Aug 4, 2011, 2:36 PM
Post #1 of 16
I recieved this email this morning.
For those of you that have not heard Jim Fee died on Tues 2 Aug. 2011. He had been a patient at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital Houston Texas since Nov. 2010 and was moved to Park Plaza Hospital couple of wks ago and was in ICU the last 10 days or so.
Born in Hope Arkansas. Enlisted in US Army in early 1960's and after a tour in Germany served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. Held CFI ratings in both fixed wing airplanes and gliders. A man of many talents, worked as a big rig truck driver and jump pilot on week ends while getting his airplane ratings and a degree in Criminal Justice at night school then continued to work many years on week ends flying jumpers at both Elsinore and Perris, was a Probation Officer in San Diego, real estate and aircraft salesman, corporate pilot flying jets around USA and to Europe, I think if you put wings on a chair Jim could fly it. I don’t think there are many airplanes that he hasn’t rolled including DC-3’s; there are pictures to prove it. He was on the Worlds First 16 Way made at Elsinore Ca., and has been on several POPs and SOS World Records over the years. He fought till the last gasp which is what we all would have expected of his character. He will be missed.
I am so sad to hear this. Jim and I were great friends in Elsinore's "good old days". Jim is scr96; I'm scr97 -- we qualified on the same jump and went on to make many high quality skydives at Elsinore and elsewhere.
As Ed Miller said, he was a natural at whatever he tried. He told the story many times, and it was true, of his first jump. He hung out at the Elsinore for a few weeks watching and listening, then bought a rig offsite, and showed up on the day he chose, walked up the the manifest and said "Give me a ticket to 7-5" He then proceeded to make a perfectly stable 30 sec delay ... the rest is history.
He was the ASO at Perris in 79 and grounded me because the bridle on my (first) rig was only 8 feet and (deemed) too short. I relayed the story to him many years later and we both laughed.
His twin brother lives on as Pilot Examiner Sweed Gamble, out of Ramona. If you ever run into him say.. "Hey Jim Fee, how ya doing?". He'll give you a perplexed look and say "damn, why do people keep calling me Jim Fee, who is that guy anyway?".
Hi Spark, Jim Fee gone!! 'Gettin to the point where I'm 'fraid to open DZ.com forum only to see another good buds' name on the memorial roster!! Known jim since the dust blown daze at old Elsinore!! He was a Good friend. Back around '85 he organized a 20 year 20 way with a bunch of us old farts that 'been jumpin' 'least 20 yr' or so!! The photo is "20 year 20 way" in the Air Trash Photo Gallery. 'See if'n ya' can pick out who else is "Still Around!!" Am tryn' to add the photo, hope it works. Note that's Garth "Tag" Taggareth behind Jim 's right shoulder. Jim drug him out of the woodwork to make this dive!!! That's Jery Meyers behind John Desantos' head!! ...."Who said Head??!!!!".....
(This post was edited by skybill on Aug 4, 2011, 7:54 PM)
Hi Spark, Photo mug lineup?? Back row ?, Don Vreedenberg, "ME!!!", ?, Mongo, Bear, "Tag", Jerry Meyers (head obstructed by Desantos), Ray Cottingham and Gary Young. 2nd row; Guy with stash??, Don Balsch, "Jim Fee!!", John Desantos, Bill Davis. 3rd row kneeling; Larry Perkins (in his classic Pioneer double zipper jump suit!!), Tony Dell, Scott Giles, ??Forget his name, he was a 3 didget "D" that went in!!, Last are 2 Latins I think the last one in the blue suit is Alex. That's the line up as I remember?? hahahaha!! anyone else, fill in please. 'Gonna miss Jim, didn't even know he was sick. That "STAR!!" up there just got one more entry. 'Think he's docking between Douris and Kevin 'bout now if he hasn't already!!!!
I'm very sad to hear of Jim's passing. He was running a body shop training school downtown SD circa 1984 when I came in for a quote, and saw my USPA decal on my car and our friendship started there. When I ran into him at Perris in May 2005, I mentioned that I was interested in started flying lessons. Right there, he made a lunch appointment for the next day at Montgomery Field in San Diego, walked me around to three different schools asking questions on my behalf, took me to the pilots shop and essentially ensured that I was on the right path. 6 years later, I'm a commercial instrument pilot with my own plane who flies almost every day, and I have to thank Jim, over and over, for helping me to fulfill my dreams. Thank you Sir! Blue skies Jim.
(This post was edited by duffy on Aug 22, 2011, 10:22 AM)