I note the passing of my dear friend and colleague at GUN STORIES, Frank James.
He was first and foremost a farmer, a tiller of the land. As a gun writer, he was without peer, knowledgeable, thoughtful, experienced, truly and relentlessly honest.
A long time ago I got a phone call. When I answered, the voice on the other end of the line said, "My name is Frank James, and I am a bean farmer in Indiana. I would like to become a gun writer and I am calling you to ask for your advice..."
I thought that was pretty funny, but I asked for him to send me some of his writing. Much to my surprise, those first writings were really, really good...horrible punctuation, only the vaguest hint of Turabian's English Grammar, but the thought, the cadence, the words, the heart, were there. Over the years Frank became the writer he dreamed of being, a master of the craft.
His life was not an easy one. He stared into the abyss after the tragic death of his daughter, Valerie Victoria. A lesser man would have faltered, but Frank was not a lesser man. He emerged stronger in his life and in his faith, a beacon for his wife Cathy and his son Mike.
When we started GUN STORIES, Frank was one the first to come on board as one of our experts. He was an integral part of our show, his insights and his authoritative knowledge adding so much to the show. At SHOT 2014, after the OUTDOOR CHANNEL Golden Moose Awards where GUN STORIES cleaned up, Frank joined my Sweetie and I for a late dinner. We laughed, joked and told lies until the very wee hours. At the end of the dinner, he leaned across the table said said, "You know we are blessed, don't you? To live the lives we've lived and do the things we've done. This is what it means to be blessed."
He was right, of course. We are blessed...my life was truly blessed by the time I spent with Frank, and all of us were blessed by the words he shared.
Go with God, brother.
We'll miss you.
In memory of Frank, memorials may be made to the Valerie Victoria James “Don’t Quit” 4H Scholarship c/o White County Extension Office (Reynolds, IN) or the Indiana FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar, IN.