Darrington civic booster dies at meeting

DARRINGTON — Leah Tyson didn’t let her disabilities stop her from doing all she could for her community.

Tyson, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and a heart condition, died Wednesday evening after she collapsed during a meeting of the Darrington Area Business Association.

Tyson, 59, was active in the community economic development group, was an officer of the Cascade Senior Center and served as president of the Darrington Historical Society. She attended most Town Council meetings and made it her job to document and photograph many community events.

In the past two years she had been involved in the campaign to save the forest fire lookout on Green Mountain in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

At the business association meeting Wednesday, Tyson had just unveiled her large drawings of a Sasquatch, which she hoped would be painted on large plywood cutouts to be displayed around town, said her friend Martha Rasmussen.

“Leah laughed at something and then collapsed,” she said. “She went doing what she loved — working with her community.”

At Town Hall, Darrington staff members Michelle Vincent and Lyla Boyd praised Tyson.

“She was a wonderful woman who put a lot of effort into this town,” Vincent said.

Tyson had rough spells in her life, Nels Rasmussen said, but she overcame them to work for the greater good.

“Leah was dedicated and was a really there for our community,” he said. “She had blossomed during the past 15 years. Her philosophy on the term ‘community’ was evident in her actions. She had some time on her hands, and even though her hands didn’t work well, she put that time back into her community. She was inspiring to a lot of people.”

A few years ago, the Kiwanis Club and others in town put a new roof on Tyson’s little house.

“She contributed so much, it was a little thing we could do,” Martha Rasmussen said. “Her heart was huge and we will miss her very much.”

Tyson graduated from La Conner High School in 1971, but spent most of her life in the Darrington area. She was the daughter of Albert and Wanda Combs. Her family has not yet made service arrangements.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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