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Barbara Ann Lane
Jan 9, 1949 to Jan 14, 2024
Ever an intuitive Barbara Ann Lane, always believed she would take flight with angel wings at age 75. Only five days after her 75th birthday, her last instinct became a reality as she lost her 4 year battle with ovarian cancer. Her family and friends referred to her as the “warrior princess” for her tenacity for life up to the time she passed away, after three rounds of different chemo treatments and then a short time with hospice.
Holding her hands with much love when she ascended, was her husband, Gary Lane, and son from a previous marriage Justin Smith, and unofficially adopted daughter, Malissa Edwards, by her side. Her biological daughter Ruth Smith, five years older than Justin, passed away in 1998, but left her four grandchildren: Sarah, Samantha, and Joshua Fredericks, and Joseph Van Tuyl. Justin also provided her with three grandchildren: Justin Junior, Angelica, and Ryan.
Barbara was born to John Daniel Boothe and Ruby Merle Dykes in Baton Rouge, LA on Jan 9, 1949. She had two brothers with the same biological parents: Johnny, two years older than her, and Glynn, two years younger, who died in a car wreck due to an epileptic seizure in 1974. She also had two half sisters, Gina Crane, seven years younger, sharing the same biological father, and Sonia Loren, fifteen years younger, sharing the same biological mother. However, Barbara was mostly raised by her second cousin Shirley Strickland and her husband Jimmy, until he divorced her
when Barb was 14 years old. She considered Shirley her real mother. She married soon after high school, but after an abusive relationship, lost her husband OD Smith when her kids were young, which became a challenge as a single mother. He was adopted by Sam and Dee Alberts, whose biological kids were Julane, Gloria, Jowanna, Johnwayne, and Brenda (who passed in 2017), then became like real brothers and sisters to Barb until her passing. After a few years in a second marriage, not abusive but ending in an amicable divorce, she eventually met her current husband Gary Lane. He had a river company, Wapiti River Guides, whom at age 50, she jumped into with both feet. She guided on the Salmon, Grande Ronde, and Owyhee Rivers for a couple years before back problems ended that career. But she continued on as a partner with the river outfitting business and helped keep the company afloat in Riggins. Though not the largest, they became the longest standing, original owner river outfitters in town, avoiding crowds and leading small, more personalized trips. Guests always loved her cooking and warm demeanor on the river, along with her genuine honesty and friendliness over the phone when handling inquiries and making reservations.
One of her favorite river trips was down the Grand Canyon in 2003, and is where Gary scratched out a message in the sand: “will you marry me,” to which she enthusiastically said yes. It led to their outdoor marriage on the banks of the Salmon River that fall. She was also very creative and made the rustic Wapiti River Guides headquarters an attractive eye catcher, with her unique landscaping created by use of flower, rock, and driftwood. She also made stick houses and bark faces out of driftwood that were collected on various rivers. Her favorite vacation was the trip to Hawaii with her husband in 2017 and she loved making nearly annual trips to the Oregon coast. She had a special connection to her daughter, Ruth, whose ashes had been scattered in the ocean years ago, and now can reconnect with her once again in the universal sea of life and energy. Feeding birds and keeping hummingbirds happy was a big pastime she enjoyed. Though she had no favorite birds, liking all of them, she did have a special connection to them. They often came to her at special moments in her life, like the raven that sat on the boat with her in the Grand Canyon, or the golden eagles that flew over her and her husband when they floated off into the sunset at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony.
Not only was she a lover of all things nature, she was a strong advocate for wolves and anadromous fish. She had a wolf spirit and with her husband started the first wolf education river trips in Idaho. Her interest and activism for the plight of salmon and steelhead was also a big passion. In the year 2000, after testifying at the ground zero public hearings in Lewiston for potential breaching of the four Snake River dams, she helped her husband start the first Sacred Salmon Ceremony, that now happens every spring (2nd Sat of May) at Spring Bar, 10 miles upriver of Riggins. Her innate interest in mother earth spirituality and the indigenous worldview stemmed somewhat from her Cajun blood, and early love for the natural world. Unfortunately, her biological parents represented an abusive parental childhood for her, and it ghosted her into adulthood, despite her loving cousin Shirlie who adopted her and gave her a good life, where she married early into yet another abusive relationship. Tragically, her first husband committed suicide after his own demons claimed him, which had a ripple effect to her two kids, age 7 and 12. This eventually led to a troubled future to both children, with addiction and incarceration a reality Barb had to deal with. She never gave up and devoted her entire later adult years supporting a son into a more successful lifestyle change. It was one of the proudest moments of her life to see her son change his ways and work toward a far better future.
Despite her humble beginnings, having very little in material value early on, and the experience of such challenging times as a kid and young adult, she never resorted to drugs or alcohol to deal with any of it. She faced the demons in her life head on and overcame them with time. This is a grand tribute to a lady who is a shining example of how humans can deal more positively with adversity in their lives. She was an exemplary example of the worthy principle of wisdom: it is far better to aim your bow at the sun and hit only the moon, than aim at the moon and hit only a rock.
She never minced words, sugar coated anything, or left anyone in wonder of how she felt about things. Her direct nature made her a fierce activist and advocate for many issues that impacted the environment and habitat needs for all fish and wildlife. Along with her stubborn toughness, was her soft heart and nurturing nature. She will be remembered as a champion for the outdoor world, who had a loving spirit and will always be known for the tracks she left behind. Now, in another dimension of the great circle of life, her loved ones will follow the ripples in her wake as she bravely dances on through the starry river of the Milky Way and uncharted waters of the Great Mystery.
May the flow of the spirit world be with you Until we meet again, fly higher Barbara Ann.