Outside Business Journal

In memoriam: Jim Ramey

The industry lost a colleague and a friend last week


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We’re saddened to announce the passing of a dear friend and colleague last week: Jim Ramey, a longtime independent sales rep and the owner of Adventure Sales in Kent, Washington.

Jim held many jobs in the outdoor industry over the course of his long career, from assistant store manager at REI in the early 90s to general manager at Marmot from 1997 to 2005. Jim founded Adventure Sales in 2005 and ran it with his wife, Karyn, for nearly 16 years, representing brands in the paddlesports and ski industries with deep passion, a buoyant sense of humor, and unwavering enthusiasm for the outdoor community.

Jim is survived by his wife, Karyn, and his daughter, Lauryn.

Remembrances from friends

“They don’t make reps like Jim anymore,” says Lili Colby, a business development rep at Mustang Survival and an old friend of Jim’s family. “He was larger than life. He had a swagger about him that screamed ‘outdoor guy.’ He had the gift of gab and knew how to tell a great story. He was generous, loved to laugh, and he was definitely a straight shooter. That’s what people cherished so much about him. He was always going to tell you what he thought.”

In a Facebook post Coby shared last week, she writes, “Everyone could tell that Karyn Ramey was your soul mate and the love of your life. That is, of course, until the two of you brought a little baby girl into this world. Then there was a second love of your life. The bond between you and your daughter was beautiful to watch grow over the years. From the deluxe tree house you built together in the back yard, to the father-daughter Grand Canyon trip you shared just this summer. Jim Ramey was the kind of man that had room in his heart for much love. Love of his family. Love of his home in Kent among the tall pines. Love of his work, his customers. His barn of vintage canoes. His friends.”

Jim was dedicated to four things, Coby goes on to say: his work, his customers, his friends, and his family. He didn’t need much beyond that.

“He was such a strong family man,” she says. “He and Karyn were a fantastic duo, and they brought so much creativity and love into their home.”

Jim is survived by his wife, Karyn, and his daughter, Lauryn.

Mike Fitzgerald, another friend and longtime colleague, wrote in a letter to members of the Western Winter Sports Representatives Association this week, “We have been blessed to have had Jim as a part of our industry for many years. His passing is without a doubt an enormous loss for the brands and retailers who relied on Jim‘s expertise and straight talk on any subject. Jim’s word was his bond, and for anyone who knew him, we know his follow-through was impressive. Jim was a great listener and really tried to understand situations from his customers’ perspective as well as the from the vendor side. He successfully bridged that gap and brought many great products in the Nordic ski and paddle categories to market in the Northwest territories. Jim’s grizzly bear hugs, warm smile through his beard, and huge heart for his friends will be forever missed.”

Todd Frank, owner of The Trail Head in Missoula, Montana, says Jim was one of the first reps he worked with when he bought the business in 2000.

“He was one of those classic outdoor guys that everybody knew and nobody disliked. He was always so honest with us and he worked incredibly hard for the companies he repped.”

Frank says he likes to tell a story about Jim that happened one spring when Jim was leading a paddling clinic in Frank’s store.

“Our shop in Missoula is about 100 yards from the Clark Fork River, and people sometimes get into trouble at various spots in the springtime when the current is rushing,” Frank says. “One spring day, Jim was at the store doing a clinic and someone came running over to the store saying there was a person in a boat pinned to the bridge pier nearby. Jim didn’t miss a beat. ‘Let’s go get him!’ he said. He grabbed a boat and paddled out and unpinned the guy—got him to a place where the search and rescue team could grab him. That’s my favorite memory of Jim. He was one of a kind. He’s going to be very, very missed.”

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