Incline resident makes peace with plane crash

Tim Lampe stands near the cross his  family erected on the site where his parents were killed 41 years ago Tuesday.

Tim Lampe stands near the cross his family erected on the site where his parents were killed 41 years ago Tuesday.

While flipping through the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspaper a year ago, Incline Village resident Tim Lampe came across an article that evoked long-buried emotions.

He read about the worst plane crash in Tahoe history.

On March 1, 1964, three miles east of Kingsbury Grade, a plane carrying 85 people from the Bay area to South Lake Tahoe crashed in a snowstorm, killing everyone on board.

The crash that killed his parents, Clark Marshall and Lenore Lampe, 41 years ago Tuesday.

It had never crossed Lampe's mind to visit the crash site.

But while boating on the lake last summer, Lampe and his wife, Shahin, met people who said they live near Plane Crash Hill, the name locals have given the crash site. Even more coincidentally, one of the boaters told the couple he had witnessed the crash as a high school student 40 years earlier.

That meeting was the nudge Lampe needed.

In October, he and his brother Pat made the trip to Plane Crash Hill.

It was snowing that day, just as it had been that morning 40 years ago.

As Lampe and his brother explored the area, Lampe kicked a manzanita bush and revealed a piece of metal. When he bent to pick it up, it was a silver makeup compact.

"That's when I lost it," Lampe said. "The day really put closure on the whole thing for me and my family."

The Lampes call the crash site "Ground Zero" and have erected a large cross on it. The cross, with the family name carved on a plaque, is flanked by weathered crosses others erected decades ago.

Lampe, the youngest of six children, was 5 when his parents died. The morning of the crash, Lampe's brothers Michael, 20, and Pat, 17, helped deliver 1,700 copies of the San Francisco Chronicle while their father, the district circulation manager for the paper, was on his way to Lake Tahoe.

By evening, relatives had gathered in mourning.

Lampe's parents Clark Marshall Lampe, 49, and Lenore Lampe, who had just turned 46, joined 79 other passengers on the Constellation for a trip from San Jose to South Lake.

Less than an hour later, the four-engine propeller plane lay scattered across 8,695-foot Genoa Peak. Having gone down during a snowstorm, the wreckage wasn't located until 7:30 a.m. the following day, March 2, by a U.S. Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter.

"It's a 40-year-old, intact crash site," Lampe said. "You can see the divot where the plane impacted, even though trees are in it."

Debris from the crash still litters the area - spread the distance of about four football fields, Lampe said.

This summer, the rest of Lampe's siblings - Marshall "Marsh," Donna Rae "Jordan" and Mary - will travel from all over the world to visit Ground Zero for the first time.


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