Obituary: James Wyllie

Publié le par The Malibu Times.jpg

Obituary: James Wyllie
Obituary: James Wyllie

James Wyllie, local equestrian educator, father and grandfather, died March 16, 2017, in Agoura Hills. He was 98.

Born in Lincoln, R.I., Jim’s remarkable teaching career spanned six decades and 65,000 students. 

“He was firm but kind, principled but fun, and never stopped being curious about life,” a loved one wrote to The Malibu Times.

A WWII Air National Guard pilot, Jim flew hundreds of reconnaissance missions. He married his high school sweetheart Helen (now deceased) and attended Michigan State College. In 1950, the Wyllies moved to Los Angeles.

At the Hollywood Arts Center, he earned a degree in industrial design, taught by Germany’s  prestigious Bauhaus Group. An early project was the redesign of Brentwood’s Crestwood Stables, popular riding hub of David Niven, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland. Researching all he could find on horses and their role in society, his intense interest turned into a devoted equestrian life.

Jim owned Paramount Ranch in its heyday, where Michael Landon gifted him with his “Bonanza” pinto, Cochise. He taught courses at UCLA, Cal-Lutheran, SMC and at Malibu’s Pepperdine University for 30 years.

“Jim was not only a great equestrian and stable master, he was a life coach,” Pepperdine President Andy Benton said. “He was a teacher to so many students, and surrogate father to many young boys and girls. When they rode with him in those hills, he made them better people.”

Jim’s popular courses were accented with student riding trips abroad. History, art, music and literature accompanied his horse management studies. 

“He understood his craft at a deep, deep level,” Benton said. Jim trained four of his horses for the 1984 Olympic Pentathlon, and taught old friend and ranch neighbor Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service to ride. At 65, he completed the one-day, 100-mile Tavis Cup Race. Malibu filmmakers Jennie and Neel Muller’s 2010 documentary “Legendary Horseman” showcases his eclectic life. 

Jim blazed trails throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, embodying the Western ideal of horsemanship. His program continues at Malibu’s Saddlerock Ranch. He is survived by daughter Cheryl Wyllie, son Robert Wyllie, daughter-in-law Kathy, grandson Jimmy, sister Jessie Higginson and husband Bill, of R.I.

A memorial will be held April 15 at 4 p.m. at Pepperdine’s Stauffer Chapel; reception follows in the Fireside Room.

Pour être informé des derniers articles, inscrivez vous :
Commenter cet article