Jamie Zepp’s Life

A reporter, an adventurer, a friend.

Jamie Zepp was 45 years old when he was called to climb his last mountain on March 21, 2020.  He was born at Lakenheath Air Base, England on April 26, 1974.  He later lamented the fact that even though he was born in England, that did not make him a British citizen and therefore he could not be knighted.  In the last months of his life, he was able to return to England and considered it a homecoming.   

Jamie graduated from Rapid City Central High School in 1992 lettering in football and wrestling.  He then attended and graduated from the University of South Dakota (Vermillion) in 1996 with a Mass Communication Major.  During that time, Jamie was proud to be part of the USD Coed Spirit Squad, lending his booming voice and energy to support the Coyotes.   He later used his cheer skills to coach the Central cheer team.  During college he also served four years in the South Dakota National Guard.  After college graduation, he began his career in local television news and sports.  He started as a news reporter at KOTA-TV.  After a few short months, John Petersen, the News Director, took Jamie aside and said “You look like a sports guy!” And a 21 year, Emmy Award winning sports career was born!  

After working as the Sports Director at Rapid City, South Dakota’s locally owned  #1 station- KOTA- for a few years, Jamie then moved to Sioux City, Iowa where he was the Sports Director at KMEG.  Much to the delight of his family and friends, he returned to the Black Hills in 2002 to be the Sports Director of KEVN.  He stayed in that position for over 16 years, ultimately winning a Regional Emmy for his sportscast.  But Jamie was never one to rest on his laurels.  After reaching the pinnacle of success as a sports anchor/director/reporter, Jamie decided to chuck it all and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.  The entire 2190.9 miles which stretched from Georgia to Maine! He left on his adventure March 2018.  He completed his journey and set about writing a book to share the lessons he learned on the trail.  Sadly, after finishing the final re-write on his book, Jamie died of heart disease on March 21, 2020. He leaves behind family whom he loved, friends who know he can never be replaced, a legacy of creating an environment of joy and laughter, and the inspiration to others to climb their own mountain, if only to “see what’s on the other side.” 

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