Kurt F. Lotspeich
April 21, 1952 - May 15, 2016
"I guess I am one of the lucky ones, not too many people get to write their own obituary. A good friend pointed out; I got a two minute warning. I don't know if that is good because it lets you plan a bit or bad because it hurts family and friends longer. At any rate that's what it is for me dying of a brain tumor."
Born April 21, 1952 to Frederick B. Lotspeich and Mildred A. Lotspeich in Pullman, Wash., Kurt Lotspeich passed away May 15, 2016 in Talent, Ore.
Kurt flew professionally, first in the Alaskan bush then for United Airlines for over 25,000 hours without injury to any passenger or crew (Of which I am proud.) Of course it took a lot of good help, thanks to all my worthy first officers.
Kurt's words left us there, he was not able to write any more before he passed away, but we must write more, he was so much more than one of us can tell you. So we combine our hearts and minds to forge words that perhaps we can imbue with a sense of who he was and will always be. If this reads like poetry then it is because that is what he inspired in us.
Kurt was a man of science to be sure, garnering a degree in biology with honors from the University of Alaska. He was an artist of rare calling too, his mediums the earthy pursuit of growing grapes and the alchemy of making wine. His humbleness about his own brilliant vintages made them all the more delightful. Kurt and Laura established Pheasant Hill Vineyard in 1990 and Trium wine in 2003.
His ultimate sense of freedom he found in flight, beginning in the wilds of the Alaska bush and soaring all the way to globetrotting internationally, from an old WW I sheepskin flight suit (not only warm but worn with honor for those brave aviators of yore) to a crisp and proud airline captain's uniform.
In all things he did his skill was rarely matched. His ability to design, build or repair just about anything was legendary. He routinely maneuvered passenger planes (737s, 747s, DC-10s, 777s) from gate to sky to gate with consummate professionalism. Kurt threaded more than his share of needles in a tiny bush plane in the harshness of the arctic wilderness. He could drive a tractor, a forklift and a semi like he was born doing it.
He was an innovator. His confidence that things could always be done better and easier was infectious. He leaves in his absence a family of pilots, viticulturists, and winemakers who sorely miss him as a resource and moreover, a loving friend.
Kurt was a dedicated father, gentle and caring brother, uncle, son, and husband. His unfailing honesty, professionalism, and generosity set a high bar indeed and he has left us with a stunning example of what a person can be. He was a dedicated boy scout leader while his sons participated. His sense of family stretched beyond the confines of blood and title and his love went uninhibited to those who needed it.
He is survived by his beloved life partner of 46 years and wife, of 39 years Laura; two children, Martin and Dustin; his mother, Mildred, 88; sisters, Claire and Paula; and brother Rick.
A memorial service will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. August 27, 2016 at Trium Winery in Talent, Ore.
In lieu of flowers and cards, Kurt requested memorial contributions be made to Compassion and Choices Oregon, 4224 NE Halsey St. Ste 335, Portland Oregon 97213, or to the Giovanni Costigan Foundation 501 C3, PO box 17559, Seattle, Wash. 98127 (this foundation assists with end of life medications for those who cannot afford them) or your local Hospice organization. He cared deeply about quality of life for everyone.