Jim Hovis passed away on January 4th, 2022. Jim was one of the founding members of the Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association and Venture Crew 407. His impact at Fire Mountain, the Mount Baker Council, and Evergreen Area Council was widespread and impactful for many decades of service to the youth in our communities. Jim served as Council Camping Director, Fire Mountain Camp Director (1997-2010) & Program Director (1995-1996) where he was most known for the impact that he had developing programs, recruiting, nurturing, training, and encouraging the summer camp staff.
He was the Cubmaster of Pack 59, Scoutmaster of Troop 49, District Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, Roundtable Chairman, a member of the Fire Mtn. Maintenance Committee, Properties Committee, Outdoor Program Committee, and started many of the programs you see running at camp today.
Jim was the recipient of the Silver Beaver, District Award of Merit, Hornaday Award, James E West Fellow, Commissioners Arrowhead, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Commissioners Key, Vigil Honor, Founders Award, and Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a retired small business owner, US Navy submariner, former Brier City Council Member, a former leader in Job's Daughters, a father to Kami and Kaden and husband of Kathleen Hovis. The impact of a life well-lived will be felt in our communities for many generations.
In memory of Jim's lasting impact the Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association is raising $10,000 in his name towards the naming rights of the new camp US flag pole and the purchase of a sailboat for Fire Mountain. If you would like to contribute in his memory you may donate online:
Or make checks payable to Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association and mail contributions to:
Jim Hovis Memorial
c/o Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association
22922 13th Pl W
Bothell, WA 98021
Contributions to both the Boy Scouts of America and the Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association may be tax deductible as both organizations are 501(c)(3) non-profits. Consult with your tax advisor on your specific situation.
Through Jim's dedicated service to scouting he played a significant role in the development of countless youth and young adults. Below are just a few of the personal stories of how Jim touched their lives.
If you would like to share a story or memory of Jim you can send them to email@example.com
For the last 30 years Jim Hovis had a profound impact on my life. A friend, a mentor, a director, a leader, a good example, a bad example, a confidant, a counselor, a servant, a brother, and a fellow Scout. Together we spent 8 summers leading Fire Mountain Scout Reservation and Fire Mountain Scout Camp together. We talked together nearly every day during those years and as I learned and grew he encouraged me, supported me financially, pushed me to be my best self, and we encouraged each other to learn, grow, and build an amazing camp program together. We lived through great times and terrible times together, we celebrated great successes and mourned deep and profound losses together. I would never be the person I am today without the great influence of Jim Hovis in my life. As I spoke on the phone to dozens of camp staff alumni tonight one thing was clear to me: our world was a better place because of the influence he had in our lives. "Let no one say and say it to your shame, that all was beauty here before you came."
To say you’ve had a profound impact on my life is an understatement. Simply put, I wouldn’t be involved in Scouting at the level I am - or have ever been as an adult - without you and your support.
The care, respect, and trust you placed in me as an 18 year old “adult” was beyond remarkable. I saw you provide similar love to many others - many whom I call family today.
You saw something in me that I couldn’t and still I can’t.
We had a great conversation a few months ago and my thoughts and comments remain the same and will forever. Thank you, Jim.
You are missed and will forever be.
Thank you for being a mentor. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you.
Last night I found out about the passing of a great friend, mentor, and scouter. Jim Hovis was a staffer when I was first a camper at Fire Mountain Scout Camp and was later the Camp Director for 14-years including the 6-years I was on staff. Since his passing I have read so many stories from others that echo my experience. He saw in you things you didn’t see in yourself. He believed in you and provided opportunities for you to grow, succeed, and support you when you failed. Although I didn’t think it would be the last time I would get to be with him I’m happy to have had the opportunity to spend some time with him along with my old camp staff friends last summer.
As I have grown in scouting and as a father I have often thought back to the lessons I learned from Jim and hope I can make even a small fraction of the impact he has had on the lives of countless youth and young adults.
The poem The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole is one that he often read at the closing campfire which embodies his life perfectly:
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
Thank you Jim! Fair winds and following seas.
Farewell Jim Hovis, today I lost a friend, a mentor and our wedding officiant.
So many of the opportunities I have had in the scouting program came about because you trusted this young knucklehead when many did not. You gave me the extra push and inspiration I needed to move forward with found forward with my own business way back when.
You were an amazing person and my life is so incredibly better for having your friendship and guidance.
I have known Jim for a long time. We first met when he was a Cubmaster and when the Earth was still cooling, we went through basic training together. This page is the Fire Mountain Family Reunion page and, although as a whole those words are important, the key word is family.
Jim and I got to share time together many times at Fire Mountain at many different times of the year. Sometimes we would walk camp, others in the gator, or times in one of the camp buildings. He would talk about you, your lives and later your families. He was the proud parent, grandparent or uncle and cherished following you and your life accomplishments. You are and will always be Family.
Know that the well-deserved outpouring of love I am seeing from you for Jim tonight, he shared the same for you.
I have been working on the 50th anniversary for Fire Mountain and tonight we took a gut punch in that upcoming celebration, I know Jim will be there to celebrate in spirit and through all of you.
I look forward to seeing any of you at camp and sharing stories and remembrances of Jim with you. No one had a greater love for that camp than Jim.
Jim, I love you my brother and am blessed to have had you been a part of my life. (I still can’t, and never will, be able to picture you roaming the hallways of a submarine)
I often think of Big Jim Hovis anytime I hear taps being played slowly on a bugle. Watching Jim listen to this being played at the Friday night campfire was like watching a man in his favorite church. To Jim, Fire Mountain was his church.
He was a huge influence on me especially as a young adult at FM. He trusted me to make real adult decisions that affected others. It really meant a lot to me that he put so much faith in me as his program director.
If you knew Jim, you knew he had a temper. I grew especially fond of Jim after I watched him violently cuss out a rouge scout leader who accosted me one afternoon at the swim beach after I didn’t award the swimming merit badge to a camper who hadn’t completed all the requirements. As Jim often said in terms of earning advancement, “No more, no less.” He loved his staff and defended us like family.
Here’s to you, Big Jim. “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is unacceptable.”
Smooth seas ahead…
"Are you willing to get on stage and make a fool of yourself, for campers enjoyment?" That was the first question I was asked in my camp interview with Jim. He somehow knew exactly how to get through to each individual. From throwing cake to make a point, to trinkets and ceremonies.
Jim brought out the best in you, even beyond what you thought you could.
I will forever miss tea time with Jim Hovis. With his partner in crime Mike Mancer they would infiltrate my kitchen and set up tea time to watch the heathen sport of canoe swamping. Part of that infiltrate was to be the kind old commissioner inviting the new cook to be a part of their teatime. We started out with cucumber sandwiches and tea then soon escalated to full meals replacing the upcoming dinner. I may have contributed to that. What I will miss more then anything was Jim's absolute passion for Scouting and for anyone that has been at camp you can thank Jim for the many many improvements this camp has made. This is a sad time for all of us who knew Jim but we should remember that he would want us to focus our energy on making Fire Mountain the greatest camp ever.If anything this should be a wake up call for reaching out to our friends and staff members in scouting, as I said last year we should all reach out to our scouting family before it is too late. I will regret not following my own advice for I always intended to call/visit Jim but never did. We have lost a great man in Scouting and I am proud to be a part of his scouting life. My greatest memory will always be drinking coffee (Thanks Don for the reminder) with Jim on the back deck. My favorite time was in early morning before camp woke up and I would sit out on back deck of the kitchen watching the mist on the lake and sunrise in its glory and Jim and I would sit in silence and enjoy the view drinking coffee I know there a quite a few of you who are surprised Jim was so quiet but this was a side of him I felt privileged he shared with me, I hope this summer I can sit on the back deck of the Brotherhood Lodge and watch the mist and sunrise and I will raise a cup of coffee to my friend Jim you will be missed.
I first met Jim at leave no trace Certification training. He for Mt Baker and I for Chief Seattle. He invited me to help start the visiting commissioners at Fire Mt. I told him my heart pumped Parson's Blue but he made an offer I could not refuse. I was the Golf Merit badge counselor for the entire time Jim was camp director. I know He enjoyed the chaos that Doug and I would bring to camp, was enjoyed by the staff and kept him on his toes. I know I was the only member on staff for the 13 years I was with Jim that was a member of the order of the silver marmet. I enjoyed my years at camp and always was proud to have the green staff jacket.