A tribute to Jim Grelis, 14.9.1951 – 7.6.2017
Jim was BSAR stalwart. He joined in the late 70s and became a Field Organiser in the mid 80s, a position he held until his death.
Jim attended over 25 searches and was Field Organiser on over 15.
Jim was deployed with full alpine climbing kit on Mount Feathertop in 1983 when Stephen Galland fell near the summit and died. I was on that trip and greatly appreciated the efforts of Police and BSAR rescue teams.
Jim was also Field Organiser on the very demanding search for Tom Kneen on Mt Feathertop in 1985. He started at Mt St Gwinear for a search that was resolved, then went to Mt Stirling for a search already in progress and was then redirected to Mt Feathertop.
Jim assisted with the development of BSAR Steep Snow and Ice skills and training after these events.
Most recently he was Field Organiser on the South Viking search in 2014.
Over the years Jim did many jobs quietly in the background such as helping Roger with his first equipment inventory.
Jim ran special training at Highfield Park with BSAR’s first GPS units and conducted GPS training sessions at numerous BSAR training events.
For many years he managed loan GPS units which members collected from his house. Jim pretty much single-highhandedly introduced BSAR members to GPS use.
As recently late last year he set up our latest GPS with maps, despite his illness.
Jim also led the introduction of Rogaining into BSAR training to improve navigation skills.
About 10 years ago Jim assisted Merv and Duncan with rewriting the VRA safety procedure for lost or overdue teams at the VRA’s request.
Jim was an expert bushwalker, Rogainer and rock climber and a very keen runner. His fitness was legendary. Jim did some hard grade 19 first routes in the Grampians when 19 was the top grade.
Jim, Merv, Frank and I completed a 12 day crossing of the Denison and King William Ranges in Tasmania in 2002 and also the bushwalk from Mallacoota for Eden a couple of years later. Jim was always dependable and unflappable under duress. He was a great companion on these epic trips.
Duncan Brookes expresses great regret at not being able to be here. He thoroughly enjoyed Rogaines, bike rides and coffees with Jim and Merv in recent years, plus of course their shared experiences in BSAR. Wayne Merry and Chris Jarvis also pass on their condolences.
On behalf of Bush Search and Rescue Victoria, I thank Jim for his unwavering commitment and contribution over 4 decades with us. We have lost a great friend and companion. I will miss those words “it must be time for a cup of tea”.
Jim will be greatly missed, but his quiet, capable and effective leadership and his friendship will not be forgotten.
Our thoughts are with Kathy, Francine, Georgina and Christopher.
Peter Campbell, BSAR Convener
15 June 2017