By the darkest of dark coincidences, I have just learned that the very evening I happened to put up a post about John Graybill he died, along with his wife Dolly, in a crash in bad weather near McGrath, Alaska. As I write this I have just found out the news and am in a state of shock. John was a controversial figure in his day but friend and foe alike were in awe of his flying abilities. When I met him in 2000 his outlaw days were behind him, and even his old sparring partners at Fish and Game seemed to think of him as a favorite uncle. I found him to be a natural-born storyteller and a kind, gentle soul. He and Dolly welcomed me into their lives with the warmth of family.
And yes, John was an amazing pilot. Spending a week with him, zipping over the Alaskan landscape at 30 feet, inspired me to get my own pilot’s license, and that in turn has changed my life in ways I can’t begin to tally.