Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Lake Stevens High School loses beloved teacher


March 26, 2012

Contributed Photo

Sadness and shock reverberated throughout the halls of Lake Stevens High School and the entire community last week at the sudden passing of beloved history teacher Jim Talley.

Students, their parents and co-workers are devastated by the loss of such an inspirational and caring teacher, one who was known to be tough but kind, hard-working and devoted to his students and their success.

“Mr. Talley touched so many young lives and those of his adult colleagues as well. He inspired hundreds of students as a result of his passion for his subject matter and for teaching. This is a tremendous loss for our district and the entire community,” Lake Stevens School District Superintendent Amy Beth Cook said.

Talley taught at Lake Stevens High School for the past 20 years and is revered as “one of my favorite teachers,” by many of his students.

“Mr. Talley was the most caring, talented educator I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was, and will continue to be someone that I think about often,” Melinda Hope, LSHS Class of 2005 said. “My only hope is that my children will find a teacher like Mr. Talley to inspire them to want to learn.”

Mr. Talley’s Facebook page is filled with comments from many who knew and loved him. This page was created by a former student as “an easy way for a nostalgic college student from Lake Stevens to remember her favorite High School teacher.” Since his passing, his page has taken on a new meaning, a place where students, past and present, can remember Mr. Talley in writing and as a place to share their thoughts as they mourn.

When speaking to his students a continuous theme occurs and that is the amount of care he showed towards all of his students.

“The amazing thing about Mr. Talley was that he genuinely cared about his students and believed we could all do something incredible with our lives. He was encouraging and inspirational,” Class of 2005 student Kelcey Hatch said. “He pushed us to be better, to try harder, and to want more.”

It does not come as a surprise that Mr. Talley’s students had one of the highest passing rates for AP classes across the nation.

Mr. Talley suffered a brain aneurysm on Wednesday, March 21, as he was preparing for the National Honor Society induction. He was transported to Providence Hospital in Everett and subsequently transported to a Seattle hospital.

After undergoing several evaluations and procedures he passed away early Thursday evening from the damage caused by the aneurysm.

Mr. Talley was the first to put together Advanced Placement curriculum for LSHS and submit it to the College Boards for approval. In all, he gained approval for advanced placement classes in US History, European History and Art History. Throughout the years he helped fellow teachers with the AP curriculum and approval process.

Mr. Talley also received many awards during his tenure as a teacher including being recognized twice as the History Teacher of Distinction by the University of Washington.

Just this past month he received the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution 2012 Outstanding American History Teacher Award. He also received the Lake Stevens School District’s Apple Award for outstanding service.

Eleven years ago he initiated the Jo Desrosier Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown the ability to persevere through tough circumstances and has plans to further his or her education.

He also started the Lake Stevens High School’s Pre-kindergarten through sixth grade Fun Run, which has been an annual event for the past 12 years.

Photo taken from Contributed Photo

Students have created a memorial for Mr. Talley in front of the door of his classroom at Lake Stevens High School. Flowers, cards and stuffed animals are piled high as a way of remembering their beloved teacher.

A Memorial Service was held for Mr. Talley at the Lake Stevens High School gym on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.

If you would like to view or post on his Facebook page go to


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