Submitted by her Family
Lillian May Patten‚ fire lookout on Williams Peak‚ Krassel Ranger District‚ Payette National Forest‚ was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday‚ August 13‚ 2006‚ about 18 miles west of Yellow Pine‚ Idaho. Lilli had been on Williams Peak each summer since 2001‚ and the 2006 fire season was the most intense of her six year experience‚ with many fires started by lightning strikes burning in the vicinity of Williams Peak. The helicopter‚ operated under contract to the United States Forest Service by Evergreen Helicopters‚ Inc. of McMinnville‚ Oregon‚ was bringing Lilli down from Williams Peak for a break. Also killed in the accident was U.S. Forest Service firefighters Michael Gene Lewis‚ 36‚ of Cascade‚ Idaho‚ and Monica Lee Zajanc‚ 27‚ of Boise‚ and contract pilot Quin R. Stone‚ 42‚ of Emmett‚ Idaho.
Lilli very much enjoyed the solitude and beauty of Williams Peak. She had mastered the technique of locating lightning strikes and wildfires. She was particularly adept at radio communication and was often the indispensable link between fire crews operating in her sector and their base. In her six summers on Williams Peak‚ she had become known among Forest Service personnel working in the Krassel District as ‘Lilli of the Mountain.’ Many felt they knew Lilli from her calm and friendly radio voice even though they had never met her in person.
Lilli lived in Olympia‚ Washington‚ when not in Idaho at Williams Peak. She had graduated in 2002 from Evergreen State College in Olympia where she had studied organic farming and art. She loved nature and was a creative artist in several different media.
Lilli was born in Portland‚ Oregon‚ and lived with her mother Loraine Patten in Portland and Newberg‚ Oregon. After her mother’s death when Lilli was eight‚ she lived with her aunt and uncle‚ Suzanne and David Tufenkian‚ and with cousins Jeffrey and Jennifer. As a fourth grader‚ she moved to Cyprus to join the family of another aunt and uncle‚ Jere and Ray Ewing‚ and Cousins Greg‚ Tom‚ and Joyce. A year later‚ Lilli moved with them to Annandale‚ Virginia‚ and attended Columbia Elementary School‚ Poe Middle School‚ and Annandale High School. She joined John Calvin Presbyterian Church and took modeling classes‚ serving as a model for art classes off and on for the rest of her life.
When Lilli was in 10th grade‚ the Ewing family moved to Ghana. On several visits‚ Lilli greatly enjoyed the beauty‚ music‚ art‚ and people of this West African nation. Her high school studies were in Portland‚ Victoria‚ BC‚ and the John Woolman School in Nevada City‚ California‚ from which she graduated in 1992. During her younger years‚ Lilli often spent extended vacations with another uncle and aunt‚ John and Jan Patten‚ and cousin Jason of Ukiah‚ California. She also spent periods of time with her beloved grandmother‚ Dorothy Patten‚ also of Ukiah.
During her high school years‚ Lilli began a relationship with her father‚ Bill Albrecht.
Her extended family greatly misses Lilli. She was a beautiful young woman‚ extremely creative‚ and loved all of nature. She had many friends‚ especially from the John Woolman School‚ Evergreen State College in Olympia‚ and Forest Service colleagues in Idaho. Our grief is tempered by knowing Lilli was where she wanted to be‚ doing work of great service for all who treasure and love our forests‚ and doing this work effectively and in close communication with others.