Philip Crane

Obituary of Philip G. Crane

Philip G. Crane passed away on July 24, 2014 in Olympia, Washington. He was 58 years old.

Phil was born in Seattle during the summer of 1956, while his parents were on a family vacation in the states. He grew up in Yokohama, Japan, where his parents lived for 22 years. In 1975, after graduation from high school, he moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University. In 1979, he received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Marine Resources from the Huxley College of the Environment. Phil became an avid photographer and scuba diver while he was in college.

Phil served in the Peace Corps twice, immediately after college in Malaysia and from 1983-85 in Papua New Guinea. Along with his Peace Corps Service, Phil held a variety of jobs during the 1980s. He volunteered at the Seattle Aquarium, worked at the Don’s Camera store in Bellevue Square and at the Washington State Department of Fisheries in Olympia and Battleground, Washington.

Phil lived in Yakima for over 15 years, working at the Washington Department of Ecology. Phil fully applied himself to his job in the Water Resources Program by studying the state’s water code and water rights case law, as well as learning from his colleagues and legal advisors. He gladly shared his opinions about water rights issues and decisions and took great pride in becoming an expert in water resource management, which was his career for 24 years, until the end of his life. After moving to the Olympia area in 2006, he continued working in the Water Resources Program at Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office in Lacey and, starting in the spring of 2013, for the Real Estate Services Office of the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Olympia.

Phil was an excellent black-and-white and color film photographer, reluctantly but eventually embracing digital photography. His art was shown in galleries in Yakima and Ellensburg, and his framed photos and cards are treasured by family members and friends. He generously shared his knowledge of cameras and photographic techniques. Special thanks to the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley Community College and Gallery One in Ellensburg for supporting and exhibiting his work. Phil, who was rarely without his camera bag, documented every family event, car trip, vacation, and bird-watching walk, providing a wonderful legacy of family memories and beautiful photos taken on land and underwater.

Phil was also an exceptionally fine home brewer, a craft learned and perfected while living in the Yakima Valley. There he met up with other home and craft brewers and a local hop supplier that specialized in supporting both. Phil traveled with them, as a “hop ambassador,” to conferences around the United States, forming lasting friendships with many fine and talented people in the micro brewing industry. Phil was a great cook, specializing in Asian food, and a master of the gas grill.

Phil is survived by his partner of 27 years and wife, Polly Zehm; father, Doug Crane of Bellevue; brother, Gordon (Joan Cawley) Crane of Ellensburg; sister, Cathie (Mike) Lockridge of Juneau, Alaska, niece, Megan and nephew, Gene; brother, Bert (Sheri Denchel) Crane of Sammamish and nephews, David, Ted and Angus; sister, Joanna Nicewonger of Bonney Lake and nephews, Daniel and Bill. Phil was also a beloved member of Polly’s family and dear brother-in- law to Jackie Vail. His mother, Margaret (Peggy Orr) Crane, died in 2008.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity or cause important to you and your community, such as local animal shelter, local hospice organization, the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy in Yakima, the Nisqually Land Trust in Olympia, the Larson Gallery Guild in Yakima, and Gallery One in Ellensburg.

Special thanks to the wonderful staff, nurses and doctors at Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice, Providence St. Peter Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center. Compassionate support from Phil’s many friends and colleagues at the Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Ecology and comprehensive healthcare coverage allowed the precious months at the end of Phil’s life to be filled with family visits, companionship, humor, friendship and love. We treasure the time we had with you, Phil.

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