John “Jack” Reed Fields, Jr. passed away on Feb. 15, 2017, from injuries sustained in a skiing accident on the South Teton in Grand Teton National Park.
Jack was born in New York City on July 29, 1990, and moved to Wilton, Conn., when he was a year old. He attended Wilton Public Schools and graduated from Wilton High School in 2008. As a child, Jack was a camper at Teton Valley Ranch Camp in Wyoming, and during his junior year of high school, Jack attended High Mountain Institute (“HMI”) in Leadville, Colo. These two experiences are where he developed his love of the West and the mountains. While attending HMI, Jack was exposed to telemark skiing and rock climbing, and his passions were born.
Jack attended Colorado College, graduating in 2012. During college and summers, he traveled to India and Nepal with Where There Be Dragons, summiting a 20,000-foot peak in the Himalayas and teaching sustainable farming at a leper colony; worked two summers at a remote fly fishing lodge in Alaska; completed a NOLS course in the Waddington Range in Canada; studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico, returning then to study the ancient agriculture methods of the region; ski mountaineered and rock climbed in the Selkirk Range of British Columbia on two different grants from the Ritt Kellogg Fund at Colorado College; and led a high school community service group to Alaska to rebuild indigenous people’s homes.
Upon graduation, Jack returned to HMI to serve as a Spanish-teaching apprentice before he committed to learning carpentry skills. He spent time in California with an uncle to understand the basics of the trade and then moved to Sisters, Ore., where he worked for a timber framer and forge. In between, Jack could be found rock climbing and skiing throughout North America and sailing the Chilean coast of Patagonia. He moved from Sisters to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in December 2016 and hoped to open his own furniture-building business. Everywhere he lived, Jack developed deep relationships with the people and the region.
Jack lived more in his 26 years than many live in a full lifetime, and he was passionate about life and living it to the fullest. Those who knew him will say he was a great friend, curious intellect, and dedicated athlete. Be it art, music, literature or the natural world, beauty was his inspiration. He will be missed by many including his parents, Robin and John Fields, his brothers, Sam and Charlie, his paternal grandparents, Jane and Jim Fields, 13 aunts and uncles, and 19 first cousins.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Jack’s memory to one of two organizations that each had a profound impact on his life: The Ritt Kellogg Fund at Colorado College or the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, CO.