At approximately 3 AM on January 1, 2000,
Jim was struck and killed by a car in Key Largo, FL while crossing Route 1.
Jim was having an argument with his girlfriend and apparently wasn't paying enough attention to traffic.
Needless to say, it hurt to lose Jim, and will take much time getting back to our normal lives, if we ever can.
His ashes will be buried (finally) this spring with those of his grandparents in Milford cemetery. I chose the
site because it is the highest point in the cemetery where visitors can look down the embankment through the
trees and see the Stone House and the Delaware River Toll Bridge.
Jim's Obituary from the Florida Keys Keynoter
on January 5, 2000:
Key Largo traffic death
mars start of new year
By Kevin Wadlow
Keynoter Staff Writer
The new year was just three hours old Saturday when a Key Largo man died on U.S.1.
Jim Travis, 45, was struck and killed as he attempted to cross the highway near mile
marker 105 at 3:06 a.m.
Travis stepped into the path of a southbound Toyota driven by William Anderson, 28,
of Toronto, according to an initial investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
Travis worked as a waiter in local restaurants such as Anthony's and the Buzzard Roost
for 15 years, said a family spokesman. His father and stepmother, Don and Irene Travis,
also live in Key Largo.
He became the first traffic fatality of 2000 in Monroe County.
Here is Jim's story. It is incomplete, but I will work to fill in details and gaps ASAP.
I welcome any and all stories from friends and relatives.
E-mail me at my public address:
When Jim and I left St. Pete in Spring of 1974, Joe Gagnon and Dave McConnell
(from the apt across the street) came back to Milford with us.
Jim and I worked at Pocono Mt. Lake Estates for the summer.
Jim lived across Rt. 206 from the Anchorage (home of Damon Knight, his wife Kate Wilhelm, and their
two children Chris Knight and Dick Wilhelm) near the Township/PennDot building where the State Police gassed up and
where the 3-lane begins.
It was a real party house. Their parties hosted the prettiest girls Milford had probably ever seen up
to that point in my memory.
At the end of that summer, Jim moved in with my mother & John in the
Philadelphia suburbs. My mother and John started a Custom House and Freight Forwarding business
in the Independence Park/Society Hill section of Phila.. When my Semester ended the following spring,
I joined Ma, Jim, and John in Phila. and worked with Jim as a messenger for Ma & John thru the summer of '75.
Jim and I then joined Ron Simmons (vocals/moog) and Hal (? - drummer) to
start "Storm". We lived in Dingmans until Mike McCarthy gave Jim a dog named Blue. Blue was half Husky
and half St. Bernard. Once I caught Blue eating out of the trash can in the kitchen. I smacked him on
the rear and said "no". When he growled at me I decided I wasn't going to get killed training a full
grown Cujoe. A few days later, our neighbor/landlord had his dog out in their yard, a fair sized german
shepard. Blue got out of the house and attacked the shepard, locking his jaws on the poor dog's stomach.
I hit Blue across his shoulders at least twice with a 6 foot long 4x4 before he let go. A moment later,
Blue attacked again, and again I used the 4x4. The landlord's shepard died, and the combination of the dog
and complaints about our loud music prompted the landlord to pay us to cancel the lease.
We moved (sans Blue) to the top of Rt. 6 near the State Police Barracks, and up the road from Guy Wolfe.
The gig at DV was our only one. We made $600 but lost our reputation because of the "Loudness".
Paul Simmons was our "Sound Engineer" but having no sound system, was no match for Jim and his
100w Marshall, who after a few beers insisted on cranking it up all the way.
Unfortunately, Jim and Ron were trying to live the Rock Star life before actually becoming Rock Stars,
and were totally unmanagable and unorganized. Our new drummer, Boz, and I worked 8-10 hrs a day
putting repitoires together, but couldn't get Jim and Ron to participate. They were busy getting
high on dust and maintaining relationships with their girlfriends. It wasn't much later that I
gave up on them and returned to Philadelphia in spring of '76. I guess we needed management.
Jim then renamed the band "Flesh", playing at the various mafia
owned bars (waiting for legalization of gambling) around Milford and Honesdale with Ron, Boz, and
Tony. Tony was a good bassist and claimed to have co-written the "One" song by 3 Dog Night.
They sounded very good and made me wish they had put things together while I was with them.
When Flesh broke up, Jim returned to live with Ma, John, & myself.
He almost lost his life while riding his 750 BMW motorcycle when he was head-on'd by a car full of
yapping chicks from nearby Cheney College.
After his out of body experience, he woke in the hopsital with both arms broken.
His girlfriend, Heidi Simmons was a saint since she was the only person willing to wipe him.
He sat in the toilet for two hours waiting for her to come home from the store. He kept calling to me,
but I wouldn't do it. My payback for all the times he sat on me, letting his spit drop down to within
an inch of my face before he sucked it back up.
Jim recuperated from the accident and used the settlement money to join
a band Trinity with Ron Simmons in the Poughkeepsie Area. I have videos and tapes of them - very
good. The band lasted a couple of years and Jim returned to live with Ma and John in Thornton, PA.
Soon after, Ma & John bought him a house near mine.
He bartended some, but mostly watched TV & played guitar.
One night he and a friend (both drunk) were target practicing in his basement with his .357 magnum.
A few rounds went thru Jim's wall, then thru Jim's garage door, then thru Jim's neighbor's garage door,
finally lodging in his neighbor's car. Unaware of this, Jim and his friend kept shooting.
Another round hit Jim's natural gas line. These two events resulted in serious legal action against Jim.
Luckily, Jim's neighborhood did not erupt into a fireball worthy of CNN's coverage.
Jim evaded jail time, but had to sell the house and move in with Ma & John.
He stayed at the farm for 9 years doing mostly nothing but buying clothes from L.L.Bean and J.Crew,
the best camping gear, and of course, more guns.
Anyone who remembers Jim as the purveyor of fine fireworks in grammer
and high school, or as a plinker at Milford dump will understand his continuing facination for
I'll never forget the time Jim and I were walking at the edge of the cornfield along the river near
Ludwigs farm. A red squirrel appeared on the branch of a large tree hanging right over us.
The squirrel couldn't have been more that 5 feet away. It looked right at us and gave a defiant screech.
Jim immediately raised his double barrel 12 gage shotgun and loosed both barrels at once.
After the dust cleared, with the ringing still in our ears from the deafening explosion
(and checking for any richoets) we tried to find the carcass, but were not able to find even
a single strand of fur. The offender had been completely vaporized.
Jump forward to 1998 - After I graduated PennState for my Programming Certification and
emersed in follow up courses and a job search, Jim visited with Carey, a girl from Key Largo.
They wanted to move back into Ma's house. Jim was planning to start a catering business in Milford
and wanted to use Ma's house as a base. I didn't like what I saw but was unsuccessful in convincing
Ma to keep them away. I decided to keep my family away from what I felt was behavior that I didn't
want my kids exposed to. To make a long story short, Carey was a crack addict. Jim wasn't able to
put a company together and manage Carey at the same time. Six months and 18K of Ma's money later,
Ma evicted Jim and Carey from her house. They moved back to Key Largo.
Jim never really got past substance abuse. He occasionally got on the
wagon, for years at a time even, but he didn't succeed in applying those periods to any long term
plans to buy a home or find a responsible mate. The best thing he did was take a Real Estate course,
but he never took the test. If he took it, he never told me. Jim liked things to come natural/easy.
Jail? Occassionly, nothing serious, mostly for drunk & disorderly.
I took the wife and kids to Key Largo and Universal Studios over
ThanksGiving 1999 and saw Jim for the last time. He looked and sounded great. I was encouraged that
maybe age and wear and tear had finally wrung the stubborness and foolishness out of him and he was
on the track to a good life. And I also thought we could catch up on years lost where he could be a
sober uncle to my kids and hang out and jam again. I was crushed by his death not only for the usual
reasons, but because we will never catch up those lost years, at least not on this earth.
Jim had nothing but clothes and camping gear when he died. No home or
savings. He was suffering from gout and it was probably only a matter of time before other ailments
related to his years of substance abuse manifested themselves. The gout impaired his ability to
wait on tables or tend bar, so employment was difficult. He had gout at the time of his death and it
may have contributed to his not crossing Rt. 1 quickly enough, and therefore getting hit by the car
that killed him.
Jim occasionally talked and acted wild, but he was a true born again Christian.
He had an uncanny ability to analyze people and situations, and I valued his assesments
and opinions. I felt bad he couldn't marshal his incredible talents to provide a better life for himself.
Jim had a determined strength and sense of fairness: he never purposefully harmed anyone who didn't
harm him first, but he wouldn't let anyone harm him, however.
Don't feel too badly for Jim though, he had a lot of fun and did what he wanted
to do when he wanted to do it. And I know he is with God in a much better place. I feel bad for
myself because I won't see him until it is my turn to go.