Condolences pour in for CEO

The unexpected death of James Scarlett, CEO of Scarlett Inc., in an April 12 plane crash has saddened the industry and the community-at-large, and has led to an outpouring of condolences and remembrances. 

In an obituary, Scarlett was described as a "force of nature" and a "man of many interests and a collector of hobbies." To view the obituary, click here 

Here are some of the comments on James Scarlett's passing. 

Timothy Fixmer, president and CEO, Woodworking Network and CCI Media, who has worked with Scarlett for many years, said:

"I was absolutely devastated to receive the news today of James’ untimely, tragic death. James was a solid business professional, a man of integrity, who gave unselfishly to the woodworking industry. He was a superb leader who will be sorely missed. His father, Jim, was an outstanding mentor to me when I first started publishing in the woodworking industry. I learned a great deal about the distribution business from Jim, and I was thrilled to learn, decades later, that James had filled his father’s shoes. After getting to know James through WMIA, and later WIA, it was evident that he had done a great job of filling those shoes. 
I grieve for Jim and for Amanda and their young children. James will be missed by all but remembered for the outstanding contributions he made to our industry." --Timothy Fixmer, Woodworking Network/CCI Media.

Colleague Brian Donahue, president of Safety Speed, released the following statement: 

"I have known James for years and was always impressed with his ability to welcome everyone to the industry and his drive to help everyone around him be successful.  This last week he and his wife were not only welcoming to all industry associates but were what all leaders should aspire to be in life.  He will be missed by us all,  but never forgotten as he has made his mark on all of us. " -- Brian Donahue, president, Safety Speed

In addition to his business interest, Scarlett was also involved in the community and was described as a man who was “more than just a businessman; he was a pillar in the community." One charity that he donated a lot of his time was with the Adaptive Skill Association, which works with handicapped athletes and young people to help them enjoy the outdoors.

"Our community is heartbroken by the loss of James.  In addition to his family, business, and professional contributions, James donated his time and talents as a leader in our local adaptive ski program, as well as a coach for the local youth ski racing program.  He recognized how fortunate we all were to be able to enjoy snowsports, and he passed that passion on to many handicapped athletes and to hundreds of young people at our local hill.  James’s mischievous smile, sharp wit, and boundless energy are dearly missed within our West Michigan community." 
-- Josh Szymanski 
Adaptive Ski Association West Michigan Board Member &
Forest Hills Youth Ski Team Coach

Many comments were also posted to LinkedIn and to other social media channels.

CR Onsrud

"We are profoundly saddened by the passing of James Scarlett, President of Scarlett Inc. and a cherished friend to many at C.R. Onsrud. James was much more than an industry colleague; he deeply touched our lives and brought light and warmth to everyone around him. His remarkable contributions made the world a brighter and more fulfilling place. 

WEIMA America Inc.

James will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this incredibly difficult time."James Scarlett was an incredible human being. He was an active and passionate leader within the wood industry, he loved his family, and was active in his community.

The WEIMA team is shocked and deeply saddened by this news. We'd like to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues during this very difficult time.

Thomas W. Tuck III, Regional Sales Manager - CR Onsrud, Inc.

James Scarlett left an impression with everyone he came into contact with. Always smiling, cheerful, joking, and overall, an increable person to know and be around.

His impact on the industry and me personally, will live on for a long long time. James will be missed and those that knew him, we all will have a tough time getting through this one. 
Love You Buddy!


We are deeply saddened by tragic death of James Scarlett.

On April 12, James was in a fatal plane crash on his way home from the Wood Industry Conference in Florida.

He was a husband, father, leader, innovator, adventurer, and a friend to many. As president of Scarlett Inc, James profoundly impacted the lives of countless people from across the industry. Our heart goes out to his wife, his children, his colleagues, and all his loved ones.

James will be truly missed!

Editors Note: Woodworking Network will continue to update this page with additional comments. 


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About the author
Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).