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February 11, 1931 ~ February 2, 2018 (age 86)

James “Shamus” Sedler passed through this life on February 2, 2018.  He spent his final days comfortably at home, surrounded by loving family and friends, after a sudden and devastating brain bleed.  Born February 11, 1931, in Pittsburgh, he was just a few days short of completing his eighty-seventh journey around the sun.   James was born to Edward Jerome and Anne Kelskey Sedler; he was the second child of two, his sister Adele Sedler Fargotstein being ten years older than her adored ‘baby brother’.

After graduation from Taylor Allderdice High School, James attended summer school at Harvard in the writing program, then enlisted in the US Coast Guard during the Korean War, patrolling the North Atlantic.   After Korea, James traveled to the west coast, landing in San Francisco’s North Beach environs during the beat generation years.   It was during this period the nick-name Shamus, that he would be called by for the remainder of his life.

 After a stint exploring the world in the Merchant Marine, he moved to Big Sur, California, where he did a lot of hiking, worked at Nepenthe restaurant, and met Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Elmendorf.   Liz and James were married in 1965 in Big Sur, then moved to the San Juan Islands, where they bought land and built a small cabin on Lopez Island, where sons Jesse David [1966], and Moses Solomon [1968] were born. 

In 1967, they bought the property in the Yaak that James would call home for the remainder of his life, moving there permanently in 1969.  James and Liz separated in 1970, but would remain friends throughout their lives.  James met Laura Zimbelman in 1972, and in May of 1975 they began the amazing life together that would continue until his death.   They blended his two sons, with hers –Zachariah—and in 1979 welcomed son, Edward Jay, into the family, completing the mix.

Always a man of hands on work and the outdoors, James worked for the US Forest Service, starting at Sylvanite Ranger Station beginning in 1973, and remained in fire prevention through the transition to Three Rivers Ranger District until he retired at age 62.  He is fondly remembered there as the old man of the fire crews, and for mentoring many young college students through his love of books, philosophy, and tales of traveling through the beat era.

In later years, he continued to pursue his love of music and gardening; devoted himself to reading and studying Buddhism, and completed a small volume of his poems.  He was a life long learner, and cultivated friendships with the same passion that he brought to his tomatoes.

James was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Jerome and Anne Kelskey Sedler; his beloved only sibling, Adele Sedler Fargotstein; his Uncle Joseph Kelskey, a powerful influence on his young life; and by Liz Sedler.

He is survived by his wife Laura Sedler; sons Jesse Sedler; Moses Sedler; Zach Hawkins; and Edward Sedler.   He is also survived by his three well loved daughter’s in law: Astrid, Roni, and Heidi who brought him much joy.   He will be deeply missed by grandson’s Shamus Cedarhawk; Winter Rain; Andrew James; Forrest Edward; Milan Leo; and Elijah Graham.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 17th, at the Double J in Troy.   Donations may be made to the Troy Food Pantry; Troy Volunteer Ambulance; Lincoln County Coats for Kids, or to the worthy cause of your choice.  Arrangements are under the care of Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home & Crematory of Libby.  Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting

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