Tim Stubbs

Tim StubbsWe were saddened to hear that Tim Stubbs passed away yesterday, January 28. Tim was attending an aviation class in Albuquerque when he had an apparent heart attack.

Tim started his career with the National Park Service in 1969, and retired as the Fire Management Officer at Carlsbad Caverns/Guadalupe Mountains National Parks a few years ago. He was very active in fire aviation and was a fire behavior analyst. As recently as January 23 he posted on his Fire Behavior Services web site a fire behavior discussion for the Southwest Area winter fire season.

Tim will be missed.

UPDATE Feb. 4:

This was on the NPS’ Inside NPS yesterday:

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tim Stubbs, former fire management officer for Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Tim passed away due to natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 28th. A private memorial service will be held for Tim at his mother’s home in California.

Tim began his permanent NPS career in March 1990. He retired as the FMO in February 2003. In addition to being the fire management officer, Tim was a fire behavior analyst, long term fire analyst, and an air tactical group supervisor. He was a wildland firefighter icon and staunch advocate for firefighter safety.

Tim’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please address any cards and/or donations to his children, Jesse and Amanda Stubbs. Please send your cards and/or donations to the attention of: Ms. Kendra Mayes, 400 Pine Canyon, Salt Flat, Texas 79847. Kendra will forward them to the family.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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29 thoughts on “Tim Stubbs”

  1. Tim will be missed! Firefighter safety was always his passion. I will miss his wisdom and our golf games. Rest in peace brother.

  2. I spent two seasons with Tim in Carlsbad in the 90’s, Tim will be missed as his concerns and care for the resources and safety of the firefighter was always his priorty! Rest in Peace Tim!

  3. It was cold, clear and moon-lit last night when I walked across the patio where Tim and I have shared a fair number of “Moose Drools” on his visits to Missoula. It was hot tub time, and nothing seemed more appropriate than to hoist one last cold one in his memory. A good friend and firefighter, an outstanding human being! Adios, amigo!

  4. Tim was a friend who I could always rely upon for an understanding ear… day or night.

    I will miss his friendship, leadership, and support. Damn good firefighter… and friend.

  5. Tim will be missed. He had passion and dedication for the work he did for the NPS and interagency fire.

  6. I’m very sorry to hear of Tim’s passing, he will be missed by those that knew him. Tim was the heart and soul of the “Holding Actions”, the NPS impromptu band that would form once a year at FMO meetings. He’d always show up with vehicle full of instruments and it was just a matter of time before the good times would roll. So here’s to you Tim, we’ll hoist a pint and play some tunes in San Antonio in your honor!

  7. Tim was my nextdoor neighbor at Sequoia in the early 80’s.I fondly remember his gruff demeanor, but a heart of gold.I will miss you Buddy!

  8. Sorry to lose you Tim.

    Over the years we worked occasionaly on the same incident and he was always a pleasure to be be with.

  9. Tim is/was my big brother. As we were growing up he took me with him (his tag along kid brother) when he went skiing and backpacking all the time. To this day, skiing, surfing and backpacking are my most favorite forms of adventure and I now share the same passion with my son Gabriel (Tim’s nephew.) May Tim Rest in Peace……

  10. I was lucky to know Tim and work with him on several occasions. He was also part of the ‘ol’490 cadre that I learned under. I will miss him.

  11. Tim will be missed, he got me started in this business and was one of my biggest mentors and supporters. He got me involved in teaching 490. He was a great man, and will be missed by many of us in the fire community.

  12. Tim’s and my years at Carlsbad Caverns coincided 1994-2003. He retired Feb 3, 2003 and I retired Feb 3, 2005.

    Though I was never involved in fire-fighting by the time I came to the caverns (I was first an Interpretive Supervisor, then the Park Historian), it was easy to see Tim’s dedication to being the Caverns FMO.

    Tim was never shy about speaking his mind, a valuable trait except around too sensitive supervisors. A person would have to be “DD&B” (dead, dumb, and blind) to not know where Tim stood on issues.

    Once in a class I was co-teaching at the Caverns, he said something that at first “ruffled my feathers.” But later I realized that he was just honestly sharing his priorities.

    But you always knew that Tim cared. And that he would back up that caring with hard work and enthusiasm. That’s why he stood out as a co-employee and will stand out in the memories of those who knew him.

    RIP, Tim!

  13. Tim will be greatly missed. He ran an outstanding program, and was a good leader and instructor for many of us.

  14. Tim was one of the “real guys” in fire and aviation, his concern for the firefighter on the ground was genuine.
    Always a good friend and Bro, We’ll miss you Tim.

  15. Tim trained me up and got me started in fire – and welcomed me into his home to play music and drink his homebrew. He’s a one of a kind and we’ll miss him.

  16. Tim helped me paint my new house in Carlsbad. He took me horse back riding and tought me how to shoe his horse, Casper. He, Bill Garwood and I were trailering some horses through Loving, NM when one got side ways in the trailer. When Bill put on the brakes the horse fell and was wedged with its butt against one wall and its head cocked over its shoulder against the other wall. We got out and opened the trailer. Bill and I just stood with our mouths agape believing it was dead. Tim got up in the trailer, grabbed the horse by its ears and pulled with all his strength and slid the animal back around so it could get to its feet. Rest in Peace.

  17. Tim was a member of the staff of Boy Scout Camp Wolverton in Sequoia National Park in the mid-sixties and active in recent years in keeping the camp running. None of us will forget his harmonica and guitar (at the same time) around the campfire, his friendliness and his enthusiasm.

    May the Great Master of all Scouts be with him until we meet again.

  18. Another “hippie” has gone to that big commune in the sky. Fond memories date back over 40 years. Tim & I were hippies together back in SoCal. We were staff alumni at Camp Wolverton BSA Sequoia Nat Park with many other friends of Tim. He used to surf an Iron Cross surfboard and had the Maltese cross decal on his 60’s Chevy Impala. We used to ride bikes together, I had a Honda 450 and he had a 175. It was crazy, he would ride that dinky bike back & forth from Humboldt College in Nor Cal, down to LA, and back, rain or shine. He was hardcore. I had not seen Tim in decades but we reconnected a few years ago at an annual Camp Wolverton reunion in Sequoia NP. He promised to call me to surf together next time he came to visit his Ma in SoCal. Sadly, we never connected but I like to think of him now riding that great wave of Eternity for a truly Endless Summer. Peace, Love & Aloha Brother!

  19. Tim and I grew up a block from each other in Cheviot Hills, CA. Many memories, but favorite is our time at Boy Scout Camp Wolverton when we were 18 (yes a girl at a BS camp). Tim was staff assigned to teach the new campers how to pack a mule. He was having a “challenging” time getting the truly unruly critter from the stables to camp. As I’d done a lot of mule/burro packing I joined Tim wrestling the beast to camp, then showing the kids the finer points of halters and pack boxes. He’s been back at Wolverton several summers recently and like all his friends we shared laughter, memories and beer or two. We’ll hoist a round to Tim when we gather this summer at Wolverton. Here’s to you, my friend.

  20. I played music with Tim many times in the shadow of Giant Sequoias at Wolverton. He was a wonderful musician and I have always looked forward to sitting around the fire, drinking beer and throwing music into the air with Tim. I will miss him and remember him with every future song in Sequoia. Tim, rest with music and in peace.

  21. Tim was a Boy Scout camp counselor in Sequoia National Park before he began his career in the NPS. He was the first to jump into a tough situation, just like Paula’s post, and he spoke his mind then, too. He was one-of-a-kind and all of his buddies from Camp Wolverton will miss him.

  22. I also lived around the corner from Tim in Cheviot Hills, CA but mostly I remember playing guitar and singing with him and others at Camp Wolverton. He was calm around the campfire but one time we went to “climb” Moro Rock and I thought that we would take the steps but Tim decided to free climb the west face! “The NPS will not like this Tim!”. He just flat out lived life. I’m so glad I got to see him at a recent Wolveron reunion. Peace for him.

  23. Above I mistakenly stated that Tim started as the FMO at the Caverns in 1994. In checking further, I discovered that he arrived as the FMO at the Caverns on March 19, 1990. I apologize.

  24. For my whole carreer and up until his retirement, Tim was always the strong voice of reason when fire management seemed to be getting wrapped around this issue or that. Tim’s sound prescribed fire application and experience were respected by me and I often sought out his advice while penning complex plans. Along with his passion for common sense fire management was his passion for music. Tim (as Jacobs notes below) was the heart and soul of the “Holding Actions” and as easily took a flute solo during a bluegrass tune as lead vocals on “Love Potion #9”. Thanks for getting us up on stage when we would rather have jammed in someone’s room. We will miss you!

  25. I first remember Tim Stubbs from 1966 when I was a camper at Camp Wolverton [we called it Camp Whoopie – tongue-in-cheek, said with irony] because he was always trying to one-up the older staff. They all teased him like an annoying kid brother. He took his troop on a day hike to the Sherman Tree and then to Cresent Meadow and arrived back at Camp just as we were finishing dinner. It appears that Tim either didn’t know the route [this being the days when trail maps of the Giant Forest didn’t exist] or how long the hike would be [I’d say, off the top of my head today… at least 10 miles] , or both. The Camp Director was not amused. Tim got a lot of razing from everyone for that stunt – staff and campers alike.

    My next encounter with Tim Stubbs was in summer of 1972 when I spent July at Camp with Don Williams. Don and I were driving back from grocery shopping in Visalia where it must have been about 110 in the shade. We stopped at Tim’s trailer – he was working on the Blister Rust crew at the time – at Ash Mountain and Tim offered me a cold beer. It was the best beer I have ever had. Even if it was a Coors.

    Anyway, after two years of junior college I was still undecided on what to major in. Looking back on my previous summers of fun at Camp, I thought forestry would be a good academic change. I wanted to work in the forest. I liked plants. No brainer, right? Wrong! I mentioned this to Tim because he was studying forestry at Humboldt State College. Tim’s answer to me was, “Don’t go into forestry. Forestry is all about cutting down trees and making money.” It was Tim who steered me to study botany.

    We met again in 1976 during the summer I worked for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in Resources Management. Tim was on the forestry crew, cutting down hazard trees and not making a lot of money. But it was work he enjoyed with gusto because he was good at it – having learned the craft from ace-feller Charlie Castro. Tim was mostly out in the field during the summer, escaping the summer heat of Ash Mountain, which is where I lived. He would come to Park HQ once every few weeks with his crew of local Native American tree fellers. Tim was in full redneck mode by this time, having worked fire crew and a bunch of other jobs for the park service where crews were not of the college educated types – which Tim was in spades.

    He still wore his blond hair in a long mop but he talked about driving trucks and shooting things. If you got him drunk enough though, the old surfer-dude Tim emerged. He told me once about how he enjoyed taking his flute out when he was drinking with the rednecks and blow them away by playing what he called, “Hippy flute.” That would be free form, improvisational, spacey, atonal stuff that struck me as being weirdly, otherworldly, creative.

    I was in thrall and not a little bit impressed with Tim at the time. He was a big success to me. A guy who worked at Wolverton, loved plants and botany, played great music, worked for the park service and, Oh; did I mention it? Tim was really popular with pretty women. Whenever he showed up at park headquarters there were always these two very lovely women who would show up and never leave his side.

    That was my last physical encounter with Tim. I did get some emails from him when I started up the Camp Wolverton website. And he wrote to me when he was about to retire. It came about from an article of mine he saw in Ranger Magazine about a medivac from the backcountry at Crabtree Meadow and the backcountry ranger I mentioned. He wrote, “Good article in Ranger Magazine! I know George Durkee from eons ago. Crabtree discussion was total nostalgia. I will be retired from the *&^%$ NPS in 10 days and hope to start seeing folks again in some of the old haunts such as Whoopee this Summer. I am taking my firefighter retirement at age 52. My wife and I will stay here in Carlsbad NM for a few more years until the last kid has flown the coop. Then we are looking at either East TN or Central CA (Three Rivers again?). Hope to see you before long. Adios.” That was January, 2003.

    I will remember Tim in the way I have always thought of him. Tough. Pugnacious. Smart. Full of life, energy, and verve – vigor, spirit, and style. I can still hear his voice with its slight nasal twang and see his long sun-bleached blond hair waving in the wind. And I see a grin a mile wide on his face just as he is lifting up his flute to his lips.

    Adios, Tim.

  26. In 1993, Tim trained me as a Type2 Firefighter. I felt priviledged to work with Tim in Carlsbad NPS. I just found out in April and can’t believe he is gone. He will watch over all of us. We lost one of the best.

  27. Tim and I were friends in so cal around 68-71, Scouts were the initial connection. I am not sure, maybe camp emerald bay, I didn’t go to Wolverton. We enjoyed a ski trip or two and some hangin out. He was charismatic, a good soul, philosophical in those growing up in the 60s times. I remember sharing thoughts and his generous personality. Our friendship was relatively short, but here I am 40 years later.
    I went into the Naval air reserves in 1969, pre getting drafted and Tim would write (no email those days). About moving out of home, his place in Santa Monica, being broke, attending anti war rally in SF, trials and tribulations of life.
    We lost touch, somehow life went on. Only this week, I was sorting pictures and letters and it all came back to me. In a search to find him, I cam across this news of his passing. Love and Peace he’d say. Thanks for the moment in my life Tim.

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