"Few people have careers that combine professional and personal passions. Bob Lane, 80, of Anacortes, was one of the lucky ones, whose passions for writing and boating intersected," wrote Christine Willmsen of the Seattle Times in today's obituary for PassageMaker magazine's longtime Seattle-area contributor.
Lane, himself, a retired Seattle Times news reporter, died Thursday, Feb. 5, from complications of a stroke he suffered in mid-December.
The obituary quoted Lane's daughter, colleagues at the Times, his friend and cruising guide author Mark Bunzel and PassageMaker Editor-in-Chief Peter Swanson.
"Writing and the whole journalism thing was in his blood throughout his life,” said daughter Martha Walsh, of Seattle.
Mark Bunzel said, “People in Anacortes were thrilled to have a nationally known marine writer right in their community.”
Mr. Lane was born in Olympia and grew up on a small farm in Maltby, Snohomish County. He met his wife, Polly Lane, at the University of Washington, where he graduated in 1956.
He started his career at The Yakima Herald in 1956 and then was hired at The Seattle Times in 1961, working beside his father, who was a Seattle Times journalist from 1941 to 1967. Mr. Lane then worked beside his wife, a business reporter at The Times, writing about King County government during his 32 years at the newspaper.
Walsh remembers that when she was a child the dinner-table conversations were always about current events and news in Seattle. Her father also took photos and had a darkroom in their Seattle home.
Alex MacLeod, former managing editor of The Seattle Times, and other staff members recall Mr. Lane as a “solid guy. He was very careful, open and extremely helpful to younger reporters.”
After leaving the newspaper in 1993, Mr. Lane became a yacht broker, but he wrote in a story that he wasn’t a good salesman. He returned to his roots, writing for PassageMaker, a magazine about cruising trawlers.
Just months ago, he wrote his last story, about the unvarnished history of the magazine, which was founded in 1995.
“He had integrity and was diplomatic,” said PassageMaker Editor-in-Chief Peter Swanson. “And what he wrote about life on the water came from the heart as well as the head.”
The Lanes explored parts of Alaska and British Columbia in their 42-foot Grand Banks boat called Quadra.
“It was a challenge, and he enjoyed calculating the tides, current and weather,” Walsh said.
Polly Lane died in 2007. In addition to his daughter, Mr. Lane is survived by his son, Doug Lane, of Seattle, as well as his sister, Barbara Vogel, of Sunriver, Ore.
At Mr. Lane’s request, no services will be held. The family said remembrances may be made to the San Juan Preservation Trust.
Pick up a copy of the April issue of PassageMaker to read our own tribute to Bob Lane. The issue hits newsstands 3/24/15.