Much has already been said to eulogize local resident James Wilson whose death saddened and shocked the community last week . All of us here at Range & River Books want to express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be so, so missed.
I also have a personal note of appreciation in memoriam. James was a frequent customer, sometimes finding a new old birding book, sometimes just looking over the stock, and sometimes clearing his own shelves. I saved up questions to ask him when he came in, like the benefits of being open Sunday, and he fielded them with honesty, patience and genuine interest. As we considered moving the store, his insights were invaluable and his support for making the move certainly helped inspire the difficult decision. We spent a lot of time discussing what it is that keeps a book store viable in this age of fading interest, and what a new name should be since East Side would conflict with guess which store on Main Street. Of course, since we were relocating to the building he had occupied in earlier years, he also had both humorous and practical advice on dealing with this old building!
I appreciated his and his wife Kay’s commitment to voting with their dollars, including support for local food at the Jr. Livestock Auction and my offspring’s grass fed beef business, as well as supporting the bookstore. I enjoyed too his glow of pride talking about his own daughter, and then grandchild. He followed his passions, loved his family, and upheld his values, which is an example for all of us.
In what turned out to be his last visit to our store, he was still trying to brainstorm ideas that would improve sales and keep us afloat. As he left, he leaned in and said, “you know, a community needs a bookstore”. I agree James. Thank you.