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Mead Hargis

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Mead Hargis 1948 ~ 2008 John "Mead" Hargis, superb climber, dad, and heroic heart, left this world June 18, 2008.Born Nov. 2, 1948 in Yakima, Washington to John Hargis and Ann Mead Hargis, Mead enjoyed growing up with his younger sisters where he played and worked in the family orchard. By his teen years, he was becoming an avid skier and mountaineer and started working as a summer mountain guide. In the late '60s, he was lured to the challenging Big Walls of Yosemite where he established a number of first ascents. His passion for climbing led to his work as a rescue ranger. After graduating from UC-Berkeley, he returned to Yosemite and served as a backcountry ranger, paramedic and law enforcement officer. He was a solid, safe climber and skier and a patient teacher to friends and colleagues. He was known as the cop who was so helpful that some speeders, told that their behavior endangered the park's wildlife, even thanked him for the tickets he wrote. Over the decades, he participated in hundreds of rescues. Many are the hikers and climbers who were grateful to see him ski out of a whiteout or rappel down a cliff to their aid. He loved to sew and was known for his innovative designs for back-packing gear and paramedic bags. Wildflowers and botany were also among his many self-developed areas of expertise. Later, when he had the choice to climb Mt. Everest or start a family, he and his wife Christina Devin chose to have a family and had two wonderful daughters, Heather (1985) and Laurel (1987). Once the girls were born, they were his compass and provided the heart and soul of his life. Before pursuing graduate education at Utah State University, Mead worked for the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining, California. From 1992 to 2005, he was a wilderness manager for the US Forest Service in Kamas, UT where he was known for his practical jokes, integrity, and collaborative work. Mead is survived by his daughters Heather Beitler (Paul) and Laurel Hargis of Arizona; sisters Helen Hargis and Mary Jean Taylor (Neil) of Washington; partner Connie Bullis of Utah; niece and nephews; and his precious grandchildren Chase, Joe, Aubrey, and the baby on the way. His parents and beloved nephew Scott preceded Mead in death. As much as he hated to leave his work, creative projects, skiing and climbing, friends, coke and chocolate chip cookies, he was especially sorry to leave his children and grandchildren. Even as illness took him from us, it was clear that, in his increasingly private world, he still helped his friends with building projects or skied the endless powder chutes, his generosity and joy in physical challenge undimmed by his confinement. Tho' much is taken, much abides: and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Tennyson, Ulysses A service will be held at a later date at Yosemite. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Yosemite Assoc., P.O. Box 230, El Portal, CA 95318 (209-379-2646) are encouraged.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune on June 22, 2008
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