Thinking of the family

May 24, 2013

My life has turned upside down these past few weeks.

My wife Rita, daughter Lauren and I are mourning the loss of our loving son and brother. David Crow passed on May 8 in a roll-over car accident. With him was his girlfriend, Katrina May, who I expected to become our daughter-in-law. David had just ended classes at Montana State University and Katrina got her first job since her graduation. They were on their way to raft down the Clarks Fork River in between Drummond and Missoula, MT. It appears they took a turn on I-90 a bit too fast and rolled their SUV near Drummond. They weren’t wearing their seat belts and you can imagine the rest of the story.

First I have to say that states that have seat belt laws have them for good reason. The Montana Highway Patrol said that they would have had a good chance of making it if they were wearing their seat belts. The Highway Patrol also told us that there have been seven accidents on that same curve in the last two weeks. I think my new cause in life will be promoting the use of seat belts.

David was studying biofuels and crop science.

We were very proud of his course of study and were pleased that agriculture was where he wanted to go. Whether or not he would have gone into the biofuel industry or become the fourth-generation publisher of the Western Livestock Journal didn’t matter to us, we just wanted him to follow his passion. He was getting involved in agriculture, which I think is looking to the future; he was also interested in livestock production, which would have pleased us to no end.

We headed up to Bozeman, MT, last week to take care of his belongings and tie up the loose ends. When we flew in, you could tell how dry the country was. It was in need of a good rain and it rained the following four days. With one of those good steady soakers, things were greening up by the time we left. This was David’s blessing to the industry that took care of his family.

David was only 23 years old and just starting to blossom in his life. Not many of you have met him, but he always had a smile and a kind, respectful word for everyone he met. I suppose that’s why so many people turned out for an impromptu party to remember him and Katrina.

Most of the people who came were young women who could not say enough kind words about them.

David was special, just like everyone’s children are. We know we aren’t the only ones who have lost a child who was too young to go. I know there are many of you who have lost children and we certainly don’t feel alone. But we all have to deal with it, and let me tell you: it’s tough. You experience them being born and you raise them to the best of your ability and try to raise them with good values, then all of a sudden they’re gone. This is the first major person in my life who has died, so I hope you will give me a little latitude in this column; it’s all I can think about. I don’t feel I can just talk about cattle industry issues under these circumstances.

This is a major issue in our lives, just as it is for everyone else who has lost a child in a tragic incident. But I feel like all the good folks who read the WLJ are more than just readers; I feel like you all are family and friends. The outpouring of calls and cards has been overwhelming to us, and it gives us comfort knowing that we are part of a bigger family.

At the end of the day, we have to realize we are part of a very small industry. We are all connected in some way. I’ve always said if you get a hundred cattlemen in a room, seventy-five will have found some connection to each other. Whether it is business partners or a friend of a friend or some remote way, we all find a connection. That’s just the way it is. We all know each other. It’s close, and we’re a tight-knit bunch of people.

We are all going to miss David. He was a special young man. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our family, friends and WLJ friends for the outpouring of love, prayers, flowers, cards and food. We are deeply moved by all the support, may God bless us all. — PETE CROW