Tim David Hart was born into fire. He grew up in Illinois, where his father was a volunteer firefighter. He majored in forestry at SIU, where he was introduced to wildland firefighting. After graduating with his master’s in forestry, it became his full-time career and lifelong passion. He spent his 16-year career in a variety of positions across the country, including the Asheville Hotshots, Augusta Hotshots, and Ruby Mountain Hotshots. He got his dream chance to become a smokejumper in Grangeville, Idaho, in 2016, and in 2019 moved to the West Yellowstone Smokejumpers.
But Tim was so much more than the job he loved. He was a brother to his older sister, Meg. They shared a love of pranks, irreverent humor, and the Chicago Bears. His Pa was David Gene Hart, whom Tim was named after. Tim deeply admired his father and sought to make him proud in his life after he passed away when Tim was 18. His mother, Pamela, was a constant presence in his life, and Tim always made sure that she was taken care of.
Cody, Wyoming, became his home in the off season and was where Tim and I met in 2016. We married on Friday, December 13, 2019, an apt nod to the holiday that we both loved. We moved to our dream home on four acres, finally fulfilling a wish that Tim had always had, living on the south fork of the Shoshone River in the shadow of Carter Mountain.
Tim loved rye whiskey. In fact, if there was a word stronger than love, it would probably be more accurate. It was his dream that someday he would make his illegal whiskey operation legitimate. He took immense care and pride in his whiskey; he would double distill each batch, tasting and retasting his new runs to find the right cut off to the heads and tails, choosing the perfect wood to age it on, and then having the willpower to not touch it for at least two years. It was a passion that went further than a hobby, as most of Tim’s interests did. He lived the motto, “Why do something at all if you are not going to go in 100%?” He was a skilled woodworker, taught himself to hunt and weld, was an accomplished baker, played the banjo, and studied German in his free time.
Tim was quiet but funny, and when he said something, you knew you wanted to listen because it was usually sarcastic and witty. He loved a long-con and practical jokes, even if he was the only one that would know about it. He didn’t care to impress people; he only lived up to his own standards. He fought for his beliefs. Tim lived every day of his life fully and was unapologetically himself.