Posted by: njrigg | February 24, 2010

Remembering Jim Segerstrom

In Memoriam

Jim Segerstrom remembered


By Nancy J. Rigg

Thinking about swiftwater rescue guru, Jim Segerstrom, who died so suddenly in February 2007.

It’s hard to believe Jim’s been gone for three years now.  But his vision and legacy live on.  And he is fondly remembered at this time of year… and much missed.

Several people have asked about the wake at the home of Barry Edwards, following Jim’s memorial service.  It was memorable – infused with as much laughter and as many great war stories as any gathering where Jim was the host.

A few photos were taken and in looking back, it was like a clan gathering of key leaders in the field of swiftwater rescue and mountain SAR.

Jim Segerstrom's wake

Clan gathering for swiftwater and mountain rescue

I wish I’d had a tape recorder at the wake.  There were so many awesome stories shared, including Jay Horton’s vision of Jim teaching swiftwater rescue in Heaven.

I can’t identify everyone in these photos, but Casey Ping was there, and Bobby Green, Steve Miller, Jim Lavalley from Canada, Tim Kovacs, Gary Cross and Jez Hunter, from across the pond, Ken Larsen, Arnie Brockmire, Matthew Mauzy, TimJim's wake 2007 Rogers, and Jay Horton, to name a few.

I thought Norm Rooker and Mike Croslin were in there somewhere, but I can’t find them.  And there are one or two faces I look at and go, “I know that guy!”  But I can’t come up with all your names… sorry!

I don’t know all the ladies who were at the wake, either.  I’m the one wearing red.  Help me out here, if you can identify someone I’ve missed, or if I need to correct a name spelling.

Slim Ray should have been there, but travel was difficult for him and Emily King and Paul McMinn, founders of the Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue.  Jim and Barry were the first recipients of the H&L Lifetime Achievement Award.

Clan gathering, swiftwater and mountain rescue

Remembering Jim Segerstrom

I hope there are younger leaders coming along, because this group represents so many swiftwater rescue pioneers and trail blazers, many of whom are now retired, or soon will be.

There was so much talent, knowledge and expertise in the room that night!  I truly hope the seeds have been well planted throughout the swiftwater and SAR community so that this vital technical rescue discipline continues to evolve and thrive.

Lives depend on it…

I’m not sure who took these photos and shared them with me.  Sorry about the lack of proper photo credit.

To Jim’s family, especially Shiree and Christian, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Miss you Big Bwana!

Jim in his element

Photo by Matthew Mauzy 2007



  1. I am very sad to hear about his death. I took his Rescue 3 Instructor classes in Japan several years ago. We really enjoyed his classes and we all wanted to be like him. I remember when we visited Sonora, CA for the Aquatic Helicopter Rescue training with my team members (I was in WA as a college student and I met team from Japan in CA) him and his wife welcomed us to their home for a dinner. It is very unforgettable.
    Jim and his family are in our thoughts and prayer.

  2. I was taken aback to hear Jim passed. I did my SRT 2 with Jim and two years later my tech one instructors in 96. I found Jim to be open to anything new that could be used. I am sure he had a lot more to give and his passing has left a huge hole in the rescue community worldwide. Go hard Jim, I am sure you are in a happy place.
    Chris Yabsley

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