Honoring the Memory of Jim Tenney
(10-30-1933 – 12-18-2020)
Jim Tenney’s profession was medicine, but his passions were the mountains and music. Since childhood, he played piano joyfully, and in medical school he started the cello which became as much a part of Jim as his eyeglasses.
Born in Philadelphia, “mountains” began for Jim with the Poconos. He knew New England’s Berkshires and traced a connection to Tenney Mountain in New Hampshire. He loved the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend that he explored with brother Tom after Texas friends beseeched their parents to come to West Texas and start “a good school.” During college he watched the sun set behind New Mexico’s mountains from a remote telemetry station at White Sands Missile Range.
When he moved to Bishop in the early 1980s, Jim discovered the mountains he had known were mere bumps compared to the Sierra Nevada’s spectacular East Side. The magnificent tilt-block escarpment that is the Eastern Sierra provides soul-feeding vistas. Jim fed his soul full.
What enhances the incomparable Eastside mountain vistas is the remarkably unspoiled open space in the foreground. The fact that Mono County is 94% public land and has a “no off-site signage” ordinance and that Inyo County has endless open space are key, but it’s the Eastern Sierra Land Trust that Jim truly appreciated for their dedication and hard work facilitating multiple conservation easements to preserve, in perpetuity, ranches and other critical privately-owned habitat that might otherwise be developed.
In recognition of the 20 years the Tenneys have supported Eastern Sierra Land Trust, the 20,000 acres that are now permanently protected with conservation easements, and to honor Jim’s memory, his wife, Elizabeth, is offering a very generous matching donation of up to $20,000 during the online Paddle Raise on September 21st.
Photo of Jim and Elizabeth Tenney by Bonnie Colgan – Candid Images
Photo of Bridgeport Valley by Dwayne Leonard, Ranch Memories Photography