Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Frank James, R.I.P.

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 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.


Joseph said...

Very nice tribute.

David H. said...

I must admit to seeing a bit of mixed loyalty here.

Frank James was a man of honor, humbleness, and the land. He was to be admired.

In your most recent podcast you lionize a braggart and a cheat (said as one who bought that man many a breakfast.)

Focus on Truth and people will follow you. Focus on discord or popularity, and your reputation will be tarnished.

We are judged by the company we keep. Frank James elevates you, others diminish you.

Tam said...

I miss Farmer Frank. :(

brionic said...

Ach. Sad news, but fitting words about him.

Laura said...

he and his writing are missed.

Anonymous said...

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Anonymous said...

Class act. RIP sir.


Frank F said...

I am saddened to read your latest post, about the passing of Frank James. I have enjoyed his writing for decades. Still in my mind is a special edition of SWAT Magazine of Sub-machine guns, with Frank James gleefully firing a Tommy Gun!

My condolences to his family.

Allen Forkner said...

My favorite memory was when we introduced the SIG MPX at SHOT and Frank came out to Range Day. I was nervous as I'd ever been. Frank was a friend, but handing the MP5 expert a new subgun was nerve-wracking.

Several magazines and some full-auto fun later, Frank turned around with "That Laugh" and said, "Whoo boy, that's a winner."

I must have not had my best poker face that morning, as he chucked me on the shoulder and asked "What were you afraid of? My opinion?" then more of that laugh.

The SIG Academy instructor who shall remain nameless was like a schoolkid with Frank. He had spent a ton of time in service on the MP5 and to meet the man who literally wrote the book on the gun... It was hilarious to watch this bear of a guy turn into a fan boy around Frank.

After the brief range session, Frank had charmed him into complete comfort as they talked subguns and shared stories.

Truly one of the good people in our industry and he will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Frank was always worth reading.


Bubblehead Les. said...

I remember when he had his Blog up and running. It was always amongst my first stops, and he was always a more than willing to reply to my comments when they were appropriate to the discussion. Amongst the last of the Old Breed. God's Blessings on his Family.

the pawnbroker said...

A gentle, knowledgeable voice in a very ungentle, ignorant world.

All The Best, Sir.

Chaz said...

Back in the founding days of IDPA when I did a little shooting and wrote a bit, Frank was one of the most fun and helpful people around. His humor and intelligence were unmatched. His passing truly is a great loss.

_DonWorsham_ said...

The first book I bought after getting my conceal carry license was Effective Handgun Defense by Frank W. James. The first time I saw him on TV, I liked him immediately.

Jay G. said...

I met Frank in meatspace for the first time at SHOT 2012 Media Day. I was waiting in line at the SlideFire booth to see what all the buzz was about, when I hear this booming voice call out, "Hey, that's Jay G.! I know that guy from the internet..."

I turn to look and it's Frank W. James. I felt like a kid shooting hoops in the Y gymnasium getting called out by Michael Jordan.

Rest in peace, Frank. Hope to see you again someday.

KMitch200 said...

Sad news.
I had hoped he would be able to get back to writing after his medical problems started.

RIP Brother.

captrob said...

Frank's blog spot was always my first read when I turned on the computer. We had a lot in common, farming and guns and family. He was a great writer and will be missed. RIP Farmer Frank.

Anonymous said...

Frank's last blog pages:


Anonymous said...

Truly sad news.
He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

I had heard of Frank W. James from the many magazines that he wrote for and the TV shows that he was featured on. I always just though that he was an OK guy. I never looked deeper to find out anything more about him. Then, he participated on this "blog" and said something that I disagreed with and I wrote so. He took it "standing up". It showed a lot about his character, right then. Unfortunately, now all we have are memories of him. We should all remind each other of the importance of thanking those such as Frank, for everything that they do for us and our "community".

RIP Friend, AND Thanks!

Life Member

Here's a link to one of the Obituaries on Frank:

Eric said...

I miss his farming stories as much, if not more, than his gun stories.

Earl said...

I am not normally found here, but I had a blog and talked a bit about guns and my life, when I rode across the USA to visit my mother, I planned to stop and visit relatives, make three stops for Appleseeds and to visit RWVA range in North Carolina, and if possible meet some of my favorite bloggers. Frank was in North Carolina at the same time I was, but I wasn't really instantly in contact, so when I headed back to the West, he mentioned he was back in Indiana and to meet at the fast food place for breakfast... I was on my motorcycle, and stopped, fell asleep outside in the parking lot area, and he woke me up and had breakfast. Took me to his home, met his wife, stayed there for a couple days, showed me is farms and talked about that and corn rat problems. Showed me his guns - well, not all of them, but there were a ton of lovely firearms. His reloading garage, he was awesome in scope. Took me to church, led me to the famous bloggers lunch where I met others. Too nice, and we needed more like him. His life was great, writing always worth reading and we will miss him.

Home on the Range said...

Frank was the caliber of man my Dad is, steady, smart and willing to give up so much of his time and energy to not just the land, but the people that tend it and protect it. Some of the best times in my life were deer hunting on Frank's farm, having him stop by deer camp to share a story with us, watching him mowing down corn like sentient soldiers from a far field as the harvest of corn mirrored the harvest of deer.

He will be sorely missed.


Old NFO said...

Frank was the salt of the earth. He will be missed. Thoughts and prayers for the family, RIP Frank.

Unknown said...

RIP Frank

Unknown said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I enjoyed Frank's writings and TV appearances. His knowledge and the way he shared it.
He lived about 3 hours away from me and I always just wanted to visit with him.

RIP GGG! (good gun guy)

DamDoc said...

Ive been checking his blog site since it went quiet following his stroke and hearing about his dog bud a year ago or so. Very sad to hear, always enjoyed his slant on things, and hoped he would come back. Fare thee well.

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