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The day after the body of a 67-year-old Washington man was found along the shore of a remote lake in Yellowstone National Park, the search continued for the man’s missing half-brother.

Search and rescue crews spent Tuesday and Wednesday looking for 74-year-old Kim Crumbo of Ogden, Utah, who went missing after going on a four-night backcountry trip with his half-brother Mark O’Neill.

O’Neill’s official cause of death hasn’t yet been determined, but he likely drowned, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin wrote in an email.

The park’s crews looked for Crumbo by foot, helicopter and boat at Shoshone Lake, which lies in the southwestern corner of Yellowstone, on Wednesday. They planned to continue the search in the upcoming days as conditions warrant.

Crumbo is a retired National Park Service employee and a former Navy Seal. According to his bio on the website for The Rewilding Institute, Crumbo spent four years completing two combat deployments to Vietnam.

For 20 years, Crumbo served as a river ranger and then as a wilderness coordinator for the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon, the bio says.

He is a board member for The Rewilding Institute, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a co-founder of the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council — now Wild Arizona.

In the field of conservation, Crumbo is a hero, said John Davis, The Rewilding Institute’s executive director.

Crumbo has been a wilderness and wildlife advocate for decades, working closely with the Wildlands Network and other conservation and wilderness organizations.

As a board member for The Rewilding Institute, Crumbo has volunteered much of his time, never asking for pay despite working more than full-time, Davis said.

“He’s a real conservation hero,” Davis said. “He protected many wild places and wild creatures, and he did it well.”

Crumbo has been instrumental in getting national monuments established in the Grand Canyon bioregion and he’s involved in establishing the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor from the Grand Canyon to the Gila Wilderness, according to Davis.

Davis described Crumbo as a beloved and towering figure — a rock of a man who is uniquely strong, yet humble.

“He’s very physically strong and sturdy — as physically strong as anyone I’ve met,” Davis said.

Once years ago, Davis got caught up in a canyon without ropes. He and others had a satellite phone, but there were only a few spots where they knew they could get a call in. Even then, they knew the call would just go through for a few seconds.

“I instantly knew that the person to call was Kim Crumbo,” Davis said. “I knew I could give him two sentences, and he would understand .... In a pinch, Kim Crumbo was the person I called because I knew he was so experienced in the wilderness and he would know what to do.”

Davis said Crumbo deserves to have a national monument or a national park named after him.

“I hope he is still alive, as we all do,” Davis said. “Whether or not he is, I hope his life will inspire young people to pursue their passions to protect and speak up for wild places and wild creatures.”

A family member reported O’Neill and Crumbo were overdue from their backcountry trip to the lake on Sunday, according to Yellowstone officials.

Search and rescue crews that day discovered a vacant campsite with gear on the south side of Shoshone Lake. They also found a canoe, paddle, flotation device and other personal belongings on the lake’s eastern shore, according to the park.

On Monday, authorities recovered O’Neill’s body along the eastern shore of Shoshone Lake. O’Neill was from Chimacum, Washington, and was a retired National Park Service employee, according to the park.

The average year-round temperature of Shoshone Lake — the second-largest lake in Yellowstone — is about 48 degrees, according to the park. At that temperature, experts estimate that people can survive in the water for between 20 and 30 minutes.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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