- 61 years old
- Date of birth: Mar 2, 1952
- Place of birth:
North Bend, Oregon, United States
- Date of passing: Feb 8, 2014
- Place of passing:
Bend, Oregon, United States
|THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO. ― John Muir|
Friends of Tim: Stay connected to this web site for updates on, and ways to participate in upcoming activities related to honoring Tim's work and carrying on his legacy of protecting wildlands and restoring ecosystems.
To obtain Tim's book on forest restoration in Eastern Oregon, go to:
To obtain a DVD of the February 23, 2014 memorial service for Tim, See Mike Riley's Memorial Tribute post below.
A CONSERVATION ICON
Tim Lillebo was one of the longtime stars of the Oregon Wild staff and denizen of efforts to protect wildlands in Oregon. He began working for Oregon Wild as one of its first staff in 1975, and ever since has defended roadless areas and protected east-side old-growth forests via lobbying in Washington D.C.; collaborating with public agencies and diverse interests to create ecosystem restoration projects.
Tim lived with his beloved wife Karen in Tumalo. He spent much of his time on the road traveling throughout eastern Oregon to work with scientists, tribes and political leaders on forest issues. He played key roles in passing Wilderness legislation over the years and has served on a number of advisory committees. He was a mentor to many successful forest advocates.
Tim was a former timber faller with a strong blue collar background. Working in the woods gave him an appreciation for the forests. Tim always said he wished more of the public could see the spectacular east-side pine forests he and many others worked to project and restore.
Tim's determination and dedication were belied by his laid-back nature. He was as easy to like as an old-growth forest. He spent his free time hunting, hiking, running rivers, gardening, spending time with his family and, appropriately enough, growing trees.
People of all political stripes and philosophies on land management deeply respected Tim Lillebo, and his memory will live forever through his legacy of wild places, and inspired people.
"A true Eco-Warrior....still missed!"
"Tim....man....I think you would've enjoyed the ammosexual, Y'all-Qaeda show at the refugee. Many a rounds of beer, some big time swear.... Tim....you missed the show....and we miss you."
"Damnit, Tim, we are missing you! Your presence is right there, in the quiet of the woods, and the sweet sound that only a pondo makes in a breeze. But still, we miss you."
"Still missing you, Timmy! Sam still wears your old purple HS jacket to school some times. And as my eyes age I am using your reading glasses to read about Einstein, Mars and love. They are the only ones that work for me, which I hope means that I share at least a tad of your love of life and vision for a wild future."
"Tim. What a Soul - as tall as a Ponderosa's biggest, deep roots spreading, home to winged, furry, wild-climbing, winds and the curious. Every day those smiling eyes beam on sweet Karen, friends, family, the Wild lands and high desert - what a gift you continue to share. Thank you, Timmy!!"
"Dear Friends-- I know all of you are remembering, and mourning today, as I am. Do know that efforts are underway to designate a lasting legacy for Tim. Many of his closest friends and some of the biggest names in the modern conservation history of the Pacific Northwest are involved.
Please consider being a part of this effort in whatever capacity suits your means and abilities. Contact Oregon Wild for details.
Thanks, I'm heading out to find some big pines where I can stand fulfilled, and remember the best friend big pines ever had. Love and healing to all of you,
"Tim was a special friend. We met in junior high school and stayed in contact for many years thereafter. I, as I suspect many, counted him as my best friend. We used to skip to Tom and Goldy's house to work on a an old motorcycle or some other project he had going in the garage. Later, in high school, it was down to Lehman's fish market for a couple of crabs for us to crack as we sat and watched Willamette lazily drift by. When we eventually got motorcycles that actually worked, we took trips around the Northwest together. They were always incredible, filled with stops to look at distant mountains or streams below bridges, maybe ones his father had built. It was always a great feeling to ride side by side with him and unexpected when you got behind and found him riding along with one leg stuck straight out the back or standing on his seat around the next corner. And he was there for me when I wrecked and stayed with me until I was okay. In many ways, he saved and shaped my life. He cared about me and now reading these many memorials, I realize he cared about everyone. His work and his life were dedicating to preserving the world that nurtures us all. He was an idealist but his ideals were right. I will never forget him and each year, I will plant a tree in his memory. Say "Hi" to Kyle for me, Tim. I expect I'm not too far behind to catch you standing on the seat around the next corner."
"I knew Tim from the late 1970s and early 1980s working in John Day and Prairie City. He and my other friends in Grant County Conservationists were great inspirations for my entire career. Now I am retired and doing volunteer conservation work in Arizona and internationally.
I remember hikes and ski trips and a "hunt" when we talked too much and scared any game away. I also remember venison at his table in Prairie City. Tim's legacy in eastern Oregon will never be forgotten. The trees, the forests, the wildlife and the people thank him."
"DVD's of Tim's memorial service are now available to purchase for $15.
It is a moving tribute to Tim and captures all the great stories we heard that day, February 23, 2014.
The Environmental Center (TEC), where Tim's office was located in Bend, is coordinating DVD sales. Thus the web link below goes to their web site. I work there.
The $15 price is meant to recoup the time and out-of-pocket costs of the videographer to record, edit and produce the DVD. All proceeds of DVD sales will go back to him; none will be kept by TEC.
If you would like a copy of the DVD, follow these instructions.
To order your DVD online and pay via PayPal:
1) Go to this web site: http://envirocenter.org/support-us/
2) Click the "Donate" button, which is right below the line that says "Make a one time donation."
3) Enter $15 in the donation amount box and then enter your required credit card and contact info, or log in and pay with your own pay pal account (if you have one). Note: You must enter your email address so that we can contact you quickly if there is a problem. (FYI: We will not get your phone number even if you enter it.)
4) Click "Review Donation and Continue".
5) Click the link that says "Add special instructions to the seller" and then enter "Lillebo DVD". This tell us what the funds are for.
6) Complete/submit the payment transaction.
Or, you can call 541-385-6908 x10 and talk to Marianne to place your order.
We will do our best to mail the DVD to you within 3 days of receipt of your payment.
Finally, DVDs will be mailed only after payment has been received.
It's still hard for me to imagine I won't hear Tim's "Hey, Rascal!" greeting anymore, smell his burning toast or lingering cigar, or enjoy a hike and story in a truly wild place with Timmy again.
The Environmental Center"
"I just keep thinking that the best possible tribute is to establish the Tim Lillebo Wild Legacy. Commonsense expansions of wilderness areas in Eastern Oregon, to protect lands and inhabitant species from an ecosystem perspective instead of just a political-deal perspective. There are so many spots that can provide better wild values than they currently do -- many of them candidates in NREPA. The question is, can Oregon Wild (can a broader coalition of groups and iindividuals) come together to estbalish the Tim Lillebo Wild legacy?
More than that: what about establishing an educational program to share and expand Tim's amazing ability to live knowledgeably in his own landscape? The more that each of us develops a broad and deep understanding of the places where we live, work and play, the better prepared each of us is to take action to protect and restore our own home range.
I'm sure that others whose lives Tim touched have their own ideas about actions that we can take together to remember our amazing friend and teacher. Tim taught us so many lessons. I really want to help to make sure that they are not forgotten.
I work as a technical writer and would be happy to contribute to exploring and organizing ideas to create the only memorial worthy of Tim: a living legacy, forever wild."
"I am very sad to hear of Tim's passing. I worked with Tim in the early '80's as a timber sale forester on the Ukiah Ranger District, Umatilla National Forest. He was always polite and never got in my face, ever. I paid him the same respect. The USFS was under tremendous pressure to get out the "Ronald Regan Cut", a doubling of the national harvest levels. Tim and others united with FS employees to stop it. I fully support initiatives to name or re-name a wilderness area in Tim's name. My favorite is Ice Lake in the Eagle Cap's - a good candidate."
"A collection of fond memories of Tim:
* Around camp, the way he collected dead Larch branches to entertain us with late night fireworks erupting from the fire;
* On a road trip, the way he could extend the adventure with hidden snacks stashed in the corners his truck;
* On a field tour, the little airline whiskey bottle that he would pull out when you least expect it ... to reinforce the bonds between people and the land they shared;
* At the office, the funny tech support calls he would make to me at the crack of dawn when he couldn't get his @#$%(*& computer to work;
* The way he shared his infectious love of the land, and his equally deep respect for people;
* Before leading a hike, the way he undersold every old growth grove and roadless area, so that people would be more impressed when they saw it themselves;
* At the Desert Conference, the way he described the Home Creek Death March in the most unfavorable terms to scare off the uninitiated, but it was still a full hike anyway;
* In my daily life every day since his passing, it is so easy to conjure a crisp image of Tim, because he was a technicolor character, with a distinctive, look, voice, and temperament ... a one-of-a-kind human we were so lucky to know."
"I have a memory of time with Tim I'd like to share. OR Wild had a Metolius River walk with Tim scheduled in late June some years ago. No one else came except for me and my partner Howard Blumenthal. We did had the most wonderful time walking through the beautiful places where he guided us, stopping from time to time for a discrete smoke behind a tree. We've been to the Metolius River many times after that day, and we always think of Tim each time we visit that section of river. It's heaven!"
"At the service last Sunday, several folks began their stories with "I met Tim back in the 70's or 80's....." The amount of time that I knew Tim pales in comparison to many others. I had the honor of knowing him for a mere six years. But Tim had an uncanny ability to make an impact on one's life in a short period of time. Somehow, someway, there was something about him where just moments after you met him, you somehow couldn't imagine the world without him.
In my first month on staff at Oregon Wild, Tim and I went to Washington, D.C. for a four-day lobby visit. I must have asked him a million questions and in hindsight, many of them were stupid. But he never made me feel that way. And he answered each one with sincerity and a charm that few can rival. In a sea of lobbyists wearing $5,000 suits, Tim and I certainly stuck out. And we got a few raised eyebrows when Tim would be trying to re-light the cigar he'd stuff back into his shirt pocket. But there's nobody that I'd rather have show me the ropes and be fighting the good fight with.
Much of Tim's legacy can be seen on a map and will be enjoyed by future generations. Hikers, backpackers, rafters, and wildlife enthusiasts will create unforgettable memories in places like Lookout Mountain, Monument Rock, Strawberry Mountain, and North Fork John Day for years to come. And even if they never knew Tim, they'll be the beneficiaries of his lifetime of dedication and love for the wildlands of eastern Oregon.
Another part of Tim's legacy lies in the inspiration he provided for so many of us as we strive to carry on his work. The portion of Oregon that Tim protected is significant. Tim's legacy on future maps will continue to grow as his inspiration carries us further in our work as we protect even more of the lands he loved.
In many very real ways, Tim was the heart and soul of Oregon Wild. It doesn't feel right to say that Tim was a co-worker. Tim was a friend and he taught me a lot. And for that, I'll always be thankful. He'll be forever missed, but never, ever forgotten.
Keep it wild, by golly!"
"Today - Tim's 62nd birthday.... I've thought about all the memories of Tim and I'm sure everyone has special moments. My moments range from backpacking, to Tim re-arranging rocks on the Middle Fork to change the sound of the water. Tim seemed to have a way of truly dialing down to the simple (and most important). One memory I have was at the Middle Fork - Tim teaching us about the grass that we were to identify and pull " not even the cows like it" - we pulled and I was thinking "how in the hell is he going to eradicate a weed?".... and then seeing Tim with his back brace and cigar hanging out of his mouth pulling for hours - the man didn't give up. I believe he never imagined that he couldn't accomplish (eventually) what he put his mind to. Tim - you made every day a happier day and I'll miss you! Thank you for all the lessons, friendship and adventures."
You are my brother, my brother for all time. You are the brother I didn't have by family, but the brother I had with the natural world. You will always be that brother to me and I will always value you more that you can know.
Here's a tip of the hat, a raised glass, a hearty toast to the man who always showed up, never said quit, never complained, and never showed down even when the going got real tough.
Tim you're as tall as the trees you helped to save, and in ways mightier! You lived a hundred lives and you lived them to their fullest, with all your zest and zeal, and all of your keen tact and spunk.
It's a high bar you leave.
Here's to you and to your next 100 birthdays!"
"I hardly knew Tim. Only through my brother did I hear of his adventures. When my mother told me Tim was gone I had a sense of loss. Ric said to me he wished I had the opportunity to know him better. My dedication to Tim is the work I have been given on the restoration of a beautiful creek on the land I just bought to retire on. Me and my brothers efforts on Woodman creek and the Eel river are done in tribute to Tim. May he breath the sweet smell of our forests through eternity."
"I loved Tim Lillebo...he was a good friend with a Big Heart - he was such a good man - his passion for the Wilds inspired us all.
By preserving the external Wilds he was preserving our inner Wild our inner knowing - our true natures. He lived his true passion and calling as The Wilds were and are the epicenter of his being.
Yes to Timmy, Timbo, Lillebo...he who dedicated his life to the Wilds He who inspired us to be environmentalist and to never give up or turn away from that which is necessary in sustaining us on every level of our being.
Yes to the Wildness that surrounds us and the Wildness that is within us.
Broken Open with Love for Timbo,
"I am truly at a loss for words. An angel to our earth and a warrior for our environment. Tim my friend - you were called too quickly!! You taught me diplomacy, patience, and kindness for those that seemed to be against everything we stand for. You did it with warmth and respect. You gave so much to so many. I will forever miss your presence and your strength. I wonder how we will do without your guidence? I will be a better guardian of my earth. I will forever be a better person for knowing you. When I look to the forest I will see you. Perhaps on the other side, we will reunite to be incredible advocates for our universe. I will not say goodbye, I will say "See you friend ~""
"I had a brush with greatness because I knew Tim Lillebo. So long too soon brother. What we all have to do now for his legacy to be cast in stone is decide where the Tim Lillebo Wilderness area will be. I suggest the north fork of the Malheur or the east end of the Mutton Mountains. Wherever it is... it must happen! No one person can pick up his torch, it will take a collective to even attempt to replace him. Thanks to all who wrote words of kindness here. Love is alive."
"Tim's dedication to protecting the forests of the Northwest was awe-inspiring. He worked with me in Washington, DC for about six months during the Ancient Forest Campaign, and he was a wizard at chatting up Congressional staffers, getting good information, and making friends wherever he went. I could always rely on Tim for a big smile, a great hug and a good story about his day's work. Tim was a special person who inspired everyone he touched. I'll miss him.
You did good, Tim."
"I met Tim 5 years ago when I moved back to Bend, after living out of the state for close to 30 years, to raise my daughter in the mountains and forests I had loved so much growing up in. I wanted to do something to protect the forest and was looking for a way to get involved. I called Tim, and he graciously talked me through where things stood and made some suggestions on where I might start. We also talked a lot about hunting and how it had been in the old days.
Tim told me about his early days in the John Day country, and how he became dismayed at the loss of the big trees. I realized he had started speaking up for old growth at a time and place where you could killed for a lot less. My respect tor Tim was cemented at that moment and would only grow as I got to know him more. I initially thought of Tim as a really good guy and a kindred spirit, but now looking back on it, I see he was taking me under his wing and guiding me.
We worked together on the Deschutes Collaborative and through my activities with the Sierra Club. I was trying to learn the ropes on forest management and conservation, and Tim was my mentor. How fortunate for me that was. Tim always made time to meet and made the extra effort to go over maps, recommend books to read, and people to connect with. Tim allowed me to serve as his proxy and later share his seat on the steering committee for the collaborative. I can't begin to fill his shoes, but I'll count it as a huge honor that Tim considered me for that position.
My last memory of Tim was meeting with him on Thursday at the Environmental Center to talk about coordinating our efforts to be more effective in protecting the forest. That Saturday, I heard about his death.The hole he leaves is immense on a personal level, and unfillable for the conservation community.
Durn it Tim, you rascal. You've left us in a heck of a fix."
"Tim will always be a king to me.
My 26 years with Tim began with his mentoring, and circles on fireman's maps of wild forests in Oregon needing photos and help. It was magical and the start of my own hero's journey. Many campaigns, losses and victories together.
Tim my trusted and lifelong friend, Tim my confidant, cohort, compadre, my valued conscious and my hero. Oh Tim how you helped me to succeed! How I've cried, blathering!
There are grand trees, two big pondos and one four foot dia. majestic larch-my three trees- in E. Or. in the Malheur that I thought Tim would outlive. I believe I will find another out there as his.
A heroes journey never ends!
One of two men in my life that I truly loved, and I told him so many years ago. The other is my dad.
Tim (and dad) gave me all a good person could ever need, and so very much more! Thank you again.
Unable to attend memorial due to job commitment in Indio, CA, but Tim would expect this of me and respect this no less. I will be there from here, and I will not miss the next one.
Hope someone is planning an annual celebration, BYOP (bring your own photos) I will bring mine!"
"On the eve of the memorial for our dear Middle Fork friend, I am still in a state of deep sadness and awe that this is a reality. Selfishly and naively, Brian and I thought we had years and years of future potlucks, shared beer and whiskey, laughs, as well as "we can change the world" conversations ahead of us. As fellow conservationists, we have valued Karen and Tim's passion and expertise, general zest and spirit, along with their friendship. Tim, you are a part of the trees, rivers, and us. We have a deep gratitude for our shared memories both amidst the MF and in Central OR. You HAVE changed the world."
"I met Tim many years ago when we were students together in a Lewis and Clark College overseas study program in Denmark. Tim was an old soul even then--an old soul who could drink a prodigious amount of Danish beer! While the rest of us were bumbling around in our early-twenties angst Tim seemed to see beyond the obvious. I wasn't surprised by his chosen career. He belonged outdoors and he belonged amid those who would safeguard the natural world for all of us. Our land has lost a good steward."
"I met Tim when I worked on ONRC's development staff back in the late eighties/early nineties. Those were busy days for Tim- he was in the thick of the ancient forest campaign. But he found the time to welcome me to ONRC and over the years he's always greeted me with me with a big smile. what a great guy! I think he's the best "ambassador" the forest movement has ever had. Tim-I'll miss you at PIELC this year and every year there after."
"Karen had insisted that Tim learn to dance before their wedding. Since Tim and I were two of the earliest tenants at the Central Oregon Environmental Center, I got to be his practice partner. I remember many twirls around the COEC first floor to 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.....
I'm still trying to get a ride from downtown Portland to Bend for the memorial celebration on Sunday. Call Mary at 503-317-7601 if you have a spot."
"The State of Oregon was of great fortune to have Tim born within it's boundaries. He understood the importance of place - and protecting it. I think back in time when many of us were lucky enough to meander here from other parts of the world in the late 70's and early 80's, saw what Tim saw and had the good sense to stay and raise our families. I think about the "Tragedy of the Commons" because Tim understood it implicitly. We must continue to protect, in Tim's name, that which belongs to us all (though in fact, really belongs to no one) by holding the vessel, the arena, necessary for discussion of public policy decisions on our resources. It must be open and inclusive and forward thinking for the next generations who are starting to come home from colleges afar to settle back into this most temple-like land. I honor your civility, Tim, your understanding of collaboration and the way you walked the journey of your your life to find common ground. Loved your damn big grin. My heart is so sad that you are gone."
"Having only occasional professional and personal contact with Tim -- but punctuating his entire career with ONRC and mine on my own turf -- I don't have many of the special stories that were his calling card. But I am compelled to express my appreciation and admiration for Tim's persistence and accomplishments on behalf of the American public and Oregon's wildlands -- and my sorrow at his untimely departure. Godspeed, friend. We'll catch up one of these days."
Almost always around a fire at the Newbold’s, the Smith’s, Sean and Leila’s, Ron and Lauren’s, Tim and Marie’s, Mike and Minny’s, on a river trip, a Christmas tree hunting party, or occasionally at 10 Barrel or McMinnimans, I could count on be greeted with: “Hey, Rascal, how the hell are you doing?” There would be Tim, quietly tending the fire.
I would see Tim five to ten times a year – almost without exception around a fire. His greeting would always be entirely authentic and our conversations were fueled by Tim’s genuine interest in the moment for what I was up to with family and work. His undistracted, generous listening was a trait I appreciated and admired. For millennia, the fire has been a sacred place for human reflection, gathering and connection – Tim was a master fire-tender in every way.
We spent a week sailing in the Caribbean with Tim and Karen and the Newbolds. It only occurs to me now that our engine fire may have had more to do with some mystical, magical aura surrounding Tim than the fact the boat we rented was on its last legs and poorly maintained. The “Dollar Corn” may not have been able to handle Tim’s incredible fire energy…
When out in the woods, we would have the pleasure of camping and exploring one of Tim’s favorite spots. Cole, who is almost eight, knows Tim’s job was to be the Lorax. He gets it completely while he still doesn’t know exactly what I do. In the last five years or so, Cole had as many conversations with Tim around the fire as I did. I observed Tim give Cole the same attention he gave to any other person at the fire. The same was true for Madeline and Claire when they were growing up. Alisa and I can only hope for such an amazing example from other adults for their children.
“Pardon to miss….” A strange, old, turn of phrase, I would only ever read in Tim’s emails when he wouldn’t be able to attend a gathering. The language seems perfectly fit for Tim’s old felt hat, cigar stub, and yesterday’s lunch in his coat pocket.
Damn. Those three words, “Pardon to miss” make me sad. I hope to keep the fire going half as well…
Greg Ranstrom 2/12/14
“Fire’s the sun, unwindin’ itself out o’ the wood.”
― David Mitchell, Black Swan Green"
"Tim really was an inspirational character! You had to like him and he fought hard every day to save the East side, we could not have been a real 'Oregon' nonprofit unless we had him fighting away over there. Glad I got to visit a while with him at the last ELAW, we should do some sort of Memorial for him at the Conference - it's ecowarriors like Tim that really make the difference - thanks, Tim for everything! FanCat"
"Strawberry Mountains Forever!! Damn Lillebo, you beat me!! Well, just wanted you to know that I planted an entire grove of Mangos, Avocados and Chinese pears down here in the Amazon of Ecuador, in your name! So, make them grow and bear fruit for all us Earthlings left behind. If it weren´t for you and the Grant County Conservationists, GCC, the additions to the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness would have never happened. I love you Timbo and you will always be in my heart. I promise to keep the fight going down here in the Amazon!
"Rest well my friend. You of all people certainly deserve it. I just wish it had been delivered to you in a different way. You were a big part of my environmental awareness from the early 80s. I am a beneficiary of that enlightenment even today. You had a commanding way of illuminating wonderful things hidden from view but very much a part of our world, lurking right under our feet. It was magical just being with you in the environment you most loved. Thank goodness someone like you really cared. Very few command the overall respect that you do, even in your passing. It will be remembered and appreciated for an eternity. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
"Tim, Thank you for inspiring me to become an environmentalist, way back in 1976. We all worked for the Malheur National Forest in those days and you taught us what we were losing, what was at stake, and the right thing to do. I joined OWC and never looked back. We will all miss you terribly. But we carry your good deeds, smile and spirit in our hearts."
"Tim is the second of my highly respected and admired friends who died within the last few months. When I moved from Idaho to Oregon in 1978 a good friend, Paul Fritz, Manager of Craters of the Moon National Monument told me a high priority for me was to get acquainted with Tim, then a young man. I did and Tim is in my top 10 list of most admired-respected advocates for good sense regarding wildlands, Wilderness, water, wildlife, fish and culture. He was very respected within the wildlands constituency, he worked well with those he disagreed with, he was an amazing backcountry explorer and a easy to connect with friend. Unfortunately I didn’t see him often enough recently, which I now deeply regret."
"Thank you Tim for being both a teacher and a student of the forests. You knew so much, but still wanted to learn more. Things I learned from Tim include: jerky really can last forever, always greet people with a hug or a handshake, and don’t ever lose sight of your values. While Tim was good at collaboration and finding middle ground, you could never shake him on core conservation values, especially the known and unknown benefits of our remaining old growth. I always knew when the line was crossed – side conversations would include colorful expletives; but in group settings Tim was always honest and straightforward. He spoke eloquently to citizens, land owners, politicians, land managers, scientists and other environmental advocates. This is such a rare trait, and one that is so needed today. Tim, the world is better because of you. But I selfishly wanted at least 3 more decades of your knowledge and your work. You are missed."
"Tim, you went out in a flash, a good way to go, I agree... but did you have to leave us so soon? You are deeply loved and missed. Thank you for speaking for the trees for the flowers for the wildlife for the microorganisms, for they have no tongues."
"Our sudden loss of Tim was absolutely heartbreaking news. He came on board as a volunteer and then became one of our first staff members while I was president of the Oregon Wilderness Coalition. Along with you, I had the privilege of seeing first hand how his dedicated work for wilderness and roadless areas in Oregon made a tremendous difference.
Tim's ability to work effectively with loggers, agencies, wilderness advocates and legislators was truly remarkable. Firm in his convictions, he often brought opposing sides together when only impasse seemed possible and helped hammer out agreements that worked to the benefit of wilderness in Oregon. The hard-won protected wildlands of Oregon will long bear the signature of Tim's having been with us."
"I was priviliged to be part of those early OWC days. Tim was such a huge part of creating an organization dedicated to saving and protecting wild places. He introduced me to the big old "yellow belly" pines. His gentle style just left you wanting to spend more time with him out on the landscape. He earned my respect and admiration over and over. He was a dear old friend and I learned as much from him as from anyone I have ever met. There are a lot of wild and special places and a lot of big old yellow bellies that would not be wild were it not for him. His legacy lives on in those places and in the wind through those old yellow bellies."
"Good bye old friend. Oregon's wild country had no better pal than Tim Lillebo. Man, those old OWC days -- Monteith, the schemer; Kerr, the strategist; Lillebo, the heart. Absolutely unbeatable team. The best. Tim worked for $200 a month back then, when he was paid. But everyone knew it was the second paycheck he really worked for -- the wild Strawberries, a gin-clear North Fork of the John Day, those big orange trees. It's been years, but the memories of Tim are like yesterday. That time talking to those black bear cubs for hours in that big ponderosa in the Blue Mountains, nervously looking over our shoulders for mom. Starving during some excursion or another driving across some half-assed roads in the Ochocos, when you remembered that half-eaten sandwich under the seat, probably been there a week. Pick off the green stuff, eat the rest. Wetting a line in the Wenaha. How about the mule deer hunt in Montana, when we didn't find that mossy-horned buck, but we did figure out how to creatively deal with three flat retread tires in my piece of crap truck before we limped into Philipsburg for cold beer. I am glad you got to float the Noatak. That you survived clearly means you didn't take my advice about the bears. You will be missed more than you know. Thanks, Tim."
"thank you tim for your inspiration, your dedication, your tenacity, your support, your optimistic and never-ending outlook and your willingness to stand up for what you and others believe in. it has been a joy to know you over these past number of years and to learn how to be humble, giving and strong in resolve. you are missed. my kids still talk about your photos of bears and bear tracks. our hearts go out to karen during this difficult time. ho mitakuye oyasin"
"The focus that Tim brought to Eastern Oregon its wildlands and its forests is a rare thing indeed. In it for the long haul, he worked his way from a powerful voice for the magnificent forests of Ponderosa pine that cloak much of the interior, to an advocate for the collaboration necessary to make informed management a reality. He understood what had been lost in the orgy of overcutting that decimated those forests and he was willing to work so that others could see that and start to redress the imbalance. Tim embodied what it means to live in the environment instead of off of it. Tough to lose him but a treasure to have known."
"I remember Tim at the Concert for the forest in Portland's Tom McCall park Mark Epstin was on his way out as executive director and dam pissed. He would not mention ONRC but he did have Tim on stage wowing them 70,000 strong"
"We were on day 5 of a 7 day sail in the Virgin Islands, BVI, when Timmy popped up from his and Karen's cabin below with a well used plastic bag filled with something.. " Tim, I said, what do you have there?" He quickly offered me a bit of Angelena's bagels from Sisters, Oregon. I turned down his generous offer and we proceeded to discuss how they had traveled thousands of miles and now lived below deck in extreme heat. With a little laugh, he admitted that he was most proud of the fact that he had bought them at a discount because they were "day old" bagels. Then I commented on the plastic bag saying it looked like it had been around awhile. Yes, he admitted, he had it for many years and it had traveled to Costa Rica and Mexico as well as other places with him.
Timmy you are my environmental, leave-no-trace-behind forever friend and hero!"
"I met Tim in a tiny house in Prineville in 1978, where he had come to organize an environmental group. He was vibrant and passionate and able to inspire people. As the years went on, we became close friends, then old friends, then full of old memories of our youth. He was always there for me when I needed inspiration or a good kick in the butt. I sit here now, with some mementos that I pulled out of storage, stunned that he has passed too soon. I remember the unapologetic advocate for wilderness. I remember the time we spent together. I remember that he always wanted to see over the next ridge, or the big trees in the next grove. I remember the old, half-rotten cheese he would pull from his pocket and feed me when I got hungry. I remember the ever-present winter fire in his fireplace in Prairie City. I remember so much about him that is good and endearing. He will be more than missed."
"Tim was everything Oregon.
He is beside every Ponderosa tree and will be missed by everyone he touched. Good bye friend."
"Tim was a man whose eyes reached out and grabbed you with a sparkle and hearty welcome— like a hug— signifying a person of large soul. His love of nature and wildlands came from a heart who knew its mother and didnt' turn his back on her. A natural man, and one who devoted the majority of his life to protecting the forests we all love. Thank you for your years of commitment, Tim. You are missed and not forgotten."
"Tim - will you be hiking Home Creek for eternity? I'll always expect to bump into you on some trail. You'll live on in the trees and sagebrush country you helped to protect. I will not forget you."
"They broke the mold after they made Tim. His charisma lit the room. His personality sparkled just like his eyes. But it was Tim's personality combined with his deep knowledge of the land, passion for it's protection, and understanding of land management policy and practice that made him unique. There are others who know law, or policy or plans. But nobody, aside from a very few of Tim's longterm friends in eastern Oregon, combine that knowledge with intimate connection and knowledge of the landscape in which they live. With Tim's death, an era has passed."
"Lillebo was such a remarkable asset to the human family it is objectionable that he has left us. The tall, thick, old yellowbellies of the eastside have lost an essential advocate. The Oregon landscape was more vibrant and hopeful with him; his easy going passion for Nature is not silenced for it lives in each of us inspired by him to carry on in our own way"
"A couple of days before he died I was driving to work and I'm afraid I took a cell call. I heard some honking and looked at the car in the passing lane. Saw a wagging finger and above it Tim's shit-eating grin.
Can't believe that the effects of last week's deluge of a storm have evaporated but carried him away.
Many cultures bury the dead with the things they will need in the after-life. Rest assured that Tim left with food in his pockets."
"Oh, you rascal, Tim. Dag nab it. I can't believe it. I don't want to believe that you are gone. You have been an articulate, well-informed and wise champion of wild and wonderful Oregon and a warm, witty, rambunctious human being. I remember watching you and Karen dancing so joyously together. Your sweet love for Karen was beautiful. And her love for you so beautiful too. I remember our 12-mile hike (that was advertised as 4!). I remember your wonderful smile and friendly ways. The world is less without you. You have been a joyful noise in our world. You will be sorely missed. Thank you for the gift of you."
"TIm was the bridge that allowed idealism and a love of Wilderness to become reality in a careless World that doesn't easily allow for saving good things for our children's children. We need more like him"
"Keep close to Natures Heart....... That was the message he preached and lived. Wash your spirt clean...... You are free."
"Tim was truly one of a kind. I was always amazed at how well he knew eastern Oregon's wildlands. You could ask him about any spur road across a 10 million acre landscape and he would know if it had been logged, if there were any good camping spots, was there any nice old-growth and everything else about it.
I remember when I first started at Oregon Wild in the 90's as a volunteer and Tim was mentoring me on identifying and inventorying areas that qualified for Wilderness protection. That he could answer every question about every place I asked seemed impossible. We played this game a couple of times where I would bring up a black & white aerial photo of who knows where obscure area on some national forest in eastern Oregon and every time with no clues or labeled landmarks he would know exactly where we were looking at.
I am so lucky to have been able to learn from him, be inspired by him, and to have had him as a friend."
"Tim was a hero of mine for the last 20 years, and a major reason why I wanted to move to Oregon and work for Oregon Wild. He was a colleague, a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration.
Several years ago, he and I took two Boise Cascade logging executives on a tour of his Glaze Meadow restoration project in the Deschutes National Forest. Tim showed up in classic form, in his green Toyota pickup and wearing his battered hat and waving around an old green camp mug. The Boise guys showed up in a giant diesel truck, with their arms crossed over their chests and expressions that said they were not interested in hearing anything we had to say.
Over the course of the day, Tim worked his magic. He talked hunting with one, comparing notes on elk, deer, and turkey. The other guy was only concerned about the bottom line and how projects like Glaze fitted into timber volume and feeding the mill. Tim could talk his language, and walked him through technical thinning prescriptions and projected economic outcomes. I mostly just stood back and tried to stay out of the way.
By the end of the day those two Boise execs were slapping Tim on the back and cracking jokes like old friends. We shared beers on the tail gate of Tim's pickup, and talked about life outside of the battles over logging and conservation. I was in awe of his ability to bridge the divide with those two men, and to create a connection where they could hear his point of view and know he was hearing theirs.
That was Tim Lillebo’s magic, the unique gift that made him both such a delight to be around and such a formidable advocate for wildlands, wild rivers, and wild life. His legacy will live on in the forests, waters, and canyons that he worked so hard to protect, in the spirit of the organization he helped build, and in the hearts and minds of the people he touched and inspired."
"No one else could have done what Tim did. Being an advocate for wilderness and ecosystems in eastern Oregon takes more than determination, it takes courage, wisdom and tact. His enduring, persevering work gave us the positive presence that not even the most radical anti-protection character could discredit.
Everything he and Karen went through as local residents- from hostilities at the tavern to having the County order them to tear down their half-built house out of misguided vindictiveness- none of it ever turned Tim or Karen to bitterness or despair.
It was tough for the political detractors to deal with the guy who was pleasant to everyone, could talk to anyone, was way smarter than everyone else in the room, and whose convictions even inspired those who disagreed with his positions.
For those of us who did agree with him, and had the high honor of working with him, he was the most subtle mentor, the truest friend, and the bravest heart.
And the best way we can honor his legacy is by continuing his work and honoring him with another intact piece of protected wild land in the place he labored so selflessly to safeguard for us all."
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