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I am sorry if this is a little alarming but heard a rumor yesterday that there was a death in Utila that affected an owner of one of the dive center?...Is this true? Can anyone share what happened if it happened?
Utila Lodge Dive Resort is deeply saddened to announce the passing of
Mr. Jim Engel, Saturday morning April 28th, 2007.
Born October 22nd, 1959 to James & Marilyn Engel in Garrison, N.D., Jim was a maverick from birth. Prior to moving his family to little Utila Island off the north coast of Honduras, Jim was active in rodeo, farming, construction, and marina operations. As a local dive shop owner trained in rescue and recovery diving, Jim earned a reputation as a man enormously competent, reliable, and eager to help anyone in need. This reputation would follow him the rest of his life.
Jim Engel married Kisty Kovarik in 1987. After owning and operating Dakota Divers in Minot, N.D for 10 years, the Engels decided to slow their pace of life and escape the cold weather in North Dakota. In 1993, along with a few friends, the Engels purchased Utila Lodge Resort from Bill and Evelyn Evans of Roatan. They packed up and moved their 2 children to Utila, where Jim managed Utila Lodge until his death.
But ‘Mr Jim’, ‘Capt. Jim’, or ‘bossman’, was never one to sit still. He and Kisty soon founded The Bay Islands College of Diving, a PADI 5Star CDC, offering quality dive instruction on Utila. This was the first of many businesses, which now include Utila Lodge Dive Resort, Bay Islands College of Diving, Jacamoe Properties/Coral Beach Resort, Red Ridge Stables (along with partner Ron Janssen), and the Bar-a-cuda Café.
It was his desire to improve life on Utila that most of us will remember him for. From creating the public park we enjoy on a Sunday afternoon, to bringing in Utila’s 1st hyperbaric chamber (and a 2nd one when the 1st was consumed by fire), to spearheading the effort that created Utila’s Fire Department, arranging and providing the facilities for eye doctor clinics and free veterinary clinics to help reduce island strays. In times of adversity, be it financial or a hard blow from Mother Nature, he kept the island’s co-op power company going . With Kisty by his side quietly arranging funding, donations, and manpower, Mr. Jim was at the heart of all these community projects. But Jim’s influence was more than terrestrial.
His love of the ocean spearheaded efforts that lead to Utila’s reef-saving mooring system. Jim created the island’s 1st government approved whale shark research facility, and through their latest endeavor, the Whale Shark Oceanic Research Center, it is hoped that through visual tagging and DNA sampling, researchers may learn more about saving these Gentle Giants of the Sea.
‘Mr. Jim’ was a force of nature, and a man who got things done. His efforts have improved Utila, and the lives of those of us living here in more ways than can be counted. From his public service work, to the jobs he provided, to the occasional loan of a boat or a dollar to a friend in need, there are many of us who owe him a debt he never wanted repaid.
Jim died of a coronary in his sleep in the early morning hours of Saturday April 28th, 2007. He is survived by his parents Jim & Marilyn, his sister Nancy, his wife Kisty, son Shawn, daughters Rebecca & Tara, son-in-law Kelly, and 3 grandchildren, who wish to thank all of you who have sent your prayers & condolences their way.
Utila Lodge Resort
Bay Islands College of Diving
Whale Shark Oceanic Research Center
Utila Hyperbaric Chamber
I was aware of mr. Engels passing. Unfortunetely for the diving community I hear there was another inident this past days of the owner of another dive shop. (UDC). I really aplologyze if this is alarming but I dive in both operations UDC and The College and I would hate for any of the later to be true.