Owner, employee of Fashion Blacksmith killed in Ore. wreck
Two long-term Del Norters entrenched in the local fishing industry died in a vehicle accident Wednesday.
Dale Long, 75, was driving south on U.S. Highway 199 about eight miles south of Cave Junction, Ore., when he failed to negotiate a curve, crossing into the northbound lane and crashing head-on into a tree around 1:54 p.m., according to the Oregon State Police.
His passenger, Sandra Crockett, 65, of Crescent City, was flown to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, Ore., where she succumbed to her injuries Thursday.
Long was the owner of Fashion Blacksmith, a longtime boat repair business in Crescent City Harbor, and Crockett was the office manager. She was also a former harbor commissioner.
“They are a big part of the life and times of Del Norte County,” said Harbormaster Richard Young. “We’re all going to miss them both. It’s not going to be the same harbor without them.”
A Thursday meeting of harbor officials began with a moment of silence, and the harbor’s flags were lowered to half-staff.
Fashion Blacksmith was started as a traditional blacksmith shop more than 70 years ago in Fort Dick by Dale Long’s father, Edward “Ted” Long. The shop was later moved to 2nd Street in Crescent City.
Dale Long and his brother, Roger, took over the business when it was a welding job shop.
The company was moved to the harbor after the 1964 tsunami, and Roger Long retired about 15 years ago.
Fashion Blacksmith now focuses on building and repairing work boats, including major alterations such as widening and elongating vessels.
The company repairs boats from up and down the West Coast with a majority of its business coming from out of the area, although it has done considerable work for the local fleet.
Dale Long was a life-long Del Norte resident. His son, Ted, also works at Fashion Blacksmith.
“They built a number of new vessels. They repaired most of the vessels here,” said Young. “He meant a lot to the fleet. Everybody knew him, and Sandie too.”
Crockett moved to Del Norte County in 1977 with her former husband and began fishing with him for a couple of years before taking a job at Crescent Marine, which was eventually purchased and renamed Englund Marine.
She tried opening a competing fishing gear shop before turning it into a restaurant, served time as a harbor commissioner and ultimately ended up going to work for Dale Long at Fashion Blacksmith.
“She enjoyed being his bookkeeper and working there,” said her son, Damon Crockett. “She had a very strong work ethic ... I loved her dearly.”