Note from the Editor | April 17, 2014
You know those people who always make you feel like you should step up your game a little bit? They set the bar high enough to make you feel like you should probably put more effort into your career, your health, your social life, your hobbies, heck, even your vacations. I knew one of those guys. His name was Jim Mishefske. Tragically, he passed away suddenly while on the track for a run – at age 36, the absolute prime of his life. Now his wife, his one-year-old daughter, and scores of friends and family are left to remember the man and his joyful, infectious love for life. Raised in Chippewa Falls, he lived most of his recent years in Eau Claire. A well-known local, Jim helmed UW-Eau Claire’s Small Business Development Center, helping countless Chippewa Vallians as they worked towards their dream of running a business. He had just recently moved his family down to Madison, having accepted a promotion to direct the program statewide (the youngest in the country to do so). Jim was a consummate adventurer, sportsman, woodworker, athlete, and (whether he knew it or not) an inspiring figure to many. And he was my friend. A few short years ago my wife and I attended his wedding; last year, after his daughter was born, we delivered a meal; and just last week we attended his funeral. However, in a time you’d expect to be reserved for sorrow – and to be sure, there is plenty of sadness – somehow the people who knew Jim have found a deep inspiration in the life he lived so well. The spoken and the written tributes, shared at Jim’s service, between friends in quiet conversations, and by hundreds of others on social media ... have been a remarkable thing to witness. And to learn from. He affected so many, and while we don’t all know each other, we all knew Jim, and in that relationship we’ve had a truly meaningful shared experience. Now that he’s gone, and with so many of us similar to him in age, we can’t help but stop and take a good, long look around. If there was ever a guy I knew who honestly lived and loved like there was no tomorrow, it was Jim. And in doing so, he’s taught us how important that concept really is. I feel like we owe it to him, and to ourselves, to make sure it’s something we won’t ever forget.