Jim Fletcher, aka: “Miner Jim” visiting with Mark Twain at the entrance to Camps Restaurant at Greenhorn Creek

Jim Fletcher, aka: “Miner Jim” visiting with Mark Twain at the entrance to Camps Restaurant at Greenhorn Creek.

Click this image to go to the original story in the LA Times.

Click this image to go to the original story in the LA Times.

An educator by trade, Jim Fletcher, aka: “Miner Jim” was an instructor and administrator in California’s Modesto School District for 35 years before retiring and moving to the Sierra Nevada foothills.

After growing up in the logging community of Vernonia, Oregon, in the heart of Douglas fir country, very wet and covered with majestic forests, he graduated from Vernonia High School and went to what is now Western Oregon University, receiving his education degree in 1966.

He then came south, to Modesto, in search of sunshine, to teach at Turlock High School where he met and married his wife of 35 years, Sandra Neubauer Fletcher.  In 1972 he took a position as Vice Principal at Roosevelt Junior High School in Modesto, Calif., moved to La Loma Junior High in 1988, and returned to the classroom as an instructor of 7th grade social studies and language arts where he remained until his retirement in 2005.

Along with his family and two sons, Jim loved the mountains and spent many winters at their Bear Valley cabin, skiing, hiking, and enjoying snowy or sunny days.  He still spends significant time in Tahoe, a place he loves.  For him, like Mark Twain, there is something energizing about mountain country and vistas like the Lake Tahoe.

Jim was a docent at the Angles Camp Museum for many years and helped put the pole barn and hard rock mining exhibits together and loved to talk to groups of kids and adults about geology, gold panning, and hard rock mining, which lead to his interest in local history and lore.  An avid reader with veracious appetite for knowledge, the story of Mark Twain’s 88 days in the Mother Lode became his quest.

Now, he loves spending wonderful days leading tours of the North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, just up the road on Highway 4, and continues his weekly presentations at CAMPS Restaurant about the life of Mark Twain and those very special 88 days he spent on Jackass Hill.

Jim currently resides with his wife Kristen Cromwell-Fletcher in a lovely cottage nestled in the fine community of Greenhorn Creek in Angels Camp, California.