Dr. Richard Crone Dies; Former Resident was 80

Dr. Richard Allen Crone

Dr. Richard Allen Crone, a fisheries biologist and former Sitkan, passed away Nov. 5 at his home in Friend, Oregon. He was 80.

He was born in April 1943, in Portland, Oregon, the older of two children of Arthur and Helen (Clason) Crone.  

He spent his childhood in The Dalles and graduated from The Dalles High School in 1961. He was involved in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and was an Eagle Scout.

Dick earned a master’s in science from Oregon State University and a Ph.D. in fisheries biology from the University of Michigan. His graduate research was carried out with the support of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Southeast Alaska, providing the foundation for the development of an innovative approach to increase coho salmon returns in Alaska; the research demonstrated that some lakes could be used to rear coho fry until they were ready to go to sea.

While he was working on his Ph.D., he divided his time between working on his thesis in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and doing field research in Southeast Alaska. He enjoyed these cross-country trips, listening to the truckers on his CB radio and to his country music cassette tapes.

Dick and Elaine Gardner were married Feb. 27, 1971, and moved to Sitka in 1980, living here until moving to Friend in 2006.

Dick began working for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association in Sitka as the organization was forming in 1979.

As initial plans for this new organization were created, the NSRAA board chose to pursue the coho lake stocking program because of its cost-effective potential to significantly benefit commercial and sport fishermen. Dick was the logical choice to lead this new program and he devoted his entire career (more than 30 years) to its successful implementation.

Dick worked tirelessly and meticulously to understand, learn, and apply results. He loved working and living “in the field,” often for five or six months a year in rustic conditions.

Dick was well-known and respected by his peers for his knowledge, work ethic and enthusiasm. He served as a mentor to many up-and-coming fisheries professionals.

Not much of a fisherman himself, Dick derived great satisfaction at seeing others catch the fish that he helped create. The value of these salmon would total in the many millions of dollars over Dick’s career.

Dick was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine (Gardner) Crone, and his parents.

He is survived by his sister, Vicki Ann Sallee (Bob); and his nephew and nieces, Ed Sallee (Charlotte), Chris McCafferty (Jeremiah), Tracee Sallee, and Robin Sallee.

Great-nieces and great-nephews Nikki McCafferty, Myah McCafferty, Trevor West, and Cole Fox, Tiiahna Kline (Joshua), Kayla Sallee-Seibel (Kory); cousin Janet Kessell; and many close friends and colleagues also survive. 

Dick’s passion for biology led his family to establish the Dr. Richard A. Crone Scholarship, which supports graduating students who plan to pursue biology.   Contributions can be made to the scholarship fund in care of Vicki Sallee, 6855 Chenowith Creek,  The Dalles, OR 97058.

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