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:
- Gavin’s First PRS Match: The Experience
- Gavin’s First PRS Match: The Gear
- TC Compass Hands-On: From Unboxing to 600 Yards
- Ruger Precision Rifle Part 2: 600 yard and 1000 yard Range Day with the 6.5 Guys
- Ruger Precision Rifle Part 3: Range Day 1 Recap and Fireside Chat with the 6.5 Guys
- 9mm Pocket Pistol Shootout: Kel-Tec PF-9 Versus Glock 43
- Ultimate Reloader Moves to the Country
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 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:
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!