In Memory of Jim Findlay, One of the Greats

It’s hard losing a friend that you enjoy spending time with, one that brings out the best in you and challenges you to excel. Recently, I lost such a friend: Jim Findlay, A.K.A. “Jim the Plumber”. Jim meant a lot to a many of the people in the Pacific Northwest Shooting scene- he’ll be missed tremendously. The following is a tribute to Jim, and a celebration of his life.

Jim Findlay: A Regular on Ultimate Reloader

Jim was my shooting buddy, and has appeared in quite a few stories here on Ulitmate Reloader. Here are some of them:

Jim’s Legacy

Over Jim’s 40+ years of shooting he impacted a lot of people in a very positive way. He liked to shoot high-end gear (like custom-built rifles topped with Nightforce optics) but was a practical field shooter. Jim was all about business when he was shooting- you had to observe gun safety rules, or Jim would let you know in no uncertain terms what you “needed to do”. Jim taught countless people everything from pistol shooting to rifle shooting, to competitive shooting sports skills. Perhaps his biggest passion in the shooting sports world was long-range precision rifle. Jim loved to shoot at 600, 800, 1000 yards and beyond. He was very skilled at reading the wind, and was partial to the 6.5 x 47mm Lapua cartridge.

Jim (center) with shooting mates Eric Blais (left) and Alan Harper (right)

Jim started what would become the longest-running precision rifle match in the Pacific Northwest: the Findlay Cup. This tradition will continue in Jim’s honor. Jim also served as the President of the North Central Washington Gun Club, a facility and community that he helped build and foster.

Hunting was another of Jim’s passions: and he took quite a variety of game and was drawn to long-range rifle hunting. He loved to hunt deer on his 66 acre property in Central Washington, a place I liked to spend time with him.

Jim was also an active behind-the-scenes kind of guy and advocate for the sport. He frequently met with State Representatives and local law enforcement to help promote the sport and his gun club. Jim stood up for what he believed for, and encouraged others to do so as well. I look up to Jim when it comes to this kind of advocacy- someone needs to step into the large shoes he left behind.

Jim was an NRA-certified instructor, and took great pleasure in teaching people how to succeed in a variety of shooting sports. Jim loved to introduce people to things, and was a patient hands-on teacher. Here’s a picture from years back- Jim shooting with and mentoring a family friend Seth Rumsey:

Seth (11 years old, far) gets ready to shoot the 338 Lapua while Jim (near) spots with his scope
Seth (11 years old, far) gets ready to shoot the 338 Lapua while Jim (near) spots with his scope

Family and Friends

Jim was a part of a large family (more information in his obituary here). He liked to spend time with his brothers and sister, and always had a good gag or laugh to share. His daughter Shayla was very important to him, someone that he loved dearly. Jim would drop anything to help out Shayla, or take her shooting and hunting. Anyone who hung out with Jim very long would end up with at least one “Jim story” – the experiences with him were always memorable.

We’ll Miss Jim

Jim’s passing has left a huge void in my life- one that can’t be replaced, but his friendship and the good times we had together will live on in memory for the rest of my life. I know Jim touched a lot of people- he was a great guy and I’m proud to have been his friend. If you have a memory of Jim, please leave a comment!


7 thoughts on “In Memory of Jim Findlay, One of the Greats”

  1. Oh, Gavin, Dear, Dear Gavin!! What an incredibly perfect tribute to our brother James! Your choice of the best photographs/video clips and words to express your eloquent memorial make this absolutely precious for us Findlays. The bagpipes playing, “Amazing Grace,” was the crowning touch, believe me. He spoke of you with the deepest respect and enjoyed working with you. Thank you so very much for taking time to produce this fitting homage. Martha Bacile Findlay, The Sister!

    1. Martha- thank you, it was the least I could do for my dear friend Jim. He spoke of you highly, and looked forward to the possibility of you moving to the area. I’m looking forward to meeting you next time you’re in town!

  2. Awesome Tribute… I hung out with Jim in the eighties when we were maintenance men at the North Cascades Lodge in Stehekin… I cant talk about a lot of what we got up to because I’d prob incriminate ourselves as well as his brother Ed… ( the rattlesnake episode…the mercury engine on that boat and the escape on the motorcycle) we were basically just kids.. formative years… … when I left Stehekin to Arizona he sent me a stick of dynamite… sorta like Wile E Coyote.. I kid not… which I ended up using to blow up a rock formation out in the desert.

    1. Ha! That’s awesome. Just recently Jim told me the story about the boat motor, and how it ended up at the bottom of the lake (next to the dock?) Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun up there. That’s where Jim met Stephanie as well?

  3. Was on a crazy business trip in Vegas when this page launched, so I didn’t get to really watch and digest this til today. Great job G! I got to hang with Jim for a weekend last summer, everything said in the video is what we all experienced, … even for just 3 days together. Great guy, RIP!

  4. Dear Gavin,
    I want to thank you for your tribute video and special thoughts about Jim. He was and always will remain a huge influence on the people who were lucky enough to know him.

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