Amazing Grace and the Ageless Man

June 19, 2020

Inland Northwest Land Conservancy pays high tribute to two of our revered conservation heroes, Bill Fix and Grace Bassett. Bill built a powerful conservation community across the Inland Northwest, and Grace preserved an iconic piece of paradise meaningful to modern and ancient residents of Newman Lake. Both lived into their 90s and died recently.

Bill Fix was a great friend of the outdoors, and gave generously of his time and treasure to many outdoors organizations, both within the Spokane area and beyond. Preserving wild places was a true passion for him. Among numerous accomplishments, he was instrumental in establishing the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area and the North Cascades National Park.

He and his wife of 65 years, Harriet, who died in 2015, were devoted supporters of the Conservancy. Bill also served on the Board of Directors from 1993 until 1996. The Fix family and the Johnston-Fix Foundation have made significant financial contributions to the Conservancy since its beginning in 1991. Bill even led hikes for the Conservancy while in his 70s. He was an enthusiastic donor, board member, and volunteer. An avid recreationist, dubbed by some “the ageless man,” Bill introduced people to the Conservancy from all walks of life.

We honor Grace Bassett for safeguarding one of the most beautiful and visible properties in the Inland Northwest. Hear about this unique property in Grace’s own words in this recent Conservation News post. She inherited the spectacular tip of the peninsula on Newman Lake from her beloved aunt. Before passing it to long-time neighbors, she created a permanent conservation agreement with the Conservancy to protect her cherished land. With over 550 feet of shoreline, the property is a haven for wildlife, including Bald Eagles, Osprey, Canada Geese, and Great Blue Herons.

Grace felt a kinship with the Native Americans who once held council meetings there. She turned down lucrative purchase offers because, above all else, she wanted the property to be preserved in its pristine condition, not only to honor her aunt, but truly for the land’s sake. Grace was a writer who started her career at The Spokesman-Review and went on to become an award-winning journalist at the Washington Post. She was particularly honored for her reporting on civil rights and the 1954 Supreme Court ruling banning racial segregation in public schools.

Both Bill Fix and Grace Bassett will be sorely missed. We are deeply grateful for their support of the Conservancy and its mission of connecting people to nature by conserving lands and waters essential to life in the Inland Northwest.