The Intermedia Outdoors family has lost one of its most valued and talented writers—and just all-around good guy.
J. Guthrie, 37, died April 12. Why is it the good die young? Quick wit, outgoing, always made everyone feel comfortable and welcome. “Mister Jim, pour yourself a drink, pull up a chair, and let’s talk,” he would say in that casual, southern drawl.
J. was a special talent, a special friend. Think deep-fried catfish, gumbo, jumbalaya, black-eyed peas, ham hocks, and turnip greens—and his love of firearms, hunting and shooting—when you remember J. Guthrie. This good old boy was as southern as southern gets. His family had roots in the Deep South, and he was proud as hell that he had family fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
When I phoned to tell him I wanted him to write the back page column of Guns & Ammo, there was complete silence—then an abrupt, “Do you have the right phone number? … Do you really want me to follow in the footsteps of Jeff Cooper? I idolized Jeff. You need to know, Mister Jim, I’m no Jeff Cooper.”
When I assured him he was the writer I wanted to pen the column, he paused again, and said, “Mister Jim, it’s an honor. I won’t disappoint.”
He didn’t, true to his word as always. Was he the perfect writer, always on deadline? No. But he was as honest as the day is long, and he always respected the magazines and editors he wrote for, including Shooting Times, Petersen’s Hunting, RifleShooter, Game & Fish and North American Whitetail.
J. also was a contributor to Guns & Ammo TV, and he was hellbent on making the show the best shooting show on cable TV. Some of his best work was done in the last year, when we filmed our “Direct Fire” segments. When we were discussing the informational and entertainment elements early on for this 13-week segment, I had no question who needed to play a major role. It was J. Guthrie, hands down.
J. also worked on our Modern Rifle Adventures and Ruger Inside & Out television shows.
When we were early in the planning stages of launching Modern Rifle Adventures, I was asked by my superiors which writers in the group would be the perfect fit for this ground-breaking show on modern sporting (AR) rifles. Without hesitation, I said J. Guthrie and Dick Metcalf. J. was the brash, young rookie, Dick the seasoned veteran. They played off each other so well—it was simply pure joy to see them grow into their roles.
Dick recalls, “I’d tell him everything would be good if he’d just remember I was the hero and he was the sidekick. He’d say, ‘We ain’t makin’ no John Wayne movie, old man . . .’” J and Dick worked together on three of our TV shows, all told. “I loved that boy,” Dick says. “He was my partner and my brother. He was larger than life. My world today is so much smaller without him in it.”
Again, J. didn’t disappoint. He never did.
J. now joins the ranks of talented writers who contributed to Guns & Ammo over the years, those who are no longer with us—to name just a few, Elmer Keith, Jeff Cooper, Bill Jordan, Bob Milek, John Wootters and many, many others.
J., we will meet again down the road—just remember, don’t call me Mister.