More detail on this person: Loren Goetzke: Boisean dies in California helicopter crash Pilot was artist, spiritual mentor, friend, collector Roya Camp Staff Loren Goetzke liked bowling. He loved the Lord. He painted oil landscapes. And in recent years, he collected Lionel trains. And for more than three decades, Loren Goetzke flew. On Tuesday afternoon, the 58-year-old helicopter logger and Boise resident died when his Sikorsky S-61 failed him, smashing into rough terrain in the Shasta-Trinity National Forests in Northern California. His co-pilot, Adrian Villaruz of Eugene, Ore., remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday in the burn unit at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials on Thursday started their investigation. Goetzke's body was recovered Thursday but remains in California. Goetzke was lowering cable to a woods crew when the helicopter apparently lost power, according to his friend of 27 years, Del Giffin. Giffin, also a helicopter logger and Boise resident, was flying about five miles away at the time of the accident, which happened about 3:40 p.m. roughly 16 miles southeast of Dunsmuir between Mount Shasta and Lake Shasta. Goetzke and Giffin were employed by Croman Corp. of White City, Ore., and were working on a contract for Sierra Pacific Lumber Co. Goetzke was within 10 minutes of finishing a third week in what should have been a two-week shift, according to another friend. "He had no way out," Rick West said Friday. "It was just over. "We always knew this was a possibility." Goetzke was known as a perfectionist pilot with a distinguished and lengthy flying record. He spent a year as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam about 1968, flew for several lumber companies and served as a pilot for Idaho Helicopters Inc. on LifeFlight runs, friends, co-workers and his wife said. He also served with the National Guard at Gowen Field. "He was just a positive person in everything he did," West said. "He always had the Lord with him, wherever he went. That's the one grace we have out of all this." In more than 30 years of flying, and with more than 26,000 hours of flying time logged, he'd never had an accident. "In the aviation field, this is something that's unheard of," said his wife, Marilyn Goetzke. West met Goetzke about 12 years ago through LifeFlight. Goetzke was a pilot West is a flight nurse/paramedic. The two found they had common interests and history. They were both Boise natives, both only children. Goetzke introduced West to flying and guided his journey in Christianity. "He's a very deeply religious man, and was able to be a spiritual mentor," West said. "He brought me closer to God." The two men were neighbors and helped each other with home projects. Goetzke helped West lay sod and build a backyard shed. They also golfed together, built computers together, bowled together. "The guy would do anything for you," West said. "We just helped each other back and forth, all the time. We were basically like family." Goetzke did some of the roofing for Eagle Christian Church. Services for Goetzke will be held at the church next week. "No matter who you are, if you needed help with your Christmas lights, just any little thing, he would be right there," Marilyn Goetzke said. Loren Goetzke took up oil painting after watching a television show on the topic. He bought books and supplies and worked on paintings, primarily outdoor scenes of mountains, trees and the like, in between LifeFlight calls. He sold his first painting to a doctor who saw his work, and exhibited in Saint Al's art shows. About five years ago, he decided to start collecting the toy trains of his childhood, his wife said. "He just had so much energy. He always tried new things," Marilyn Goetzke said. "People were just amazed at all the energy he had." On Friday, she remembered flying with her husband in their Cessna, which they called their "Winnebago in the Sky," to remote Idaho airstrips for camping trips. They gardened and biked together and raised and trained Havanese dogs, a rare breed. They remodeled and redecorated several homes together. "We had a lot of fun," she said. "I've lost everything."
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Date posted on this site: 01/08/2023
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