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James Detterline

1956 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
James Detterline Obituary
During a family vacation in Kentucky, eight-year-old Jim Detterline told his parents he wanted to try for the Kentucky Junior Naturalist Award. The family would only be at the Natural Bridge State Park for a week and the award was a grueling test on native flora, fauna and geology. By the end of the week, Jim became the youngest person to earn the award as well as the first Pennsylvanian. Determination was a driving force throughout his life and academic career. Jim joined the National Park Service and quickly moved up in the ranks to become the Longs Peak Supervisory Climbing Ranger. He was responsible for some 1,200 rescues during his career. Jim was awarded the Congressional Medal of Valor for a rescue where he pulled two people from the Roaring River just as they were about to go over a waterfall. Jim was a world class mountaineer, locally known as 'Mr. Longs Peak.' He made 428 ascents of the 14,259' mountain, the most in history by a single person. Jim was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1956 to the Rev. Milton E. Detterline and Nancy Day Detterline. His love of the outdoors was nurtured by his father, but he first learned to rock climb as a student at Moravian College in Pennsylvania. Jim received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from Memphis State University where he studied Invertebrate Zoology and Herpetology. Jim was truly a renaissance man. He was a climber, outdoorsman, trumpet player, college professor, herpetologist, writer, speaker, naturalist, an advocate for the hearing impaired, volunteer firefighter, cowboy, a Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies fan, and loving husband. He had the unique ability to touch the lives of everyone he met. Jim passed away as the result of a rock climbing accident. His faithful border collie, Annie, stayed by his side until he was found. Jim went out as he lived his life—on his own terms, doing something that he loved. Jim is survived by his wife Rebecca, dog Annie, cat Kiwi and assorted reptiles. He is also survived by brothers Peter and Jon, sister-in-law Nancy, nephews Scott, Matt and Michael, all of Pennsylvania, and step-sister Krishnabai Lescault of Maine. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents. See www.allnutt.com to send a message to Jim's family.
Published in Estes Park Trail-Gazette on Nov. 2, 2016
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