A Unique American Artist
The first article I ever wrote was on the .44 Magnum; it was published in 1967. Since that time, there have been over 2,000 articles and five books, so in the past 44 years I have come very close to shooting every handgun (especially every .44 sixgun ever offered from the original S&W .44 American, through the other Smiths, Colts, Rugers, etc.), plus a lot of custom .44 sixguns, not to mention all the other chamberings. You might think with having such experience, I would rate being able to shoot all these great handguns as the best part of being a gunwriter. I don’t. Actually, for quite a while, I led two lives — from 1965 to 1995 I was also a public school teacher. In both careers, the number one factor which stood out was not things, but people; all the wonderful people I have met, including hundreds upon hundreds of great teenagers.
When I began writing, it was very frustrating trying to take decent photographs. Everything was black and white in those days, and my pictures were mostly hit-and-miss. I did a freelance article for editor Jan Libourel and he pointed out the problem was not me but the processor. The only answer was to develop my own pictures; that’s where my dear friend and fellow teacher Jim Stoehr entered the picture.
Jim had the room across from me for over 20 years and taught me how to process my own pictures. Even more importantly, he was a great, upbeat guy to be around. Jim was extremely talented as an artist and probably would have become very well known, had he chosen to live in a larger market. Instead he chose to stay in Idaho and enjoy the easily accessible great outdoors. Jim was in his early 50s when he took a fishing trip to Alaska. He didn’t feel well when he left, contracted pneumonia, and did not survive the life flight home. His passing left a big hole.
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