A life well lived: Jim Hoyt Sr.

To the editor:

This week Saranac Lake lost a longtime resident, Jim Hoyt Sr. (“Humpty”). Every now and then you find someone that changes the way you think when defining what is possible. You see it with Olympic athletes. Someone makes a world record, and then three people break that record. Jim Hoyt Sr. lived life every day to the fullest. He pushed every human limitation to the edge. He and others at Whiteface have defied what my picture of aging looks like. They have taught me that most of my limitations have been set by me. He was a fixture in our community and one of my role models. I have emails from fellow ski patrollers that mention words like king, legend, hero and friend. When I think about how I want to live and age, Jim Hoyt Sr. (“Humpty”) is at the top of my list as a role model. Maybe it’s my perception, but he seemed to live life fearlessly. At 80 he was an excellent skier and calmly faced things we might consider dangerous. He’s had his fair share of setbacks but always faced them with calm durability and overcame them. I have often told him that “I wanted to be him when I grow up.”

It’s hard when people we care about leave us unexpectedly. Hard for us, but Humpty left us actively engaged in doing what he loved. There are so many things that threaten our existence on this planet. Being able to stay mentally sharp and active until our last day is a blessing in my book.

Humpty started at Whiteface when it opened and in March will get his 60-year letter with National Ski Patrol. He had a love for family, skiing, golf, racing cars and horses — not always in that order on powder days. His durability and strengths can be seen in his children and their families. Humpty was our patriarch at Whiteface, and there’s a trail named after him. He is sorely missed but will never be forgotten. My sincere condolences to his wife Anna and his family. He was a remarkable man. Journey well, Humpty, and ski you later.

Bill Martin

Saranac Lake