A tribute to Kim Crumbo from Kirk
When I first met Kim about 15 years ago, I thought, “So this is Kim Crumbo, the guy whose name I come across so often.” He did not strike me as particularly remarkable. However, as we got to know each other on campouts (Rumble X), a river trip down the Green River (Trek West) and our involvement with Wildlands Network, The Rewilding Institute, and the Lobo Coalition, I came to see that he was indeed extraordinary. When I think of Kim now, these words come to mind: steady, solid, competent, reserved, humble and compassionate. The man had it together.
I was a Mormon missionary in northern California for two years, beginning in the spring of 1967, and proselytized on the Peninsula that summer—The Summer of Love as it became known. What a trip! Within a year of returning, I felt I had done my due diligence and became an atheist, a philosophy major, and an antiwar activist, all at approximately the same time. Kim, who is a few months older than me, had spent some of his formative years in Utah—in Duchesne with his grandfather, who was enrolled in the Ute Tribe if I am not mistaken—and in Salt Lake City, where he attended Granite High. After high school he enrolled in the Navy and became a Navy SEAL, serving two tours in Vietnam. Ours were two strikingly different paths that met and converged like the forks of a river. A couple of years ago, Kim graciously accepted my invitation to become a member of the board of my organization, Western Wildlife Conservancy, alongside our mutual friend Allison Jones of Wild Utah Project.
In the course of time, Kim and I had many conversations, in person and via email, on many subjects, including ethics—something we had both given a lot of thought to. We discovered that our views aligned despite our radically disparate pasts, or maybe because of them. We also shared a wry sense of humor. As a result, and because of our shared passion for conservation, I came to feel an intimate connection with Kim. And I believe it was mutual. I know this happened with many of you as well. As I got to know him better, I found that I wanted to be more like Kim.
My circle of conservation friends widened because of Kim, for which I am grateful. We are a family. When I learned around ten years ago that he and his wife Becky would be relocating from the South Rim to Ogden, Utah, where Becky has family, it made me happy. Most of my past friendships had faded into the distance with the years, and now 30 miles up the road I had a true friend and kindred spirit to share time and ideas with as we grew old. Sadly, that has now come to an end. But I will not forget Kim, his smile, twinkling blue eyes and bear hugs; and the good work he did will live on. It is our responsibility to see to it and to build on it. I will also think of wild and beautiful Shoshone Lake now and then. That’s the way Kim liked it: wild and beautiful. So long, Kim, glad I ran into you.