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J. R. grew up in southern Idaho and Utah. He attended Colorado College for 2 1/2 years then worked for Outward Bound Schools in Texas as a logistics director. Moving to Alaska he graduated from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks with a degree in biological sciences and worked for 7 years in the biology field. Primarily he worked with researchers and native hunters studying the bowhead whales in northern Alaska. In 1982 in graduated in nursing and changed careers to nursing where he still works retiring from hospital work in 2010. Currently J. R. lives in Anchorage with his wife Jeanne and two cats. He is trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.