Saturday, April 20

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

James “Wooser” Woosely: 1965 ~ 2024

Born July 15, 1965. Passed Feb. 14, 2024.

Editor’s note: This isn’t your ordinary obituary. But then, Woozer wasn’t the ordinary friend. Mike sent this to me and I’m running it as is, no edits, along with a few comments from his Facebook page. 

By Mike and Lori Booth.

ME: Hi, I’m Mike

JW: I’m Jim Whoozssley

ME: Woolyzee?

JW: NO… WOOZ…LEY

ME: WOOZLEY?

JW: Yeah, that’s better, just call me Wooz.

That was my first encounter with my new friend Wooz. We just moved to Crestone and were spreading our wings. Lori and I felt comfortable with Wooz, kinda like broken-in shoes, he was always there to talk, listen, and just give Wooz opinions. 

Every gathering at our house included Wooz. Even the night we took the Tequila challenge and created “30 New Businesses that would be successful in Crestone.” One of those ideas became a local brew pub. 

He was our friend because we had the bestest good times, and the worstest bad times, that tested our friendship. He would not have it any other way. He was the Wooz. 

We were grateful to have met his children, that’s how we knew we must be good friends of Wooz. He protected that part of his life. His kids were special, only to be shared with those of equal stature. I got to play golf with his son. Wooz loved golf, but his son, WOW, what a golfer. I chased him for 18 holes, only to fall 20 strokes behind. Wooz was happy that day, not because he kicked our butts in golf, but because he loved his son. That was Wooz. 

His daughter is the sweet Wooz. Smart, witty, Wooz. He loved her and bragged about her every chance we talked about our kids. We all went on a road trip to Cripple Creek to do a history tour (my sister is the director of the museum there). He loved how intelligent she is. And she is quite the artist, taking after her photographer father. If you have ever seen his photography, you would pause and say “this is really good,” and Wooz would reply, “Of course it is, I shot it!” That was Wooz. 

He always said “I did this right” referring to his children. A very proud Wooz. 

To us he was Chef Wooz, Fishing Wooz, Golfing Wooz, Photographer Wooz…but most of all…he was our friend. 

~ Mike and Lori Booth, Friends of Wooz.

Posts from Woozer’s Facebook page

Tia Reagan Wooser my sweet goofy Midwest friend…You’ll always be ickyB to me! I loooooove you! No one ever I knew like you & no one I’d rather go to a goat farm with than you & no one I’d rather get “lied to” on the side of the road with than you my lanky picture lovn homey! Damn Woos, I wish I wish I coulda seen your mug one last time.

Meghan Rozell Though fleeting, our interactions were of the kindred wild spirit kind, a recognized reflection. I will greatly miss that dance.

Rae Feuerhelm I met James Woosley in 2015 when I opened my salon in Decorah. I enjoyed those moments with him weather it was haircuts, bloodys at Market, smoke circles, him pissing me off getting to drunk on the river, or giving me some of the best artistic advice I’ve ever been given. The most special one to me was him coming to do my kids senior photos. I couldn’t have asked anyone else. He was honored. He was late that morning, in true Woosley fashion, but you know it was hard to be mad at him. We may have had too many drinks the night before. (I said well you know I’m never late!) We had some good laughs that weekend. He left his mark everywhere he went didn’t he! Thank you for all of it. I’ll send a lantern up for you tonight my friend! Rest easy.

Mark Whelan We respected each other as artists. You were always encouraging, and knew the value of every active—or inactive—ingredient to the creative process. Your ardor came at a price: one that befalls many of us who knew the sting of misunderstandings, isolation, and constantly challenging the validity of what is deemed authentic. In your distinctly rugged visage you wore each wrinkle, whisker, and twinkle in your eye like a work of art. I’ll miss you James Woosley.

Nino Altobelli Well another cool cat is gone. James Woosley may u rest in peace. A lot photo f—ery we have done together over the last 3 decades.

Amber Reneá Graves James I still can’t process I will not be seeing you in a couple of months. My heart can’t process that I won’t be receiving one of soul touching hugs. I’m unable to process my sunshine is gone. The world is now a darker place without your smile, your laughter, your kindness & grace you gave. Woos just can’t believe it’s real.

Emil Cody Moorbeck Me neither  it’s so hard… I just figured we would talk in a day or two, he’d tell me about his move, catch up on things and share our struggles and positivity… So much left unspoken . If you ever want to talk, don’t hesitate to contact me, I will make space… This is a really hard one.

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