Frank Crossfield

Frank Crossfield, a Santa Rosa native and longtime state forestry official who was active in Masonic and Shriners groups, died Jan. 26. He was 85.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Marilee Handley of Citrus Heights.

Crossfield began what would be a nearly four-decade-long career with the state Department of Forestry while a student at Santa Rosa High School, working on summer wildfire crews.

An avid outdoorsman, he was drawn to a profession that wouldn't keep him behind a desk, Handley said.

"That was the big thing about forestry," she said.

The one professional interlude was his service in the Navy at the end of World War II. He was a radioman on the minesweeper USS Redstart, responsible for post-war operations in Japanese waters.

After his military service, Crossfield studied at Santa Rosa Junior College and in 1951 earned a degree in forestry from UC Berkeley.

A year earlier, he married Elizabeth Anne Knipschild. The couple had three children.

Rising through the ranks at the forestry agency, Crossfield was posted throughout California. He started in the Sierra foothills of Yuba County and moved south, ending up in San Diego before he returned home in 1969 to oversee operations in Sonoma County.

In one of his early posts, in Mariposa near Yosemite National Park, Crossfield became the youngest employee promoted to the command job of ranger in the agency, his family said.

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