One of my favorite lines from C. S. Forester's "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower" is a tribute Horatio gives a Captain he admires. "To be half the man," he says, "would see my life fulfilled." These are my feelings about Jed Stringham.
When I was a boy working at Camp Bartlett, Jed was the Director of Camping for the Lake Bonneville Council. It was common knowledge that Jed could do anything. He fixed plumbing, sawing and sautering as he went, milled planks 20 feet long with a chain saw and moved whole KYBO's over the holes we dug and built buildings from scratch out in the woods. He was the archtype of a professional Boy Scout in my mind. It was Jed, who, with the support Tom Bird, suggested I become a professional Boy Scout. For the next five years I worked with Jed everyday. It was Jed that brought me to Camp Loll in 1977, as Craig Edwards Assistant Camp Director, and the next year it was Jed that made me the Director of Camp Loll. In the many years that followed he supported everything we did at Loll. In the Spring, he led the way, busting through the snow banks. Jed put the pipe in the spring and hooked up the showers. He would start up those frightful propane refrigerators, and get the lights on.
I was late in coming into Jed's service to Loll. Jed was here from the first. He brought the cabins from Grassy Lake; numbering the logs and reassembling them on foundations he laid. One year, when the snow stayed late, I remember following his big propane driven station wagon as it pulled his camp trailer over Teton pass. He had us set up camp in the Snake River Canyon; we cooked our meals over a campfire and the next day we dug our way in from the Flagg Ranch side. I have always followed Jed. He taught me everything that makes running a camp possible. He was my example of leadership through service. Jed always worked harder than anyone else. We all ran to keep up. Jed was unique in that he could take off one of his ears. That first year at Loll, the Star Wars movie came out, and soon we were calling our selves "Jed Ear Warriors". Many of us follow that force to this day.
Seemingly everywhere Jed went, he brought his wonderful wife Charlotte. It was Charlotte that taught us the camp songs we still sing. I remember so fondly our crew crowded into the old dining hall while Charlotte played her accordion and led the singing with a nod of her head.
To my children Jed, was and remains - Grandpa Jed. My sons remember the kindnesses and strength.
We live now in the beautiful Barlow-Wadman Lodge. It is a treasure, a generous gift of its namesakes and other patrons and of the hard work of our present Director of Camping, Bill Wangsgard. However, it seems fitting that the heart of that lodge, as in so many ways the heart of Camp Loll, should bear the name of its great founding and building force. So we call it the Jed Stringham Memorial Hall.
This past week Fred and Ann Hansen brought us some beautiful cut steel art to celebrate Camp Loll and to commemorate the memory of Jed Stringham. They were made by Leigh Huggins of Gordo Sales, and provided by the generosity of the Hansens (by the way, Fred is Jed's nephew) and Bob Stringham, Jed's son, and the former Council President of Trapper Trails Council who saw this Lodge erected. We thank them for their gift and we thank them for the chance to pay tribute to a great man, a hero of all who love Camp Loll, Jed Stringham.
If any who read here at the Agora have stories or information to share about Jed, please post it here.
9 months ago