Humble Humor: A Remembrance of Jim Posewitz
Honoring a lifetime of advocacy defending Montana’s wild places, wild rivers, and wildlife
Being humble and having a sense of humor are two qualities that go a long way in this world.
Both qualities open the door to greater conversations and opportunities. Both qualities bring people together in a way that promotes openness and honesty. I believe Jim, or “Poz” as he was nicknamed, instinctually used these two qualities throughout his career and life to get his point across. I believe those qualities, combined with his dedication to the preservation of wildlife, free-flowing rivers, and wilderness, are what made him a respected and effective leader in conservation.
Poz passed away on July 3, leaving behind a legacy that we should all strive to live up to.
I came to know Poz later in his life when I got involved with the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame (MOHF). Poz was a visionary and loved to tell a good story, especially about people, places, and Montana conservation efforts. Poz, who long defended wild rivers in his role as a biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, was asked to be the banquet speaker for the Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2012. After returning home, he decided Montana needed a similar organization to share Montana’s conservation stories and honor individuals who have made lasting contributions to the protection of Montana’s wildlife and wild places. In 2013, his drive and passion brought conservation nonprofits (including MWA), foundations, and state agencies together for the purpose of capturing the stories of, and educating the public about, conservation efforts throughout Montana’s recent history.
Now, the MOHF is it’s own 501c3 nonprofit organization, a move made to ensure Jim’s effort remains sustainable and further advances its mission of public awareness and education of Montana’s conservation stories.
At a recent MOHF board meeting we each took time to share our fondest memories of Jim. A number of individuals shared how honored they were to be called upon by Jim and his partner Gayle for a visit in the past couple of months. Right up until the end, Jim was sharing conservation stories in good humor and passing along boxes and boxes of historical documents and files for others to carry forward.
Serving on the MOHF board with Poz over the past seven years has been a pleasure. His constant joking and storytelling would sometimes derail an agenda but would always leave the group with greater perspectives and a sense of purpose for the work. At one particular meeting, we were discussing our longer-term commitments to participate in the Hall of Fame and when it was Poz’s turn to weigh in he said: “I’d love to stick around and help, but I guess I’ll need to talk to my taxidermist.” At that moment I had the distinct image in my mind of Poz watching over us in perpetuity.
His joke made me laugh out loud at the time, but now I will forevermore cherish his stories and envision him watching over our collective conservation work. I will also remember to always be humble and find humor wherever I can.
In honor of Poz, I will take time to remember and appreciate those who have dedicated their life’s work to ensuring a Montana full of wild places, wild rivers, and wildlife.
Laura is responsible for managing human resources and business operations for the organization. As a native Montanan, she enjoys exploring our great state with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.