Theodore "Ted" Lawrence James III (Eagle)

Born: Fri., Dec. 13, 1957
Died: Mon., Aug. 28, 2017

Memorial Service

1:00 PM Sun., Sep. 17, 2017
Location: Brush Creek Pavilion

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Theodore Lawrence James III, known to friends and family as “Ted” and “Teddy,” passed away peacefully at his home in Eagle, CO, the evening of August 28, 2017. He was surrounded by loved ones and his beloved mountains.

Ted, born December 13, 1957 in Denver, was the grandson of Theodore Lawrence James I, who built a small empire around Grand Lake and Estes Park: a ski resort, the Trail Ridge Store, the Grand Lake Lodge, and a bus service to cart tourists around to his attractions. By the time Ted III graduated from college, the bus route and ski resort were gone, and his parents, Theodore Lawrence James II (Ted II) and Sue Brownlee James Stuart, were in the process of renovating the Lodge after a devastating fire. Ted took over managing the restaurant for three years, developing and directing a dinner theater experience that recruited singing and dancing talent from colleges nationwide.

Ted was an incredibly gifted athlete, a runner, hiker, and skier. He was freestyle skiing when it was first invented; he loved to tell stories about being at the very first Airborne Eddie’s Freestyle Camp. Ted obtained his B.A. in Anthropology from the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. It was there he met the love of his life, fellow adventurer, and future wife, Elizabeth Hardie (James). They celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary a week before Ted died.

Ted was a lifelong teacher, teaching at the Yosemite Institute for a stretch before settling in to teach, with great passion and originality, science to 7th and 8th graders at East Grand and Eagle County Schools. He obtained his Master’s in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

His love of science and nature drew him into partnering with Walking Mountain Science School and River Watch of Colorado, on whose boards he served for several years. One of his pet projects was working with his son and students to protect Eby Creek, a mountain stream near his home that supports rich and diverse wildlife.

One of those rare individuals who excels at just about everything he turns his hand to, Ted was a talented photographer, and he captured his love of the outdoors in countless gorgeous images. His love of photography fueled his love of travel and vice-versa. He and Elizabeth traveled with their children Will and Kat and nephew Bret to Costa Rica, Scotland, Alaska, Hawaii, the Green River, Canyonlands, and the Rocky Mountains, which he knew intimately. In the last two years of his life, Ted was teaching in Bratislava, Slovakia with Elizabeth at Quality Schools International. While there, they skied, hiked, and biked their way through Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Majorca, the Maldives, Greece, Croatia, and Slovenia.

If one had to choose a single word to describe Ted, that word would be “exuberant.” He loved to laugh and possessed a playful and delightfully silly sense of humor. He had no problem poking fun at himself, once circulating a video he took of himself accidentally falling off a slippery log while crossing a mountain stream. Ted was also deeply spiritual, finding inspiration in Nature and the Native American traditions he learned about as a student.

He loved chocolate, he loved dark beer, he loved Nature, he loved music, taking at least one guitar with him everywhere he traveled. He loved his wife and two children so very, very much. He was a remarkable and beloved man. Even though cancer quenched his life force, his spirit remains unquenchable.

Ted is survived by his wife Elizabeth Hardie James, his children, Will and Lakotah Hardie, and Kat James; his siblings Kathy and John Rinker, Reed and Katie James, Kerri and Mike Geary, Richard Hardie and Celeste White, Kathleen Hardie and Joe Stenger; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Sunday, September 17th, at the Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle, CO.

In lieu of flowers, donations on Ted’s behalf can be made to:

Walking Mountain Science Center, Field Science Programs
Checks can be made to Walking Mountain Science Center
PO Box 9469, Avon, CO 81620
Contact:Terri Scales, 970 306-0286

River Watch of Colorado

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Nan Procknow
   Posted Thu August 31, 2017
Dear Elizabeth, Will and Kat,
Charlie called us earlier this week to let us know that Ted had passed. We are all so sad, will miss his exuberance for life and are feeling for you. We will be in CA, visiting Hillary on Sept 17. Please know that you are in our thoughts and we are truly saddened. All our love, Nan and Chuck

Doug Goldie
   Posted Sat September 02, 2017
I considered Ted, who I called "Theophalus", my best male friend. First meeting while working as Naturalists for Yosemite Institute in 1980/1981, he and Liz lived across the hall from me in the "old hotel" in El Portal. A bond was formed that was both spiritual and brotherly. Ted was always positive, bubbly and full of adventure. I used to lament that there were not enough hours in the day for him, with all his interests and connections with other people. We were both rabid Neil Young fans. He helped me extend this fondness deep into the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as Stephen Stills, Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Brown, not to mention Poco, Hillman/Furay, etc. We used to sit and listen to music. He would gain inspiration for writing his own. My music collection contains perhaps more than 25 CD's and DVD's that he burned for me to keep this connection going. His characteristic printing adorns all of them. I even have a cherished cassette of his first original recording of his own music: "House of Skin". Listening to this scratchy tape just makes me break down. Why did Ted have to leave us so soon? He had so much more to share!

In this journey together, we worked at his family's Grand Lake Lodge together as maintenance workers for the summers of 1981 & 1982. We drove to Colorado and the Grand Lake Lodge in '82 in my old Saab 95 with my dog, Zach, who he loved as his own. Those were memorable and life-changing summers, where Ted instilled in me his love for Colorado and the Rockies. I was an usher in his and Liz' wedding there on the bluff above Grand Lake in '82. I can remember not feeling worthy, as Ted was beloved by so many.

We remained in touch off and on over the years, but as I look back on it, I am filled with guilt as he always did a much better job of communicating than I did.
I last saw Ted the early summer of 2009, and parted with the confidence that when the time presented itself, our paths would cross again. I just took it for granted that Ted would be there, and we would just pick up where we left off, perhaps when we were both retired and could more freely move about.

My grief is buried in that fact that I took this wonderfully loving man for granted. He would say he revered me, but yet, I always felt he left me far behind
with his depth of skill, talent, spiritual enlightenment and ability to just be loved by everyone he met. It is I who reveres Ted. There is a BIG hole in the physical universe that only Ted could fill. He was unique...SO gifted, talented, loving, friendly, intuitive, funny and gregarious.

I will miss him greatly, as I realize that the fact he was out there, even if we weren't in recent contact, he made me feel more complete by knowing he loved me and that he was my friend. I love you Theophalus (The Mad Thistle-Sifter)! I hope I am worthy to try and keep your wonderful light shining through me!

As John Muir so eloquently stated: "Climb the Mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

As Ted taught me, the great Ogala Sioux Holy Man Black Elk stated: "...peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, the oneness, with the universe and its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."

Peace, Ted. Doug Fir loves you! I will be at your memorial service on 9/17 in Eagle.

Chris Kennedy
   Posted Mon September 04, 2017
When I visited Ted earlier in August, he said to me several times, "I have so much to live for; I'm going to beat this." I knew the first part of that statement to be true, and he delivered the second part with such conviction that he had me convinced. Thus it was with disbelief and sadness that I heard of Ted's passing, fewer than a few weeks after our visit.

Ted was a powerful life-force, a man in motion--hiking, biking, rafting, running, skiing, teaching, traveling. He inspired countless young folks to care about rivers and the natural world. From CO to MI to Slovakia, Ted was a positive and dynamic presence in the classroom.

I cherish the memories of his visiting here in WY back in '09 and '11; of running the Denver Marathon with him back in the early 1990s; of hiking with him in Colorado; of the long, intense conversations; of the letters and postcards; of music and libations in the bar of the Grand Lake Lodge; and the precious time we visited a little over three weeks ago featuring walks, talks, and tunes.

My spouse Sue and I have been thinking of and referring to him daily, in admiration of his commitment to living life fully, in gratitude that we knew him, and in disbelief that he has passed on.

To Liz, Kat, Will, Kerri, Reed, and Kathy, we offer our sympathies for the loss of your spouse, father, and brother. Many of us, along with the rivers and forests of our beautiful world, have lost a friend.

May he rest in peace while he lives in our hearts and memories.

With love, Chris Kennedy and Susan Bates

Tom May
   Posted Mon September 04, 2017
Dear Liz and Family,

I mourn the loss of the kind, inquisitive, teacher and doer of dreams that was Ted James.
Though I had not met him in person in recent years, I had kept up on his exploits through his close pal, Chris Kennedy, and always got a bit of a vicarious thrill when I heard what adventure he was currently engaged in!
Ted made a profound impact on the life of myself and my family by engaging me to play music at the Grand Lake Lodge, which I would do for two decades. Though he would turn over management to Reed, I looked forward to seeing him and Liz up at the Lodge each year, where they would put a night aside to come in and listen to a night of my music- where I would often be joined by Chris Kennedy and other fine musicians, all of whom treasured the experience of performing there.
Ted's smile could light up the deepest Rocky Mountain Mine shaft- it had a luminescence
and warmth that let a person know that you mattered to him. It is no surprise he became such a fine teacher, as well as a passionate advocate for the wilderness and
a devoted husband and father.
Ted, thanks for your presence in our lives. This old world is a bit less joyous this week
since you left us.
Tom May

Teak and Cliff Simonton
   Posted Thu September 07, 2017
Dear Elizabeth, Wil and Kat,

We're so sorry and surprised to learn about Ted's battle with cancer and your loss. After Don and June passed away (Cliff's parents) we found this wonderful poem and read it aloud at many of their favorite places in Colorado where we placed some of their ashes. We hope it brings you some comfort as well. Love and Peace. T and C


Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorry.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland

Britt & Teresa Brantley
   Posted Sun September 10, 2017
Ted extended his love and passion for many things to the Bratislava community with robust, genuine enthusiasm. Yet another group of middle school students gained significant skills and appreciation in a wide range of areas because of Ted! Each and every day he lived and worked here with a broad smile, tireless energy and tremendous optimism. He is missed.
Best wishes, Elizabeth. We think of you often.
Britt & Teresa

Gil Caillouet
   Posted Tue September 12, 2017
What a terrific life! A world with no Tedly is a little less hopeful, a bit more tame. For all who knew him, his unique insights and his fabulous sense of humor colored every-day life toward being more interesting and fun. I miss him. Peace and endless love to my friend and his amazing family.

Barb Horn
   Posted Fri September 15, 2017
Indeed the world is not the same with vibrant Ted blessing us with his passion, vision, wisdom, humor, ideas, stories and life essence. I used to say, no one leaves an encounter with Ted not knowing something new or just instilled with life energy. Ted was in service of humanity and our oneness every day of his life.

I had the honor and privilege to work with Ted as a teacher who gave numerous children wonderful experiences in nature and life through River Watch and all the organizations he served. He would come to our workshops to learn and I always felt I was his student and left each encounter a better person. I loved his childlike nature that he never lost as an adult, like so many of us do. He was a life long learner and I love him for that too.

I got to work with Will and see him grow up and shine his gifts into the world through Ted and that too was an honor. I am forever grateful and inspired by what he gave to the River Watch program, to our rivers and all the teachers, students and others he impacted. I am not sure Ted ever absorbed the positive impact he had on our planet and in peoples lives, I hope so, because he did so much in many many small, continuous, steadfast ways.

I know he didn't need River Watch to share his gifts but I am so grateful our paths crossed. I know I am a better person for having played in rivers with Ted and his legacy lives on in my heart and in very kid and adult he worked with.

My heart goes out to his family, who are amazing individuals in their own right. Thank you for sharing a piece of this man with all of us.

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