Fire, death ruled accidental; memorial being planned

Posted on December 13th, 2011 by Laura Fonda


Queen Anne resident Jim Fielder died in a house fire on Friday.

Updated:

A faulty extension cord is blamed for a fire that destroyed a home at 18 W. Dravus St., and took one life, according a source close to the matter, and which was confirmed by the Seattle Fire Department.

The home was owned by Jim Fielder, a retired teacher, former screenwriter and novelist who had lived in Queen Anne most of his life. Fielder, according to his ex-wife, was asleep on his side in the bedroom on the second floor when the faulty extension cord ignited. He was 68.

Fielder’s cousin, Mar Hyde, who also lives in Queen Anne, is overseeing the interment process. She said Fielder will be cremated and his ashes will be distributed in an undisclosed location.

One of Fielder’s favorite places was The Mecca Cafe in lower Queen Anne. Hyde said she is planning a wake/memorial for Fielder some time in February. Donations for the memorial and for the cost of an obituary in The Seattle Times, would be appreciated. Anyone who would like to donate or volunteer at the event should contact Hyde at 206-282-8082 or write her at:

Mar Hyde
126 W. Florentia St.
Seattle, Wa. 98119.


0 responses to “Fire, death ruled accidental; memorial being planned”

  1. tico says:

    Pointing out that the very recently deceased was “broke” and “estranged” from his daughter isn’t the classiest maneuver.

    Is this a news site or a gossip column?

  2. tico says:

    Pointing out that the very recently deceased was “broke” and “estranged” from his daughter isn’t the classiest maneuver.

    Is this a news site or a gossip column?

  3. Although I agree with the first person to comment, I also understand how difficult it can be to write these unexpected horrific informationals…

    On one note – I saw nothing in the piece to justify SPU getting the property due to Mr. Fielder’s death.

    If he died without a will there are standard intestate will statutes and procedures which will determine who gets what.

    The benefit of a will is if you want something to happen different from these laws, or you want something to happen with specific property.

    My condolences to all who lost what sounds like an amazing friend, family member, ex-spouse, or neighbor.

    …an extension cord. Gunno go check all mine, right now.

  4. Although I agree with the first person to comment, I also understand how difficult it can be to write these unexpected horrific informationals…

    On one note – I saw nothing in the piece to justify SPU getting the property due to Mr. Fielder’s death.

    If he died without a will there are standard intestate will statutes and procedures which will determine who gets what.

    The benefit of a will is if you want something to happen different from these laws, or you want something to happen with specific property.

    My condolences to all who lost what sounds like an amazing friend, family member, ex-spouse, or neighbor.

    …an extension cord. Gunno go check all mine, right now.

  5. kevan atteberry says:

    Probably the most influential person in my life. The values he taught me in the early 70s as my teacher I’ve carried with me all my life. His passion for politics, justice, the environment, BIRDS!, good literature and music, etc. is noted in my passion of the same things. I wish I had known where he was. I never got to thank him properly. Though I did dedicate a children’s book I illustrated in 2010 (Frankie Stein Starts School) to him, “To all my teachers, especially Mr. Fielder”. I wish I could have shown him that. If there are rewards after death, I hope you are overwhelmed with them, Jim.

  6. kevan atteberry says:

    Probably the most influential person in my life. The values he taught me in the early 70s as my teacher I’ve carried with me all my life. His passion for politics, justice, the environment, BIRDS!, good literature and music, etc. is noted in my passion of the same things. I wish I had known where he was. I never got to thank him properly. Though I did dedicate a children’s book I illustrated in 2010 (Frankie Stein Starts School) to him, “To all my teachers, especially Mr. Fielder”. I wish I could have shown him that. If there are rewards after death, I hope you are overwhelmed with them, Jim.

  7. QALady says:

    Yikes. Just because you were *able* to get a lot of private information doesn’t mean that it’s news that the community needs to know. There are details about this man’s finances, family, and housekeeping that are nobody else’s business. That’s the worst thing about “news” blogs — there’s no editor making sure the writer sticks to actual journalism rather than deteriorating into flabby chit-chat. You might want to read #3 of your own blog rules, which includes the exortation to “Respect the privacy of others” and not to “post anyone’s personal information.”

  8. QALady says:

    Yikes. Just because you were *able* to get a lot of private information doesn’t mean that it’s news that the community needs to know. There are details about this man’s finances, family, and housekeeping that are nobody else’s business. That’s the worst thing about “news” blogs — there’s no editor making sure the writer sticks to actual journalism rather than deteriorating into flabby chit-chat. You might want to read #3 of your own blog rules, which includes the exortation to “Respect the privacy of others” and not to “post anyone’s personal information.”

  9. becky says:

    The best teacher i had in all of my school years!! R.I.P. Mr.Fielder!! By the way… i was a student from the early 70’s… and have often thought of you all these years!

  10. becky says:

    The best teacher i had in all of my school years!! R.I.P. Mr.Fielder!! By the way… i was a student from the early 70’s… and have often thought of you all these years!

  11. tico says:

    Incidentally (and hypocritically, I might add) I’ve been banned from posting over on myballard.com because I ruffled the feathers of the regulars by suggesting Red Mill would be better off accepting credit. So, to recap:

    – discussing payment options at fast food restaurants is not ok and will result in banning.
    – denegrating the recently deceased- and doing so IN VIOLATION OF YOUR SITE”S OWN TERMS OF USE is OK.

    Shame on you next door media.

  12. tico says:

    Incidentally (and hypocritically, I might add) I’ve been banned from posting over on myballard.com because I ruffled the feathers of the regulars by suggesting Red Mill would be better off accepting credit. So, to recap:

    – discussing payment options at fast food restaurants is not ok and will result in banning.
    – denegrating the recently deceased- and doing so IN VIOLATION OF YOUR SITE”S OWN TERMS OF USE is OK.

    Shame on you next door media.

  13. Christy A. Schoonover says:

    I haven’t seen Jim Fielder in over ten years, and knew him mostly in the 90’s. He hired me as a river guide in my 20’s when I desperately needed a job, married one of my closest friends, and inspired in me a true love and appreciation for nature. I don’t have a memory of Jim where I don’t smile thinking of something he said or did. The Jim I knew was complicated, passionate and eccentric. And inspiring others came so easily to him. I will always remember the encouraging chats, baking cookies in his mother’s kitchen, hikes in Montana, his wolf bag, his mop of shaggy hair, and most importantly his laughter – which he was incapable of holding back if something struck him as funny. R.I.P old friend – you are truly unforgettable.

  14. Christy A. Schoonover says:

    I haven’t seen Jim Fielder in over ten years, and knew him mostly in the 90’s. He hired me as a river guide in my 20’s when I desperately needed a job, married one of my closest friends, and inspired in me a true love and appreciation for nature. I don’t have a memory of Jim where I don’t smile thinking of something he said or did. The Jim I knew was complicated, passionate and eccentric. And inspiring others came so easily to him. I will always remember the encouraging chats, baking cookies in his mother’s kitchen, hikes in Montana, his wolf bag, his mop of shaggy hair, and most importantly his laughter – which he was incapable of holding back if something struck him as funny. R.I.P old friend – you are truly unforgettable.

  15. Geeky Swedes says:

    This story has been edited to remove personal information about Mr. Fielder. Any questions, email me at kate@nextdoormedia.com. ~Kate

  16. Geeky Swedes says:

    This story has been edited to remove personal information about Mr. Fielder. Any questions, email me at kate@nextdoormedia.com. ~Kate

  17. Bruce Biermann says:

    While I may disagree with your posting of personal information in the original article, Jim Fielder would have been appalled at your after-the-fact editing.

    Mr. Fielder, Mr. Duffy, and many other teachers at NHS in the early 1970’s, were all about openness and honesty. We disagreed often, but we always respected each other for speaking the truth as we knew it.

    I miss characters like Jim Fielder. We lived in a different time when editing didn’t hinder free discussion of important issues.

  18. Bruce Biermann says:

    While I may disagree with your posting of personal information in the original article, Jim Fielder would have been appalled at your after-the-fact editing.

    Mr. Fielder, Mr. Duffy, and many other teachers at NHS in the early 1970’s, were all about openness and honesty. We disagreed often, but we always respected each other for speaking the truth as we knew it.

    I miss characters like Jim Fielder. We lived in a different time when editing didn’t hinder free discussion of important issues.

  19. George Gust says:

    Jim was my most influential teacher at Newport in the late 60’s-early 70’s. A teacher who could inspire one and all. All was not perfect with him, but his teaching stays with me to this day and beyond. I stayed in contact with him over the years and will miss his wit and wisdom. I will forever miss him. Birders Forever, long live the Bio-Jocks!

  20. George Gust says:

    Jim was my most influential teacher at Newport in the late 60’s-early 70’s. A teacher who could inspire one and all. All was not perfect with him, but his teaching stays with me to this day and beyond. I stayed in contact with him over the years and will miss his wit and wisdom. I will forever miss him. Birders Forever, long live the Bio-Jocks!

  21. Laurie Dawson says:

    I was too shy in school to talk with Jim 1:1 yet I never missed a birdwatching trip. They were an opportunity to explore nature with my amazing fellow birders! In my experience that was my only teacher who was brave enough to take on such regular trips and one of the only instructors I paid attention to (Mr. Duffy as well, another pioneer and honest communicator). RIP

  22. Laurie Dawson says:

    I was too shy in school to talk with Jim 1:1 yet I never missed a birdwatching trip. They were an opportunity to explore nature with my amazing fellow birders! In my experience that was my only teacher who was brave enough to take on such regular trips and one of the only instructors I paid attention to (Mr. Duffy as well, another pioneer and honest communicator). RIP

  23. George Gust says:

    …and let me not forget the beautiful day in August 1989 when Jim, Joel Seidel and myself stood on the south rim of the Mt. St. Helens crater. Jim, of course, climbing in his Birkenstocks the whole way…

  24. George Gust says:

    …and let me not forget the beautiful day in August 1989 when Jim, Joel Seidel and myself stood on the south rim of the Mt. St. Helens crater. Jim, of course, climbing in his Birkenstocks the whole way…

  25. Ron Adams says:

    Jim was my friend and colleague , we did combined Art and Ecology field trips to the desert, mountains and ocean. We had a great time with our students sharing activities. We went to peace marches in San Francisco and Seattle we wrote letters and went to hearings. After I left the Bellevue School District I lost track of him. He had some down years, he left the district too. I caught up with him a few times after that. He was taking care of his aging mother in his childhood home near SPU on th North side of Queen Anne Hill . I got together with him for dinner a couple of times. Then he went to California and I lost track again. He was a gentle giant, a lover of nature , yes especially birds, he was a river tour guide on bird watching expeditions in some of those lost years in Colorado and the Amazon. I only saw him one time after that about ten years ago. We met for another dinner, we told New Port High School war stories , he was excited about making contact with his long lost daughter. He gave me a movie script that he had written, it chronicled our years of teaching at New Port High School. I lost contact with Jim again after that . I talked with once on the phone and told him I liked the scrip. I never saw him a gain. I am sorry , I lost a great old friend and colleague. I always thought I would see him again and we would tell more stories and share our experiences. Good bye old friend.

  26. Ron Adams says:

    Jim was my friend and colleague , we did combined Art and Ecology field trips to the desert, mountains and ocean. We had a great time with our students sharing activities. We went to peace marches in San Francisco and Seattle we wrote letters and went to hearings. After I left the Bellevue School District I lost track of him. He had some down years, he left the district too. I caught up with him a few times after that. He was taking care of his aging mother in his childhood home near SPU on th North side of Queen Anne Hill . I got together with him for dinner a couple of times. Then he went to California and I lost track again. He was a gentle giant, a lover of nature , yes especially birds, he was a river tour guide on bird watching expeditions in some of those lost years in Colorado and the Amazon. I only saw him one time after that about ten years ago. We met for another dinner, we told New Port High School war stories , he was excited about making contact with his long lost daughter. He gave me a movie script that he had written, it chronicled our years of teaching at New Port High School. I lost contact with Jim again after that . I talked with once on the phone and told him I liked the scrip. I never saw him a gain. I am sorry , I lost a great old friend and colleague. I always thought I would see him again and we would tell more stories and share our experiences. Good bye old friend.

  27. Chris McBride says:

    Jim Fielder came into our lives when my daughter had the good fortune to be in his class at McClure Middle School. Jim was and still is an inspiration to the lucky individuals who came in contact with him. He made learning fun, he was so interested in life and to hear of his passing has saddened us beyond measure. I saw him a month ago and as usual we talked about so many subjects and made tentative plans to “get to gether for lunch”. I thank you , Jim Fielder, for your friendship, your insight, your laughter. My daughter is soon to graduate college with three majors, all in honors and I thank you for inspiring her and countless other students. You made such a great difference in people’s lives and your legacy will live on!! Bless you, Jim

  28. Chris McBride says:

    Jim Fielder came into our lives when my daughter had the good fortune to be in his class at McClure Middle School. Jim was and still is an inspiration to the lucky individuals who came in contact with him. He made learning fun, he was so interested in life and to hear of his passing has saddened us beyond measure. I saw him a month ago and as usual we talked about so many subjects and made tentative plans to “get to gether for lunch”. I thank you , Jim Fielder, for your friendship, your insight, your laughter. My daughter is soon to graduate college with three majors, all in honors and I thank you for inspiring her and countless other students. You made such a great difference in people’s lives and your legacy will live on!! Bless you, Jim

  29. Chris McBride says:

    Chris McBride should have been Chris Scott McBride, mother of Catherine Scott

  30. Chris McBride says:

    Chris McBride should have been Chris Scott McBride, mother of Catherine Scott

  31. Bethann beckmann says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Jim fielders death. Also having attended newport in the early 70’s. Fielder awakened a deep love of birding in my brother Jimbo Beckmann and myself that has lasted thru our lives. As well as a broader view of life. to take an opportunity to acknowledge a person who is still with us while I can – I’d like to thank Ron Adams for being one of those teachers like Jim Fielder that left a life long impression. Thankyou both for being the teachers so many of u’s needed.

  32. Bethann beckmann says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Jim fielders death. Also having attended newport in the early 70’s. Fielder awakened a deep love of birding in my brother Jimbo Beckmann and myself that has lasted thru our lives. As well as a broader view of life. to take an opportunity to acknowledge a person who is still with us while I can – I’d like to thank Ron Adams for being one of those teachers like Jim Fielder that left a life long impression. Thankyou both for being the teachers so many of u’s needed.

  33. Paul Scott says:

    There are special people that quietly make the difference. Mr. Fielder was one of those special souls. When times were difficult for a 6th grade classroom, 20 parents reached out to find a light. There was none. Discouragement and heartbreak continued, then a caring light came into the darkness—that was Jim Fielder. He brought a classroom of beautiful children out of the ashes of despair; making the way for our so loved children to learn again, to dream again—flowering into the their God given greatness. Thank you Mr. Fielder, you are missed. Cat, Chris and I will miss you.

  34. Paul Scott says:

    There are special people that quietly make the difference. Mr. Fielder was one of those special souls. When times were difficult for a 6th grade classroom, 20 parents reached out to find a light. There was none. Discouragement and heartbreak continued, then a caring light came into the darkness—that was Jim Fielder. He brought a classroom of beautiful children out of the ashes of despair; making the way for our so loved children to learn again, to dream again—flowering into the their God given greatness. Thank you Mr. Fielder, you are missed. Cat, Chris and I will miss you.

  35. Bethann beckmann says:

    I just came in from refilling my bird feeders and bringing in the hummingbird feeder before the nights freeze. I had to wonder how many others can trace their love of birds/environment to Jim Fielder?

  36. Bethann beckmann says:

    I just came in from refilling my bird feeders and bringing in the hummingbird feeder before the nights freeze. I had to wonder how many others can trace their love of birds/environment to Jim Fielder?

  37. Diana Lovell Piermattei says:

    I’m one of those that can that can trace that love of birds & birding to Mr. Fielder. I had him in Newport in the early 70s and his passionate teaching about the natural world lit a fire in many of us. He trusted us enough, a bunch of teenagers, to take us across the state in a quest to watch birds, it was so much fun! Maybe someday, Mr. Fielder, you can lead me in a bird trip on the heavenly side 🙂

  38. Diana Lovell Piermattei says:

    I’m one of those that can that can trace that love of birds & birding to Mr. Fielder. I had him in Newport in the early 70s and his passionate teaching about the natural world lit a fire in many of us. He trusted us enough, a bunch of teenagers, to take us across the state in a quest to watch birds, it was so much fun! Maybe someday, Mr. Fielder, you can lead me in a bird trip on the heavenly side 🙂

  39. David Mack says:

    Jim and I had an incredible bond for 42 years. We shared with each other our deepest struggles and our greatest triumphs and regardless of the circumstances always laughed at ourselves and each other. We started with birds in the late 60’s and ironically just a few weeks before he left us we shared a movie together about bird watchers…it was our last visit. As others have commented, there are few whose influence was greater. His charismatic charm and excitement transcended multiple generations. I was fortunate to share many parts of his life, including birds, south america, building a rafting empire, relationships, writing, fly fishing, art shows, cowboy events, and a good beer on a warm cashless night. For those close to him the loss is wide and deep. Let’s honor his life by sharing memories and leave it to that.

  40. David Mack says:

    Jim and I had an incredible bond for 42 years. We shared with each other our deepest struggles and our greatest triumphs and regardless of the circumstances always laughed at ourselves and each other. We started with birds in the late 60’s and ironically just a few weeks before he left us we shared a movie together about bird watchers…it was our last visit. As others have commented, there are few whose influence was greater. His charismatic charm and excitement transcended multiple generations. I was fortunate to share many parts of his life, including birds, south america, building a rafting empire, relationships, writing, fly fishing, art shows, cowboy events, and a good beer on a warm cashless night. For those close to him the loss is wide and deep. Let’s honor his life by sharing memories and leave it to that.

  41. Louise Lowry says:

    Jim Fielder was my colleague when we were both teachers at Newport High School in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was a warm, creative, charismatic teacher–one whose students will never forget his influence. I remember driving to school in the early mornings and seeing Jim and groups of his students lurking in the bushes and cattails that lined the roads near the school. They were observing and documenting the habits of the red winged blackbirds who nested there. Only Jim could convince his teen-aged students that it was cool to be up at dawn to watch the birds. May flights of rwbb’s sing him to his rest.

  42. Louise Lowry says:

    Jim Fielder was my colleague when we were both teachers at Newport High School in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was a warm, creative, charismatic teacher–one whose students will never forget his influence. I remember driving to school in the early mornings and seeing Jim and groups of his students lurking in the bushes and cattails that lined the roads near the school. They were observing and documenting the habits of the red winged blackbirds who nested there. Only Jim could convince his teen-aged students that it was cool to be up at dawn to watch the birds. May flights of rwbb’s sing him to his rest.

  43. jan herzog says:

    my dear younger cousin jimmy,we were saddened to learn of your tragic death in the fire at your home dec, 9,2011 , even tho i hadn’t seen you in several years i had tried to call, you had been a busy guy and not well, i’ve learned. So sorry about losing you,my sis called last night from Maui and we chatted about Gentle Giant 6’4 jimmy -loved you,jan.

  44. jan herzog says:

    my dear younger cousin jimmy,we were saddened to learn of your tragic death in the fire at your home dec, 9,2011 , even tho i hadn’t seen you in several years i had tried to call, you had been a busy guy and not well, i’ve learned. So sorry about losing you,my sis called last night from Maui and we chatted about Gentle Giant 6’4 jimmy -loved you,jan.

  45. Eric Holmqist says:

    Yesturday I observed the flight of a Red Shafted flicker. I never would have been able to identify that bird if it wasn’t for Mr. Fielder’s insistance on not just labeling an animal, but learning it’s behavior as well. Jim also inspired a teaching style that I used successfully in teaching, and being a Scout leader for many years. Mr. fielder’s was felt in everything I did outdoors. I missed him since last seeing him in the early seventies.
    I miss him even more now more than ever. His spirit lives on! Bio-jocks forever!

  46. Eric Holmqist says:

    Yesturday I observed the flight of a Red Shafted flicker. I never would have been able to identify that bird if it wasn’t for Mr. Fielder’s insistance on not just labeling an animal, but learning it’s behavior as well. Jim also inspired a teaching style that I used successfully in teaching, and being a Scout leader for many years. Mr. fielder’s was felt in everything I did outdoors. I missed him since last seeing him in the early seventies.
    I miss him even more now more than ever. His spirit lives on! Bio-jocks forever!

  47. Eric Holmqist says:

    What became of his screen play? Bomb the dam!

  48. Eric Holmqist says:

    What became of his screen play? Bomb the dam!

  49. Sharon Ryals Tamm says:

    Fielder was responsible for some of my favorite moments in high school 1968-71. He collected poisonous desert critters, mailed them live to us and became our excuse for a Herpetology Show and Dance. He started an Ornithology class for us, got us out at all hours to (quietly) revel in birds and nature. No one had any money but that never shorted fun. We ate free hot saltines in the San Juans. His science and art geeks inspired my one small art success-the silk screened Bio-Jocks t-shirt. Fielder gave us passion for and courage to protect the natural world. He wasn’t a competitive life list birder, more a patient and delighted witness. He gave us that way of seeing.

    Yes, where is that screen play? Are there students in it pulling up construction survey stakes in eagle habitat?

  50. Sharon Ryals Tamm says:

    Fielder was responsible for some of my favorite moments in high school 1968-71. He collected poisonous desert critters, mailed them live to us and became our excuse for a Herpetology Show and Dance. He started an Ornithology class for us, got us out at all hours to (quietly) revel in birds and nature. No one had any money but that never shorted fun. We ate free hot saltines in the San Juans. His science and art geeks inspired my one small art success-the silk screened Bio-Jocks t-shirt. Fielder gave us passion for and courage to protect the natural world. He wasn’t a competitive life list birder, more a patient and delighted witness. He gave us that way of seeing.

    Yes, where is that screen play? Are there students in it pulling up construction survey stakes in eagle habitat?

  51. David Mack says:

    Not sure if he ever finished the screenplay, but will look into that, if it made it through the fire…

  52. David Mack says:

    Not sure if he ever finished the screenplay, but will look into that, if it made it through the fire…

  53. Rich Berkau says:

    Jim Fielder was one of the most influential figures of my youth. Not just at NHS but also as a friend and in the experience of Zig Zag River Runners, which unfortunately ended badly. The last time I saw Jim was in an elevator the final day of racing at Longacres. Birds, field trips, Tillamook, Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stones concerts, the 318 Tavern, The Place Picalle Tavern , being neighbors on lower Queen Anne, Chubby and Tubby Christmas trees that he left up until February, his mom and dad, The Skagit River, Copper Creek Dam, Bald Eagle float trips, mushroom collecting float trips on the Snoqualmie River where we convinced Carnation Farms we were doing research, The Wenatchee River, Leavenworth, River Granny (“Cox’s Army and The Multitudes”), flip-rip-wrap (the trifecta of river guides on probation), The Terminal Sales Building, The 1979 World Champion Seattle Supersonics (some we took rafting), Downtown Fred Brown floating the Skagit River, Wayne Cody in a Whitewater Tuxedo, radio advertising campaigns, an FBI fraud unit investigating 2 for 1 river trips advertised on Metro bus signs, a Hollywood film crew along with a cast of characters that includes everyone associated with ZZRR, loyal customers, rival raft companies, and the King County Courthouse were all part of my legacy with Mr Fielder. Like all of you, I am saddened to hear of his death and to see his life end this way. Thank you Jim and may you be resting in peace.

  54. Rich Berkau says:

    Jim Fielder was one of the most influential figures of my youth. Not just at NHS but also as a friend and in the experience of Zig Zag River Runners, which unfortunately ended badly. The last time I saw Jim was in an elevator the final day of racing at Longacres. Birds, field trips, Tillamook, Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stones concerts, the 318 Tavern, The Place Picalle Tavern , being neighbors on lower Queen Anne, Chubby and Tubby Christmas trees that he left up until February, his mom and dad, The Skagit River, Copper Creek Dam, Bald Eagle float trips, mushroom collecting float trips on the Snoqualmie River where we convinced Carnation Farms we were doing research, The Wenatchee River, Leavenworth, River Granny (“Cox’s Army and The Multitudes”), flip-rip-wrap (the trifecta of river guides on probation), The Terminal Sales Building, The 1979 World Champion Seattle Supersonics (some we took rafting), Downtown Fred Brown floating the Skagit River, Wayne Cody in a Whitewater Tuxedo, radio advertising campaigns, an FBI fraud unit investigating 2 for 1 river trips advertised on Metro bus signs, a Hollywood film crew along with a cast of characters that includes everyone associated with ZZRR, loyal customers, rival raft companies, and the King County Courthouse were all part of my legacy with Mr Fielder. Like all of you, I am saddened to hear of his death and to see his life end this way. Thank you Jim and may you be resting in peace.

  55. Lee Haslam says:

    Like many of us who were so very fourtunate to have had Jim Fielder as an instructor in the early 70’s at Newport High, I too can point to my love of nature, birds, awareness of my world around me from the many weekend field trips and discussions about life and our impact on it. I still remember the hunt for the Great Grey Owl in the field early morning near Darrington and how all of us slowly and quietly moved up to the tree only to have that bird just look at us and crap on the ground. Didn’t really care who we were. Such fun and great memories

  56. Lee Haslam says:

    Like many of us who were so very fourtunate to have had Jim Fielder as an instructor in the early 70’s at Newport High, I too can point to my love of nature, birds, awareness of my world around me from the many weekend field trips and discussions about life and our impact on it. I still remember the hunt for the Great Grey Owl in the field early morning near Darrington and how all of us slowly and quietly moved up to the tree only to have that bird just look at us and crap on the ground. Didn’t really care who we were. Such fun and great memories

  57. Gary Paull says:

    I was one of the fortunate kids who had Jim Fielder as a teacher at Newport High in the early 1970’s. He kinda stood out from the rest of the faculty at the time with his huge mop of long dark hair, big beard, granny glasses, blue jeans and dark green T-shirt. Being six and a half feet tall helped that too. But that was just the beginning, his exceptional skill was sharing his passion and excitement about the natural world and igniting those latent qualities in many of us. His influence sent a bunch of us out of high school and on to lives of political, environmental and social activism – and a life-long interest in birds. The “Fielder Trips” to birding hot spots around the state were epic adventures for us high school kids. Desert Solitaire was required reading. He wanted to change our high school mascot from Knights to the far more peaceful (but strong) Mountain Gorillas. So many memories.
    Thank you Jim Fielder, we will never forget you!

  58. Gary Paull says:

    I was one of the fortunate kids who had Jim Fielder as a teacher at Newport High in the early 1970’s. He kinda stood out from the rest of the faculty at the time with his huge mop of long dark hair, big beard, granny glasses, blue jeans and dark green T-shirt. Being six and a half feet tall helped that too. But that was just the beginning, his exceptional skill was sharing his passion and excitement about the natural world and igniting those latent qualities in many of us. His influence sent a bunch of us out of high school and on to lives of political, environmental and social activism – and a life-long interest in birds. The “Fielder Trips” to birding hot spots around the state were epic adventures for us high school kids. Desert Solitaire was required reading. He wanted to change our high school mascot from Knights to the far more peaceful (but strong) Mountain Gorillas. So many memories.
    Thank you Jim Fielder, we will never forget you!

  59. Teanaway says:

    I remember fresh date milkshakes and Margie’s lemon pie; listening to Lefty Frizzell and Iris Dement; watching’ The Misfits’ and ‘To Have and Have Not’; reading ‘Sweet Thursday’ and ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’; roasting marshmallows in the backyard; hiking in the Teanaway River Valley and listening to the silence atop the dunes of Death Valley. Jim taught me how to downhill ski, to fly fish and to write down my thoughts every day. Our last conversation was nearly a year ago, and I was able to thank him for the richness he brought to my life. But this sadness is neverending. I will miss knowing he is out there shaking things up somewhere. And I will miss watching from afar as he feeds the ducks at the canal on sunny days.

  60. Teanaway says:

    I remember fresh date milkshakes and Margie’s lemon pie; listening to Lefty Frizzell and Iris Dement; watching’ The Misfits’ and ‘To Have and Have Not’; reading ‘Sweet Thursday’ and ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’; roasting marshmallows in the backyard; hiking in the Teanaway River Valley and listening to the silence atop the dunes of Death Valley. Jim taught me how to downhill ski, to fly fish and to write down my thoughts every day. Our last conversation was nearly a year ago, and I was able to thank him for the richness he brought to my life. But this sadness is neverending. I will miss knowing he is out there shaking things up somewhere. And I will miss watching from afar as he feeds the ducks at the canal on sunny days.

  61. Sharon Ryals Tamm says:

    Just remembered a bunch of us saw Janis Joplin at the old baseball stadium. We sat on the grass and Jim said, “Janis is the only woman I ever loved.” That could explain a lot. Also one year we saw snowy owls and Jim explained how Disney ran lemmings off a cliff to film it. But every four years the lemming population does max out and disperse. Big eating for snowy owls that year and the next year the snowy owls are hungry and come down to Washington then we get to see them!

  62. Sharon Ryals Tamm says:

    Just remembered a bunch of us saw Janis Joplin at the old baseball stadium. We sat on the grass and Jim said, “Janis is the only woman I ever loved.” That could explain a lot. Also one year we saw snowy owls and Jim explained how Disney ran lemmings off a cliff to film it. But every four years the lemming population does max out and disperse. Big eating for snowy owls that year and the next year the snowy owls are hungry and come down to Washington then we get to see them!

  63. Bob Pyle says:

    Jimmy Field-trip is dead; long live Jimmy Field-trip!

    First, thank you very much, George, for calling to let us know the melancholy news. A couple of days later I received a Jimbo-gram, one of Jim Beckman’s many postcards, sharing the sad fact as well.

    Along with fellow UW forestry grad student Neil Johannsen (later director of Alaska State Parks for 14 years), I was invited to speak at James Fielder’s classes at Newport High School on the very first Earth Day. Neil and I were active in campus conservation affairs, and Jim must have thought we’d have something to share on the subject for his young naturalists; of course, we thought we did, too. From that first visit to Newport came several friendships with members of that astonishing Community of Naturalists, including Terry Smith, Jim Beckman, several others who have posted here, and of course the teacher himself. I could write remembrances of my years as friend to Fielder from now until the cows come home…and there are no cows. So I’ll mention only a few flickers from those years:

    Seeing real ecological education happening in and out of an American classroom, in a way and with a depth and verve and fun I have never witnessed since. Ditto for field trips…those amazing field trips. When we lament today the “Last Child in the Woods” and “nature-deficit disorder” (Richard Louv’s good terms), we need only think back to Fielder’s classes and field trips to see exactly what’s missing. Had he been the model, rather than the iconoclast, we’d all be in much better shape today. Happily, a number of the students so favored were able to segue smoothly into Evergreen State College, with more great naturalists such as Steve Herman and Al Wiedeman and Bob Sluss. That was surely a charmed era in natural history studies, at least at Newport and Evergreen, at a time when nature study was in decline over all. Jim Fielder may have been the best field teacher ever.

    In 1970, Jim and me traveling together in Colorado, working as naturalists (and porters!) for a nine-day post-convention field trip for the National Audubon Society. The leaders, Helen and Micki, wanted Jim to cut his hair and me to trim my beard, which we declined; but they ended up lovingly tending his bad sunburn from the Great Sand Dunes and my cinder-in-the-eye from the Silverton-Durango steam train. Debating our differing exegeses of “Miss American Pie” in a mountain bar. Birding, birding, birding.

    Years later, Jim falling in love with Raymond Carver’s short stories and dedicating himself wholly to writing, with all its ups and downs. Mostly downs, but also some exciting ups, such as when his book Slow Death was published to some critical acclaim. Jim inventing his own original form–the pre-publication blurb–getting friends at The Mecca and other regular folks to write commendations for his manuscript novel. Jim telling me he was afraid I’d be typecast and ridiculed for writing a book about Bigfoot; and later telephoning me to say, “Bob! I’ve gone from being a total Bigfoot skeptic to a Bigfoot born-again in ten seconds!” and giving me one of the best stories in my book. Jim also giving me tickets to take his daughter and my step-daughter to the Rolling Stones at the Kingdome, when he couldn’t go.

    And much more. But then, too little contact in recent years, often wondering how he was doing, but failing to call or write enough, or to manage to meet when up in the city. And now he is gone, and I am deeply sorry for it. But I shall always remember Jim as one of the true towering presences in my life: life-loving, world-giving, and always, I thought, hopeful. — Bob Pyle, Gray’s River

  64. Bob Pyle says:

    Jimmy Field-trip is dead; long live Jimmy Field-trip!

    First, thank you very much, George, for calling to let us know the melancholy news. A couple of days later I received a Jimbo-gram, one of Jim Beckman’s many postcards, sharing the sad fact as well.

    Along with fellow UW forestry grad student Neil Johannsen (later director of Alaska State Parks for 14 years), I was invited to speak at James Fielder’s classes at Newport High School on the very first Earth Day. Neil and I were active in campus conservation affairs, and Jim must have thought we’d have something to share on the subject for his young naturalists; of course, we thought we did, too. From that first visit to Newport came several friendships with members of that astonishing Community of Naturalists, including Terry Smith, Jim Beckman, several others who have posted here, and of course the teacher himself. I could write remembrances of my years as friend to Fielder from now until the cows come home…and there are no cows. So I’ll mention only a few flickers from those years:

    Seeing real ecological education happening in and out of an American classroom, in a way and with a depth and verve and fun I have never witnessed since. Ditto for field trips…those amazing field trips. When we lament today the “Last Child in the Woods” and “nature-deficit disorder” (Richard Louv’s good terms), we need only think back to Fielder’s classes and field trips to see exactly what’s missing. Had he been the model, rather than the iconoclast, we’d all be in much better shape today. Happily, a number of the students so favored were able to segue smoothly into Evergreen State College, with more great naturalists such as Steve Herman and Al Wiedeman and Bob Sluss. That was surely a charmed era in natural history studies, at least at Newport and Evergreen, at a time when nature study was in decline over all. Jim Fielder may have been the best field teacher ever.

    In 1970, Jim and me traveling together in Colorado, working as naturalists (and porters!) for a nine-day post-convention field trip for the National Audubon Society. The leaders, Helen and Micki, wanted Jim to cut his hair and me to trim my beard, which we declined; but they ended up lovingly tending his bad sunburn from the Great Sand Dunes and my cinder-in-the-eye from the Silverton-Durango steam train. Debating our differing exegeses of “Miss American Pie” in a mountain bar. Birding, birding, birding.

    Years later, Jim falling in love with Raymond Carver’s short stories and dedicating himself wholly to writing, with all its ups and downs. Mostly downs, but also some exciting ups, such as when his book Slow Death was published to some critical acclaim. Jim inventing his own original form–the pre-publication blurb–getting friends at The Mecca and other regular folks to write commendations for his manuscript novel. Jim telling me he was afraid I’d be typecast and ridiculed for writing a book about Bigfoot; and later telephoning me to say, “Bob! I’ve gone from being a total Bigfoot skeptic to a Bigfoot born-again in ten seconds!” and giving me one of the best stories in my book. Jim also giving me tickets to take his daughter and my step-daughter to the Rolling Stones at the Kingdome, when he couldn’t go.

    And much more. But then, too little contact in recent years, often wondering how he was doing, but failing to call or write enough, or to manage to meet when up in the city. And now he is gone, and I am deeply sorry for it. But I shall always remember Jim as one of the true towering presences in my life: life-loving, world-giving, and always, I thought, hopeful. — Bob Pyle, Gray’s River

  65. George Gust says:

    I was a student of Jim’s at Newport High School in the late 60’s-early 70’s. Jim was by far the most inspiring and influential teacher of my entire life. He made learning fun, he taught us how to learn, he taught us to want to learn. He has been with me on a daily basis for over 40 years now. I was so fortunate to have him as a teacher, and as a dear friend. Although time takes us in different directions, and it had been awhile since we’d gotten together, Jim was never far from the daily meanderings of my mind.

    My first recollection of Jim, at Newport, after a summer break, were those long legs striding down the hallway, wearing his white lab coat, long hair flying, and those muttonchops! I remember thinking, “Where did all the long hair come from all of the sudden?” I ended up taking 3 classes with Jim and am so thankful to have been a student of his teachings. He brought to his classrooms in the top local environmentalists of the area (Bob Pyle, whose work I still follow to this day), and others to inspire us. They live with me to this day.

    His famous “Fielder Trips”, field trips that lasted whole weekends! 40 high school students, 3 or 4 teachers, careening around the Northwest. 12-15 car caravans, pulled over to the side of I-5, looking at birds, usually followed by a couple of state troopers wondering what the hell was going on! After explanations from Jim, we’d get a warning instead of a ticket(s). And this happened more than once!

    At Tillamook on the Oregon coast (his first teaching job), there were Black Oystercatchers and Tufted Puffins (Jim once said he wanted to come back as a Tufted Puffin). Dunlins and Turnstones near La Push on the Washington coast. Calliope Hummingbirds in the Wenas Valley near Yakima and Trumpeter Swans at the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge near Spokane. Catbirds and fish-hunting Osprey on the Pend Oreille River in the far Northeast corner of Washington. Bald Eagles (pretty rare then), along what he would later call “The Magic Skagit”. An overnight boat trip to Sucia Island in the North San Juan Islands and the warm saltine crackers (yes Sharon, I remember them too!) at the harbor restaurant upon our return. All fond, dear memories.

    We started a “Bio-Jocks” club at Newport. Kind of an answer to the Lettermen’s Club. Some of the art students came up with a silk screen T-shirts. Jim was recruited by the students, by popular demand , to play in a faculty vs radio-station DJ’s (KJR) basketball game to raise money for the various school clubs. Jim would only play if the Science Dept. got a cut of the proceeds to buy new equipment. The Athletic Dept. was not too keen on it, but eventually relented when student demand became overwhelming. He played great, even with his bad feet, the other team was stunned this “long-hair” was a teacher and the Science Dept. got their money.

    The Bio-Jocks were also known to have pulled up more than a few survey stakes and were protesters at the old John Danz movie theater in Bellevue when they was showing a movie abut big game hunting.

    Newport, in the late 60’s-early 70’s, with teachers such as Jim, along with Joel, Lockerbie, Adams, Coy, Lowery, Duffy, Nickleson and others too numerous to name built the foundation at Newport that has led it to being of of the top public high schools in the US for the past 15-20 years.

    But for me, it all started with Jim.

    One day, he asked me to to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. In those days, some would stand and recite, some would just stand, some would sit. I started out, “Ah, one, two, ah, one, two, three, HIT IT!”. Jim almost fell off his chair laughing, and the scene made it into his “Bomb the Dam” screenplay. Friends for life and beyond.

    We got together a few times during my college summers (including some more “Fielder Trips”), and later through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, my family and I rafted the Wenatchee River with him and Zig Zag about a half a dozen times. Each trip was a highlight and just being in Jim’s presence made one feel better.

    In August 1989, Jim, Joel Seidel (another former Newport teacher and Jim’s roommate for a while) and a friend of mine climbed to the top of the south crater rim of Mt. St. Helens. Jim, with his bad feet, made most of the climb wearing his Birkenstocks. A perfect day, with views beyond Mt. Baker to the north and the central Oregon Cascades to the south.

    In the mid 90’s, I stopped by the house on Dravus with enough Huckleberries picked from the flanks of Mt. Adams so his Mom could make them a Huckleberry Pie. He talked about that for a long time.

    I was working in Seattle in early October of this year and stopped by to have him autograph “Slow Death”. I didn’t knock loud enough as he was sleeping, but I left my cell number and we were able to talk later that night. He was very excited about his new “Endangered Species” book and taking on “The Establishment” once again. One of Jim’s favorite quotes came from the late George Carlin: ”…as long as you remain a long-hair in your heart…”.

    I live near Vancouver, WA., and the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. I go there often, birding, thinking of Jim and what he did for me as a student as Newport and beyond.

  66. George Gust says:

    I was a student of Jim’s at Newport High School in the late 60’s-early 70’s. Jim was by far the most inspiring and influential teacher of my entire life. He made learning fun, he taught us how to learn, he taught us to want to learn. He has been with me on a daily basis for over 40 years now. I was so fortunate to have him as a teacher, and as a dear friend. Although time takes us in different directions, and it had been awhile since we’d gotten together, Jim was never far from the daily meanderings of my mind.

    My first recollection of Jim, at Newport, after a summer break, were those long legs striding down the hallway, wearing his white lab coat, long hair flying, and those muttonchops! I remember thinking, “Where did all the long hair come from all of the sudden?” I ended up taking 3 classes with Jim and am so thankful to have been a student of his teachings. He brought to his classrooms in the top local environmentalists of the area (Bob Pyle, whose work I still follow to this day), and others to inspire us. They live with me to this day.

    His famous “Fielder Trips”, field trips that lasted whole weekends! 40 high school students, 3 or 4 teachers, careening around the Northwest. 12-15 car caravans, pulled over to the side of I-5, looking at birds, usually followed by a couple of state troopers wondering what the hell was going on! After explanations from Jim, we’d get a warning instead of a ticket(s). And this happened more than once!

    At Tillamook on the Oregon coast (his first teaching job), there were Black Oystercatchers and Tufted Puffins (Jim once said he wanted to come back as a Tufted Puffin). Dunlins and Turnstones near La Push on the Washington coast. Calliope Hummingbirds in the Wenas Valley near Yakima and Trumpeter Swans at the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge near Spokane. Catbirds and fish-hunting Osprey on the Pend Oreille River in the far Northeast corner of Washington. Bald Eagles (pretty rare then), along what he would later call “The Magic Skagit”. An overnight boat trip to Sucia Island in the North San Juan Islands and the warm saltine crackers (yes Sharon, I remember them too!) at the harbor restaurant upon our return. All fond, dear memories.

    We started a “Bio-Jocks” club at Newport. Kind of an answer to the Lettermen’s Club. Some of the art students came up with a silk screen T-shirts. Jim was recruited by the students, by popular demand , to play in a faculty vs radio-station DJ’s (KJR) basketball game to raise money for the various school clubs. Jim would only play if the Science Dept. got a cut of the proceeds to buy new equipment. The Athletic Dept. was not too keen on it, but eventually relented when student demand became overwhelming. He played great, even with his bad feet, the other team was stunned this “long-hair” was a teacher and the Science Dept. got their money.

    The Bio-Jocks were also known to have pulled up more than a few survey stakes and were protesters at the old John Danz movie theater in Bellevue when they was showing a movie abut big game hunting.

    Newport, in the late 60’s-early 70’s, with teachers such as Jim, along with Joel, Lockerbie, Adams, Coy, Lowery, Duffy, Nickleson and others too numerous to name built the foundation at Newport that has led it to being of of the top public high schools in the US for the past 15-20 years.

    But for me, it all started with Jim.

    One day, he asked me to to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. In those days, some would stand and recite, some would just stand, some would sit. I started out, “Ah, one, two, ah, one, two, three, HIT IT!”. Jim almost fell off his chair laughing, and the scene made it into his “Bomb the Dam” screenplay. Friends for life and beyond.

    We got together a few times during my college summers (including some more “Fielder Trips”), and later through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, my family and I rafted the Wenatchee River with him and Zig Zag about a half a dozen times. Each trip was a highlight and just being in Jim’s presence made one feel better.

    In August 1989, Jim, Joel Seidel (another former Newport teacher and Jim’s roommate for a while) and a friend of mine climbed to the top of the south crater rim of Mt. St. Helens. Jim, with his bad feet, made most of the climb wearing his Birkenstocks. A perfect day, with views beyond Mt. Baker to the north and the central Oregon Cascades to the south.

    In the mid 90’s, I stopped by the house on Dravus with enough Huckleberries picked from the flanks of Mt. Adams so his Mom could make them a Huckleberry Pie. He talked about that for a long time.

    I was working in Seattle in early October of this year and stopped by to have him autograph “Slow Death”. I didn’t knock loud enough as he was sleeping, but I left my cell number and we were able to talk later that night. He was very excited about his new “Endangered Species” book and taking on “The Establishment” once again. One of Jim’s favorite quotes came from the late George Carlin: ”…as long as you remain a long-hair in your heart…”.

    I live near Vancouver, WA., and the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. I go there often, birding, thinking of Jim and what he did for me as a student as Newport and beyond.

  67. Bruce Bulloch says:

    It seems like a thousand years since I was a student at Newport High in the late sixties, but hearing about Jim’s death felt fresh…and very sad. Mr. Fielder got us to see ourselves as more than a bunch of suburban teenagers obsessing over which college we were going to get into. We were, for the first time, players in a larger game passionately debating issues of war, environment and whether that little feathered speck at the far end of a rainy beach was really a Semipalmated Plover. It was adventurous stuff.

    If you knew Jim, he bent your course in life a little bit. I think that’s a respectable legacy.

  68. Bruce Bulloch says:

    It seems like a thousand years since I was a student at Newport High in the late sixties, but hearing about Jim’s death felt fresh…and very sad. Mr. Fielder got us to see ourselves as more than a bunch of suburban teenagers obsessing over which college we were going to get into. We were, for the first time, players in a larger game passionately debating issues of war, environment and whether that little feathered speck at the far end of a rainy beach was really a Semipalmated Plover. It was adventurous stuff.

    If you knew Jim, he bent your course in life a little bit. I think that’s a respectable legacy.

  69. Jeanette Dames says:

    WOW, I am so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Though I have not seen or spoken with him in over 15 years, his legacy has made me much of what I am today and certainly Where I am. Just 3 weeks ago I was searching for him on Facebook. I just felt it would be fun to re-connect and see what he was up to. I met Jim when I joined Zig Zag river runners in 1983. My life was changed forever. He let me give Tom Robbins a free trip on the Wenatchee with 6 of his friends to experience the rapids named after his characters in Another Roadside Attraction. Many of the dearest friends in my life today I have because I met them at Zig Zag and that never would have happened without Jim. Working in the office for and with him, trying to get him out to the river, trying to get him to dance at the annual Boatman’s bash end of season.
    Now I live in McCall Idaho and run river retreats on the Salmon river. I would never have found these skills and this great love of rivers, God and the precious and fragile earth we share with so many others without the leadership of Mr. Fielder. I am often reminded to be grateful for everyone that got us where we are. Thank you Jim for all you did for so many people – you will not be forgotton. I hope you will watch over us now, your birds, your rivers and your planet!

  70. Jeanette Dames says:

    WOW, I am so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Though I have not seen or spoken with him in over 15 years, his legacy has made me much of what I am today and certainly Where I am. Just 3 weeks ago I was searching for him on Facebook. I just felt it would be fun to re-connect and see what he was up to. I met Jim when I joined Zig Zag river runners in 1983. My life was changed forever. He let me give Tom Robbins a free trip on the Wenatchee with 6 of his friends to experience the rapids named after his characters in Another Roadside Attraction. Many of the dearest friends in my life today I have because I met them at Zig Zag and that never would have happened without Jim. Working in the office for and with him, trying to get him out to the river, trying to get him to dance at the annual Boatman’s bash end of season.
    Now I live in McCall Idaho and run river retreats on the Salmon river. I would never have found these skills and this great love of rivers, God and the precious and fragile earth we share with so many others without the leadership of Mr. Fielder. I am often reminded to be grateful for everyone that got us where we are. Thank you Jim for all you did for so many people – you will not be forgotton. I hope you will watch over us now, your birds, your rivers and your planet!

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