I’ve learned that Lee Crabtree has passed away. He finally lost his battle with a series of diabetes-related health issues that ended in a stroke.
Lee was a long-time member of the Northwest Paragliding Club, and served as President, as well as holding other BOD offices. He worked tirelessly to make the Club a positive force for our sport. He is well remembered for obtaining and handing out the little tree sticker icons, which were to be worn on your helmet, marking the wearer as a tree crash survivor. The idea was to bring the subject up in a positive way, and when he handed them out at the Club meetings, those receiving the tree sticker “award” would be asked to tell their story of the crash. It made the incident both entertaining and a learning experience.
That was the way he approached life. Dale Carnegie’s famous saying about “When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade”, describes Lee’s positive attitude. He was a joy to be around, and when in his seventies failing health made him finally, reluctantly, quit paragliding, he continued to show up at the Tiger LZ from time to time. At those moments it seemed the sun shone brighter.
Flying was in Lee’s blood. He earned his pilot’s license at a young age and flew small airplanes for years. He had some treat stories about those years, flying the passes back and forth to Eastern Washington.
A few years ago I did an interview with Lee for the NWPC Flypaper. I’ll try to find the article and repost it to the efly. However, there are many of you who knew Lee longer and better than I did. It would be nice if we could share some Lee Crabtree stories on this list. Since it’s not flyable, I couldn’t think of a better place to have a “wake” for Lee than right here. He was a special guy and I am sure many others have great memories of him. Maybe we could share them? They say, “dust to dust”, but in Lee’s case I think it’s, “blowin’ in the gentle wind”.