James Harrell Kanzler passed away outside his home near Wilson, Wyo., on April 18, 2011. He was born April 22, 1948, in Spokane, Wash., to Harrell "Hal" and Jean Kanzler.
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Jim grew up in Columbia Falls until 1965 when the family moved to Butte, where he graduated from high school. Jean, Jim and his younger brother, Jerry moved to Bozeman following his father's death in 1967.
Jim attended Montana State University for two years. He was self-educated and versed in multiple subjects.
Jim joined Bridger Ski Patrol in 1968. He was Big Sky Ski Resort's first director of the ski patrol from 1972 to 1978. He was a Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrolman from 1978 to 1986. He transitioned into avalanche forecasting using field data and computers from 1986 to 1997. He worked for the resort's information technology department in 1999 until the time of his passing.
Jim Kanzler was a well-known climber, beginning with his father and brother in their grade school years in Columbia Falls. Jim's influence was widespread in Montana and Wyoming, making difficult and first ascents in Glacier Park, the Beartooth Mountains and Canadian Rockies. He made expeditions to Alaska and China.
Jim was a mountain guide with Exum in the Tetons from 1977 to 1999. He guided the north face of the Grand.
Jim was preceded in death by Hal in 1967 and Jerry in 1969.
He is survived by his mother, Jean of Manhattan; his son, Jamie (Jennifer) of Park City, Utah; and two grandchildren, James Dylan, 7, and Jacqueline, 2.
Jim Kanzler touched the lives of people everywhere he went. His wry sense of humor was seasoned with a dash of sarcasm. He was loved and made a difference to everyone around him.
His wit and wisdom and the sound of his boots approaching will be deeply missed by the many people who knew him.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 22, 2011