In memory: Jim Rouse

Jim Rouse

When I started collecting fountain pens and attending pen shows, people told me it would be the community that would keep me coming back to the hobby and the events again and again. I’ve met many people online through the hobby that have changed my life in their own way but what has been the most amazing discovery is  the vast array of people I’ve met at pen shows.

What no one warned me about was how many people I would also have to say good-bye to.

Yesterday, the pen community lost one of its favorite diamonds-in-the-rough, Jim Rouse.

While I cannot accurately recount his full professional history in the pen community, I know he worked for decades with Bert Oser before he took on the job as nibmeister at Franklin-Christoph. He once told me his whole pen history, complete with anecdotes about his beloved family, and despite copious amounts of post-pen show food and alcohol, I recall all the details clearly.

Jim was a charmer and a friend to everyone who came up to the Franklin-Christoph table at a pen show, from the youngest child to the oldest pen collector. He was talented, with just the right amount of sass, and he will be missed.

I never thought pens (and pen shows) would teach me to treasure ever moment of life so much. Hug your favorite your nibmeister (or pen repairperson, vintage dealer, Black Pen Society Member, or pen community illuminati, et al)*. You never know when it might be your last chance.

*Remember to ask before touching any pens or people. Its just good pen show etiquette.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I am so saddened by this news. Jim was a wonderful person who was so helpful to me over the years and was generous with his time and such a delightful man. I was so looking forward to seeing him in Dallas this year. The pen community has lost a jewel. I don’t know where he stood with the Lord, but hope I see him again.

  2. Dear Anna, I had often wondered where the heart of a cherished fountain pen would rest. After reading your post, I know the answer. It is in people like you. May your tribe increase!

  3. I feel like we were just in St. Louis with him egging us on at the pen auction. I’d only met Jim in my last 6 months of attending pen shows, but I looked forward to seeing him always. Much love to everyone in the pen community who is missing a friend today.

    1. I am so saddened to learn it is so. I did not know him well but knew instantly he was a jewel of a man. Jim was doing what he loved. My sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.

  4. I am a relative newbie to pen shows, and Jim was the first nibmeister I had ever met. This was was the June 2017 Triangle Pen Show. I watched in fascination as he studied my leftie overwriter style and then tuned the #5 Fine nib on my first-ever Franklin-Christoph Pen, a Model 45 Amber. He was very patient, watching me write a little more and then continuing to fine-tune it until we got it the way it should be. He then eye-droppered a barrel full of Black Forest ink, and I was ready to go. He did a further tuning of it earlier this year when our pen club visited the F-C headquarters for a tour. I never saw him rattled or rude; always trying to have that pen lover leave his area with a big smile. He will be missed, most definitely.

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