Anthony B. (Tony) Reece
1936 - 2017
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Anthony (Tony) B. Reece Anthony (Tony) B. Reece, 81 passed away peacefully on August 16, 2017, at Virginia Mason Hospital from complications of AML (leukemia). Anthony was born March 11, 1936, in Darrington, WA, to Albert and Lauretta (Mulhurn) Reece, the seventh of eight children. He graduated from Darrington High School and served in the US Army where he played fiddle on a radio show in Germany, then joined his brothers building Reece Brothers Logging Company until 1978 when he started HiLine Helicopters where he left his mark. He flew for many government agencies including the USGS, the US Forest Service and National Park Service. He assisted in over 400 search and rescue missions before retiring in March of 2016. He was a member of Helicopter Assoc. International for 31 years. He received several awards during his career including the HAI 2002 Pilot Safety Award, HAI 2008 Salute to Excellence - Robert E Trimble Memorial Award, 2012 US Dept. of Interior Citizen's Award for Bravery and 2012 Trail Builder of the Year. Anthony had a zest for life. He always had a smile from ear to ear. He was humble with a kind and generous heart. He was dedicated to his family and community. He loved hunting, fishing and flying. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 plus years, Betty Sue; children, Floyd "Pete" (Suzie) Reece, Sarah (Calvin) Burlingame, William Taylor, and Heather (David) Baker all of Darrington; his grandchildren, Cody McDaniels, Jeb Reece, Tony Green, Sabrina Green, Kody Taylor, Kaitlyn Taylor, Dylan Taylor, Jesse Baker, and Caresse Baker; his great grandchildren, Hunter, Jocelynn, Lydia, Lou, Elliott, Reece, Cara and Karson; sister, Teresa Howard; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Joan Jones, Artis Petrich, Jackie Nordstrom, brothers, Alden, Clayton and Monte Reece. A private family only Committal service will be on Friday, August 25,2017. A celebration of his life will be held at the Darrington Community Center on Saturday, September 16, 2017, at Noon. He was one of a kind, a hero and mentor. He will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Darrington Community Center or the Darrington Memorial Dinners, PO Box 698, Darrington, WA 98241.



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Published in The Herald (Everett) on Aug. 22, 2017.
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57 entries
November 3, 2017
I have very many fond memories of working with Anthony, he was one of the hardest working people I've ever met.
Lots of flights to places in the Cascades and Olympics, He never did like landing at McGregor, but I always had full faith in his abilities and also knowing when to say Not today'.
It seems like just yesterday he flew me out to Destruction Island in the winter. He had just gotten clearance to fly again after cataract surgery, the weather was wonderful and he was really happy to be flying again. He told me how glad he was while we were standing at the top of the lighthouse.
One time he couldn't get back to us and we were stuck on a mountaintop all night in October. I know how hard it was to not get back, but visibility was perhaps 15 feet and now way to do it. He was up before light getting ready, and as soon as the clouds parted in the morning he was there with hot coffee and goodies.
Another time we couldn't get back across to PT, and he and Sue drove us to the ferry.

Always a gentleman, always true to his word.
Darn, I will miss him.
Mark
Mark Hollingsworth
September 24, 2017
I will always remember you as an adventurous and smiling man always ready with joke , who was as sweet to me when I was a child as my own grandpa . RIP Anthony Reece
Jessi Dungan
September 20, 2017
Your smile and laugh will always be remembered. Your enthusiasm for living was adored! Thank you for creating a sweet family!
Angie Brown
September 17, 2017
Anthony loved what he did and he did it very very well. It was a privilege to fly with him and experience his amazing ability with the helicopter on various field trips with the USGS. And his cheerful attitude was infectious! Sincere condolences to Sue and the whole family.
Suzanne Brown
September 12, 2017
I had the pleasure of knowing Anthony since I was a child. I recall going to his airport where he was always tinkering. He often gave us kids candy, one of the reasons why we went there! I worked with several Forest Service Trail Crew projects in the Darrington area. I will never forget my first helicopter ride with him. We were staging at "Rat Trap Pass," a very narrow road on a very narrow ridge and flying to Bacos Creek on the PCT. He had to stop to fuel up and quickly ate a sandwich faster than anybody I had ever seen. It was then my turn to fly into Bacos. As I settled into the front passenger seat and put the headphones on, he announced that in order to get enough life for the rotors to properly work he would have to creep the chopper to the edge of the cliff and drop for a short way. That is exactly what happened! I watched as the ground below became closer, but sure enough, within several seconds it took off. I often share this story with people that I meet and it will be the fondest of my memories of him.
Joshua Roberts
September 11, 2017
I had the opportunity to work with Anthony on numerous U.S. Forest Service trail construction projects over the years. It was always a pleasure to work with him and crew. Anthony was always professional, quick, and precise. The best helicopter pilot I've ever known. I always felt at ease with him flying, whether I was a passenger or catching a load on the ground. My condolences to the Reece family.
Tom Davis
September 11, 2017
Infinitely skilled, Anthony knew the North Cascades backcountry from the air as no one else ever will. I had the honor of flying with him many times for search and rescues, fires, and other emergencies over the past 35 years and was always met with a smile, which calmed my anxiety. Sue always had a hug and a cold drink in the cooler to give anyone in need. What a team. It's hard to realize he's gone, but our memories and experiences will live on. He was the BEST.
CHRISTIE FAIRCHILD
September 5, 2017
The world is a better place for Tony having been here. Many times he flew us (USGS) into the cascades always without mishap. Sometimes we would need to exit early when weather was closing in but we always felt we were in good hands - we were. He was always willing to help if we need it and just a pleasure to be around. Some of the fondest memories of my career are those when Tony flew us to SnoTel sites in the middle of winter.
John Dick
September 3, 2017
He was the best and fastest logger in the state. When he flew the straw line, no one had to sweat. He was one of a kind. And amazing pilot, saved a lot of men a lot of hard work . He will be missed by many. Condolences to his family..
Ronald DeLay
September 3, 2017
Anthony was one of a kind...and he also very kind. I remember Anthony/Tony landing very close to the Stage Coach Inn picking up archeologist, collecting rocks, and bringing them back with their rocks. He was one of a kind, never met a stranger. That was the first time and the last time I was in a Helicopter. I remember when we lifted off the ground , I said "this is high enough". He laughed very hard, went to his shop and back. The only time I have been in a helicopter, but it left a fabulous memory of a fabulous person, with a contagious laugh. He will be missed by many. Rest in Peace Anthony...My heartfelt sympathies to his wife, my namesake, Betty, and his children ,family..
Betty DeLay
September 1, 2017
Like fellow scientist Andrew Fountain (entry August 31), we were also the beneficiaries of Anthony's incredible knowledge of the North Cascades and his tremendous skills as a pilot, as well as his and Sue's generosity. Whether it was slipping just under the clouds to squeak through Slim Pass or hovering just above a rocky ledge near the summit of a peak, Anthony was a magician at getting us where we needed to be safely and without stress. My research students one year made a tee shirt with phrases from various experiences throughout the summer. One of the favorites for all of them was, them clouds have rocks in em. That was Anthony wryly answering one particularly naive query why we couldn't just descend straight into the Suiattle River Valley, set the GPS and head for home. Despite all of those rocks and a lot of clouds, he always got us safely there. All of us are indebted to Anthony and Sue for their generosity and hospitality and for making us feel like part of the family.
Bob Jacobel
August 31, 2017
I flew quite a bit with Anthony in the 1980s and 90s as he ferried me and other folks into and out of South Cascade Glacier. I too have many stories from those flights and about Anthony's amazing capabilities. But what particularly impressed me was how Anthony and Sue were 'all in'. Not only did they work together as an efficient team, but they were incredibly generous and kind to us. Because of the squirrely nature of mountain weather we often had delays and Sue and Anthony always opened their house to us, offering a place to sleep or sharing a meal. Returning to their home after one particularly long trip I was offered, what my colleague called, 'a moonshine sampler'. It was just what I needed. Anyway, when you flew with HiLine you became part of the family. My heart is with you Sue, and Anthony, we miss you. Thanks for everything.
Andrew Founntain
August 31, 2017
Sue and family, our hearts are saddened with the loss of Anthony, to whom many of us in the USGS entrusted our lives on countless trips to and from South Cascade Glacier. Anthony inspired us all with his generosity, smile, quiet confidence, and willingness to aid people in any way. I wish your family comfort and the frequent recollection of happy memories.
Carolyn Driedger Mastin
August 26, 2017
Betty Sue: Having you as a classmate, and knowing you as Anthony's wife was such a fun pleasure. Always so happy and proud of your husband and family, and lucky to have a man like that. How wonderful for so many people to think of Anthony's great smile, and to have had the fun of getting a ride up White Horse Mt that was in the backyard for many of us throughout our lives. You have be certain that everyone knows what a caring person you are too. I will see you in September.
June Ashe Peterson
August 26, 2017
Sue and Family: I was saddened by the passing of Anthony, and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am sure you will find some solace in the memories of the good times with him as a husband, father, friendand great guy and consummate pilot. I know I have been a better person working with both him and you in the early 1980s. My best to you
Paul Kennard
August 25, 2017
So sad to loose another Sauk Prairie Gang member. Rest in Peace
Sharon Edwards
August 25, 2017
Sending our thoughts and prayers to Betty Sue and family. We value the times we spent with Tony. Cory enjoyed his first helicopter ride with the best pilot we ever knew... And I enjoyed my first deer steak, excellently prepared by Heather. Seems like a silly memory but I recall those days in your kitchen with fond memories. Tony and Betty Sue always opened their house to kids. This Darrington transplant always appreciated their welcome.
Julie Kuntz
August 25, 2017
Sending Prayers of Comfort to Anthony's Family. I will never forget my helicopter ride! Such an Amazing and Nice Man!
Beverly Dellinger
August 24, 2017
Joyce Allen-Mahoney
August 24, 2017
You always meant a lot to our family, especially to my late father. You will be missed, Tony.
Lane Dexter
August 24, 2017
If you lived in Darrington, you knew Anthony. He was a hero, and is a legend. His work for the Forest Service, community, and logging companies are his legacy to all of us. Thanks Tony for your service, rest peacefully. Love to the Reece family.
Cindy White
August 24, 2017
A generous, kind-hearted man. My first flight(s) after kindergarten classes (I guess the perks of being in the carpool group with Heather). The helicopter rides that you used to do at the Darrington Community fair (never disappointing). Helping SANTA fly in when there wasn't any snow in town. Being there for honest advice when called upon. Countless fond memories. I'm glad I had the chance to share a tiny part of your amazing life. Papa Tony...you will be greatly missed.
Kelly Brown
August 23, 2017
From Mike De Luca: A great guy, always helpful, always friendly. I will miss him. We lived near the airport and Anthony would fly over our house and church. We had a saying around our house and church. Whenever we were working up high on the roof or painting the 3rd story, and someone would ask, "How is that?" we would answer, "If it's good enough for Anthony, it's good enough for me!" I thank Anthony for flying me and my 2 grandsons up to Whitehorse Mt. It was just before he was diagnosed with cancer, and was probably one of the last trips he took. When we landed, my 15 yr old grandsons decided to be pilots.
Mike DeLuca
August 23, 2017
Well done Anthony A life well lived
Shirley Olsen
August 23, 2017
Anthony always had a smile no matter what teaching us all a lesson. Thanks for the flight over Whitehorse Mtn and Darrington and thanks for the hugs. You are flying high in heaven. My condolences to Betty Sue and family for being so brave during his illness.
Janice Gilbert McMahan
August 23, 2017
Never had a better time flying up into the high lakes with Anthony for many years! Our hearts are heavy. Thinking of you Sue,
Steve Olander
August 23, 2017
WENT ALL THROUGH SCHOOL TOGETHER I RODE BEHIND ON INDIAN AT 100 CHASED MOUNTIAN GOATS IN THE OLD PLANE ITS BEEN A FUN TRIP REST IN PEACE OLD BUDDY JOHN TILAND
August 23, 2017
One of my most favorite of my dads' friends. Lots' of fun memories.
Marla Skaglund
August 23, 2017
You certainly will be remember as the life you led and by everyone who!s life you touched. Keep flying Anthony until we meet again. My thoughts and Prayers to your Wife and Kids. Love Janice (jones) Hougen
janice hougen
August 23, 2017
Our family's sincere condolences to your family. Anthony was a magnamus man who always be remembered in the hearts of many.
Valerie Stacie Adam Eckland
August 23, 2017
I had the great pleasure of flying with Tony many times the annual snow survey for Snohomish PUD. He was an amazing pilot and a real gentleman. A real pleasure to be around. He will be sorely missed by anyone who had ever got to know him.
Mark Shayne
Family
August 23, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers to Betty Sue and Family. Anthony taught me to fly in those tail draggers out on the Sauk Prairie. Later on we belonged to the Cascade Flyers and a few time would fly together. My Mother often talked about the great experience she had when Anthony took her flying to the top of White Horse. He was fun to be around and always had a great smile.
Dave & Joan Andrews
August 22, 2017
you will be greatly missed. Now you are my angel
Leslie Boyd
August 22, 2017
Thoughts of Tony always bring a smile to my face. A clever and skilled pilot who reminded me of my granddad: kind, big-hearted and a penchant for stubbornness.
Glenn Kessler
August 22, 2017
Anthony was so much fun in high school. We were in a play together and when I would talk to him on stage he had a trick tie on that would flip up and down and crack everyone up. What a joy to have a ride up over White Horse with him.
Janice Reece Tinto
August 22, 2017
Sending my deepest sympathies to the Reece family. My dad Clay Sutton, is a long time friend of Anthony and Betty Sue. Growing up my dad always spoke so fondly of Anthony. A man who my dad says no one could say a bad word about, just a real great guy. I know he had taken my dad up a few times and one of their buddy's when he was in his final days. What a legacy he leaves behind. Cheers to a lifetime of kindness and memories!!
Sonja LeMay
August 22, 2017
A great man, a great legacy! You will be missed.
Rest In Peace.
Calvin Burlingame
August 22, 2017
Anthony was an honest, hard-working, talented man. With a grin he put me in places that he said 'only a geologist would land'. And you could count on his return, even in stormy weather. It was a privilege to have known him. Have a good flight 1-2-Foxtrot.
Jon Riedel
August 22, 2017
Our deepest condolences to Betty Sue an the family members . He will be missed but not forgotten . What A great person he was to the community of Darrington and outside Organizations. Duane / Sherri Sanford
August 22, 2017
I had the pleasure of flying with Anthony on several occasions for fires and other reconnaissance on the Darrington Ranger District. He was such a skilled pilot and he knew the mountains of the North Cascades like the back of his hand. He had a great sense of humor and he will be missed.
Peter Forbes
August 22, 2017
Great memories of stopping by Anthony's place on our way camping. Sue and him always were the most gracious and friendly people. The last time I saw Antony was at the Darrington Fire Station while responding to the Oso slide. RIP Anthony
Matt Butler
August 21, 2017
Anthony you will be dearly missed, we will cherish the memories always
Angela Leonard & Don Schafer
Friend
August 21, 2017
"What a great man, so many great back country memories we shared. Sure gonna miss him and his smile"
Kraig Wenrick
August 21, 2017
Many fun times and great memories were had . He will be missed.
Diana Hudson
August 20, 2017
Your smile will be etched in my mind forever.
Kathy Helton
August 20, 2017
Too a great Friend, pilot, I grew up watching him take off from his house then the airport, had the pleasure of him flying me and my brother inlaw to our hunting spot, then when I joined the Darrington Fire Dept, he flew quite a few patients to us that he plucked off the hill side, save many lives by his expertise in flying in difficult hazardous mountain terrain, he was there during floods picking local boys off cliffs they slid down, when the bank gave way, he landed them safely and just in time we look an the stump they were standing was gone into the raging river. I could go on and on, but will leave it at that, to his family my thuoghts and prayeres are with you thank you for sharing a great man, father and friend with me, he holds a special spot in my heart ❤ and will never be forgotten! Hugs to you all
Vincent Dennis
August 20, 2017
Anthony was an amazing man! I have many memories of him as a child and some as an adult. As a child the Reece family were there for me at times I needed someone. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Michelle Green
Friend
August 20, 2017
Rest In Peace Anthony, you helped so many people your one of Gods best creations.
Nancy Smith - Breidenbaugh
August 19, 2017
Mary Jones
August 19, 2017
Sorry for your loss.My thoughts are with you all!
Lois Herzog
August 19, 2017
Nancy and I send our heart felt sympathy to Sue and family. Tony started my aviation career and was always an inspiration to me. Many happy memories from playing music at Rockport, to mention a few, and boring holes in the sky.
He will be deeply missed.

Terry and Nancy Reece
Terry Reece
August 19, 2017
Thankful to have known Anthony's smiling face throughout my entire lifetime and for the many memories of when Sauk Prairie families spent so much time together because our parents were good friends, as well as cousins.
Eileen Draper
August 19, 2017
You will live on in our hearts for as long as we live. Your smile lit up a room and now it lights up our memories of you. Your humor, quick wit and love for others will always be remembered. Like your daughter said "heaven just got a lot livelier with you being there". Rest in Peace Anthony, you were loved and loved well, see you on down the road. Fly high.
Judy White O'Connor
August 19, 2017
Our thoughts, prayers & love to family & friends. He was such a wonderful person!
Jim & Jammie Wicklander
August 19, 2017
It was more than 35 years ago that Anthony last flew me out of a logging unit at the end of the day. My last ride with him was up at Circle Creek. We were logging down hill, and at the end of the day he flew some lines in for a new tail hold. While every one else went down, I volunteered to stay up the hill to make sure everything went OK. Anthony dropped the lines, then told me to sit on the hook and hold on. Dang what a ride I got to the bottom of the mountain. I have lived an exciting life, but that still ranks as one of the best memories.
I remember thinking then what an amazing life he had built for himself. I did not know at the time that he was just beginning.
As I headed out into the world and became a rock climber / mountain climber, I often heard people talk about being rescued by Anthony. It always gave me a puff of hometown pride when they would brag about him. Rest in Peace Anthony, and Love to his family.
Eric Christianson
August 19, 2017
So sorry to hear of anthonys passing. I only meet him once a few years ago when he came on a moment's notice to lift me and my broken snowmobile off of the mountain, after returning to Darrington he ever so gently placed the sled and us on the ground and I thought to myself this man is a damn good pilot and after he showed me his other helicopters and a scrapbook of his past work I left thinking what a gentle giant of a man.
RIP Anthony you will be missed.
Steven Ekerson
August 19, 2017
I will always remember Anthony as a very caring man going on rescue missions in his Helicopter. When I visited him just a couple of weeks ago, he told me of the time he flew someone to the top of Whitehorse Mountain so they could scatter the ashes of their loved one over the top of the Mountain. He said they had waited a year for him to provide this service for them.
My words cannot express the sadness I feel in the news of his passing, but his soul rests in a better place where there is no pain and sadness. The song verses to 'In the Sweet Bye and Bye' tell it better than my words can.
Betty Rose
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