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Back to Older American main page
About Jim Heasley

Friday, May 03, 2002

 

Eight year old Jim Heasley w/mulepackers Charley Chantry and Jim Sennett

Jim and Barbara Heasley ride in the Fourth of July parade as Grand Marshals, 1999
Jim and other volunteers entertain and educate during the Creative Arts Group Home Tour, Apr., 2000
Dr. Bill White and Jim Heasley at Orchard Camp during Pioneer Days, October, 2000
Dr. Bill White, Jim Heasley and "The Fiddler" made a multimedia presentation about Lizzie's to the Arcadia Historical Society, 2001

Banquet for Older American of the Year 2002, Jim Heasley, May 2002

Memorial Service for Jim Heasley, July 2002

Dedication of sycamore tree at City Hall in Jim's honor, April 25, 2003

 

Videos from the Older American Banquet: (All videos are short, and should download fairly quickly.)

Jim tells us how long he's been in Sierra Madre.
Jim discusses the trees in Big Santa Anita

Jim talks about the early days of the Volunteer Fireman's Ball, selling tickets door to door
Jim explains how we can tell everything he says is true

Webmaster's Note:  This was written in May, right after the 2002 Older American of the Year banquet honoring Jim.  Sadly, Jim passed away on July 19, 2002.

I wanted to say a few words about Jim Heasley. Jim talked at the banquet about joining the Fire Dept. in 1936. He talked about going door to door to sell tickets to the early Volunteer Fireman's Christmas Ball. He talked about a weekly penny-ante poker game with the police chief, commenting "The town sure has changed a lot since then." He talked about his love for his beautiful wife Barbara, and told the story about coming home from the war and not recognizing her. He got a laugh at his own expense describing how after months away in the service, he came home and shook hands with his wife. Jim talked about how the trees in Santa Anita "have sure grown in 75 years". At one point, Jim delighted the crowd when he teased a woman in attendance saying "You always tell me I'm looking good, but you never tell me I'm good looking".

I have spoken with Jim previously, at Lizzie's Trail Inn and other places, and love to listen to his stories and his quick wit. I'm not going to begin to pretend that I've researched any kind of story about Jim, I'm just going to tell you a few of the things I've heard him say. Some of the stories Jim didn't tell at the banquet include how he rode a horse into the dance floor at Lizzie's Trail Inn one New Year's Eve, on a dare. He talks about the mulepackers and the heyday of the resort camps and hiking trails of Mt. Wilson, before Double Drive became Santa Anita and opened the lowlands up to the mountains at Chantry Flats. He talks of leading mules up the trails as they hauled pianos up to the camps (it took two days, they'd just leave the piano there over night. Who was going to steal it?). Hauling telephone poles up the mountains, as in the picture on the Heasley main page.  How there was an etiquette among packers, always go to the outside of the trail when you come across a mule train, because the mules step in the same steps as the day before, closest to the hillside.  Never tie all the mules together, that way you don't lose them all if one goes over the side.  The camps needed the pianos for the lively dances that took place on weekends. He tells of bathtubs being hauled up the hillside, of hauling canvas bags full of trout to stock the streams for the forestry department. And he talks about Lizzie's Trail Inn, and the outstanding chicken dinners he enjoyed there in the 40s.  He reminds us of what an important part of Sierra Madre's heritage it is.  Here's a picture of Jim at a presentation to the Arcadia Historical Society.

I also want to point out that an error was made in the proclamation which many of you saw on TV, and I don't want history to be re-written because of an error in a proclamation. Heasley Field, the baseball park, is not named after Jim, it's named after his father, a former Sierra Madre policeman and fireman who used baseball as a tool to work with youth who might be having problems. 

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