Hardin says

    Jim, thanks for being “a friend along the way” I’ll miss you, buddy.

  48. I thoroughly enjoyed Walkin’ Jim’s music and video shows at the ALDHA Gathering many years. He will be sorely missed in the hiking community.

  49. Joe & Diane Lemm says

    We came to know Jim by way of Leslie. Now we know him by way of his spirit, much like ours, but now he soars rather than walks. Bon Voyage soarin’ Jim!

  50. Dean W. Martin says

    The earth and those that knew him have lost a true friend and champion. Fortunately for us we have our memories, recordings and dvd’s to remind us of how special Jim was. I am now reminded of how I missed the opportunity to tell him how much he meant to me and our whole family. I vow now to never let this happen again, another life lesson from Jim.
    I will toast to a life lived well tonight and remember always “if a blessings you are counting, try a morning in the mountains, there ain’t a better a way to start the day”. Thank you Jim for the last 25 years of knowing you. Dean, Kim, Kiera and Arielle Martin

  51. Eric Fendler says

    A true friend to mankind. I will sorely miss you.

  52. Well miss you Jim…you offered so much good and wisdom. May your path always be sunny, your trails long and beautful and know that youre truly missed amongst your friends.

  53. From “Forever Wild” (1987) on, I worked with Jim on all his albums. We became good friends. I watched him grow as a musician, but as a person, well, he was always pretty “big”. A lot of us “talk the talk”, but Jim really did “walk the walk”. He was, and still is, an example to us all.

    I’ll miss you, Jim.

  54. Sandra Stoltz Bautista says

    To Jim’s family
    All of our thoughts and prayers in recent weeks have been for Jim…..I was so hoping for a miracle. Now, our thoughts and prayers and deepest sympathy are with you.

    We had the pleasure of meeting Jim only once (Spring ’09) and have had an ongoing conversation (through email) with him right up until about 2 weeks ago.

    I was writing a story to him about my birds flying away and the miracle that they had come back to us after being lost outside for a number of days. It was a long story and I had not finished it. I thought I would have more time to let him know the outcome but now I think he probably knows without my writing the story.

    We can’t think of anyone whose spirit deserved to be truly free more than Walkin’ Jim. We will miss him as we know you will but he will live on for us in his music and I know for you in wonderful memories.

    Love from Sandy and Frank Bautista

  55. Walk in peace Jim, as you venture in to the distant far horizons.

    Thank you for passing through my life, these many years, crossing paths every so often on the great trails of our beautiful country.

    Wishing for comfort for your all of your friends and family. Bidding you adieu.

  56. Susan Harris says

    Happy Trails Jim! You will live in our hearts and minds for all time!

  57. To the Family of James “Walkin Jim” Stoltz,

    So sorry to learn about the lost of your Dear Loved One, Jim. Please know that so many people share your grief with you to help you through this difficult time. Please accept my deepest condolences as we await the time when Christ Jesus will awaken all of those who have fallen asleep in death; including your beloved, Jim. (John 11:41-44)

  58. Grant Wiegert says

    I had the pleasure in the late eighties and once in the nineties of co-organizing a few Walkin Jim concerts. We did okay as far as attendance went but from then on and prior to that I was a fan of Jim for his hikes and his concerns about preserving wild places and the environment. I always enjoyed his newsletters and latest adventures. I will miss Jim and offer my condolences to his surviving clan and of course his fellow wilderness pals. Grant Wiegert Grand Canyon

  59. Rich Wittrup says

    We were very saddened by the news that Walkin’ Jim passed away. We first got to know about Walkin’ Jim from his ‘Come Walk with Me’ video about 14 years ago. We actually know one of the girls that participated in making the video. Our son, who has severe autism, enjoys watching it over and over and has all of the songs memorized. We were hoping that some day our son would be able to see him in concert.

    Cancer is so horrible. My brother-in-law, who was from Bozeman, MT and an avid fly fisherman, passed away 2 years ago from cancer at the young age of 55.

  60. John Sincock KBCS radio host says

    I attended Walkin Jim’s first concert in Seattle, over 20 years ago, that was put together by his friend Tom Kwiatkowski. Jim appeared several times live on my radio show, and I went to every concert he did in Seattle. His show and songs were wonderful, but I think it’s the work he championed that will be his real legacy

  61. Don and Kathy Bruce says

    To Jim’ family and friends – He really touched our lives with his music and his stewardship of the earth. We lost a truly kind and gentle man, and a great advocate for wilderness. Enjoy your next walk Jim as we are sure there are many trails to follow in heaven too. You will always have a place in our hearts and we will always think of you whenever we get to get out in the wild.

  62. Pauline Harkins Delaney says

    Jim’s lyrics, tunes, stories, humor, and “old soul” grabbed me by the heart the first time I saw him perform at Common Ground in Birmingham, Michigan in the 1970s. Jim spoke of his family with great affection, love, and concern, and he kept track of old friends. More than anyone I know, Jim lived life on his own terms. He lived enviably and admirably, accomplishing much, and he left too soon. My heartfelt condolences Leslie, Susan, Mark, Lisa and families.

  63. John B. Free says

    Walkin’ with Jim, listening to Jim sing, sharing nature with Jim, were the highlights of my life.
    He’ll be sorely missed. Guess he’s walkin’ to heaven!
    Blessings Be……..and Be Free at last

  64. Dana Cordero says

    I first met Jim in the late ’80s when he was our sleigh driver and entertainment at the cabin in the woods at Lone Mtn Ranch. I bought his music, poetry, signed up on his mail list and shared the love of music and poetry we had in common after hearing his song “Searchin’ For The Road Not Taken.” More than 20 years later and helping him bring his love of the wild to cyberspace through several web sites, it so sad to hear the news about Jim. I’m so glad I was able to see him in Reno/Truckee during his Spring 2010 tour.
    In our last email exchange just days before he began his final trek home he wrote: “It sure does my heart good to hear prayers and thoughts and good energy coming my way.” … and what a heart he had! I feel so honored to have known this man! My continued prayers, thoughts and good energy are with his family and those close to him. His spirit continues to walk through his legacy of music, words, photography and art.

  65. I am Bud from Bud’s Records and
    I am proud that I carry Walkin Jims
    Cds and hope someone might be able
    to release more of Walkin Jim from
    concerts etc. Everyone will miss
    Walkin Jim and his music. I had the
    pleasure of meeting him about 9 yrs
    ago in Phila and always hoped he
    would return to PA in my area.

    My sympathy to all his family.

  66. Martha Evans says

    I had the great privilege of attending Jim’s Central Pennsylvania performance sponsored by the Sierra Club a few years ago. He told us of the obstacles he faced and the healing he experienced out in nature. He will be more greatly missed. In his modest way, he brought more people in alignment with environmental conservation than many blowhard politicians have.

  67. Arlis Dailey says

    I attended two of Jim’s performances in Southern Wisconsin. His music, writings, and photographs are truly inspirational.
    My condolences to his family.

  68. Jim was one of the most gentle spirits I have had the previlege to know on this earth. My short time of working with him in the Bozeman office renewed my faith that there are still humans that care deeply for the gift of this earth and the wild things. Walk in peace forever, Jim.

  69. Carrie Kline says

    Jim,
    Walk on. You inspired so many. Thank you for the tales you sang and the trails you walked. You leave unforgettable and gentle footprints. Love to all the friends and family, especially Leslie and Susan Grace, who helped Jim on his journey. I will miss you, Jim.

  70. Keith Hammer says

    I feel fortunate to have visited Jim at his home just last week, but regret I cannot make his memorial tomorrow, Sept 8 in Helena.

    My condolences to Leslie, all of Jim’s family, and his many friends across the country.

    Jim will forever remain an inspiration to me, not just in his music and advocacy for protecting wildlands, but as the type of person we strive to be.

    From one of Jim’s songs:
    “If we could see this world through the eyes of those
    Who keep sharing when there’s nothing left to give
    If we could walk this land with respect for all
    Oh, what a life we could live.”

    Jim did exactly that and he continues to share his love of the land with us through his songs, photos, books and paintings. His person will be sorely missed but his passion for wild country will live with us forever.

  71. David Cochrane says

    I met Jim but once. What a pleasure and privilege it was. Not often does one meet someone who makes such a difference, yet who is so unpretentious and unaffected. He, another friend, and I snow-shoed. His interest in his surroundings as well as with his companions was as genuine as it was enthusiastic. Then, later to watch him present to school children in a manner neither condescending nor patronizing, but designed to inform without preachiness was even more impressive. Surely, there are few, if any, who could have walked his path better. All who knew and loved him must be saddened yet grateful to have know such an original and good person.

  72. Jim & Sally McMorris says

    We extend our deepest sympathy to Jim’s family. We loved chatting with him and hearing him sing at Lone Mountain Ranch for many years.

  73. Danny Lineberger says

    My wife and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s family. He was such a wonderful person. We will keep you in your hearts and prayers.

    Two years ago we had the priviledge of Jim staying with us in our home while he was performing in Greensboro. We will never forget that time.

    Jim also wrote us shortly before his death. I knew from what he said that he was gravely ill, but I had no idea that his time was so short. He made a deep impression on our lives and so many others. He will be missed more than words can say.

  74. Donna Brigley says

    I must have seen Jim perform a dozen times, between ALDHA Gatherings and school venues. I most recently saw him after his kidney transplant and he was looking good. The Earth has lost a true hero of this planet. My condolences to his family and loved ones.

  75. Jim was a good man. His voice when he sang was amazing!!!

  76. Andy, Vickie and Jake Lazere says

    Jim is a part of our Montana memories. His unique life focused on the best of the state and the country

    Our visits spanned our son’s growing from age 4 to a teenager.
    Jim stayed at our home in Southern California the night after performing at our son’s school. The children just loved him.

    Our condolences to the family and our friend Leslie.

  77. Jane Gentholts says

    Walkin Jim,
    We will always remember you working on the video with our girls, what fun it was. You taught our kids to care for our earth, the most important lesson. Your family is in our hearts and prayers.
    Blessings,
    Jane

  78. D'Aoust and Puccinelli Family says

    We love you, Walkin’ Jim.

    We will put a memorial sign on our stewardship forest in Idaho: “Walkin’ Jim passed this way.” We shall walk with you in the great beyond and in Idaho and in the Alps.

    Our love and thoughts to Jim’s family and friends.

    Always our admiration, and love,
    Susan & Brian, Renee & Daniele

  79. Heather Koponen says

    Thank you Paul for the wonderfully written email notice of Jim’s passing. While celebrating Jim’s life, it is helping carry on his work and music.

    I had an enjoyable conversation with Jim when connecting to the MUSE website and ordering music; and he told me that Susan Grace is his sister. How much their music and environmental activism and positive outlook are alike! Two who are right up there with Pete Seeger.

    I am blessed to see Susan here in Fairbanks. We are all blessed with the beautiful music and positive messages of both of them.

    Peace.
    Dona Nobis Pacem.

  80. Joan Watroba says

    So sorry to hear of “Walkin Jim’s” passing, but so blessed to have attended one of his inspirational talks and multimedia presentations. He certainly lived life and shared his appreciation and love for the natural world with everyone he met. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  81. Linda Kenoyer says

    To Leslie: Thank you for being there for Jim all these years.

    To Walkin’ Jim’s family: Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with all of us who knew and loved him and his music and his art.

    To Walkin’ Jim: Thank you for providing the soundtrack of my life.

  82. Pep Washburn says

    So, sad to hear about your passing on, Jim. We have kindred spirits and someday I feel I’ll get to visit with you on the long trails of forever.

  83. Terry L. Newberry says

    Troubadour lost

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