Lanita lived at Willow-Witt Ranch for close to 40 years. She was born in the Texas High Plains with the vast horizon in all directions, a dark star-filled sky, and a vegetable garden. Her family roots were in German homestead farms in South Texas. Higher education included undergraduate at Texas Woman’s University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, UCLA Hospitals and Clinics Residency in OB and Gyn, and a house building course in Bath, Maine.
Suzanne and Lanita met in 1979 and by 1984 searched out a place in a rural environment – not too deep in the woods, with a good school for their daughter, Brooke. The 445 acres that is the land of Willow-Witt Ranch, and now the home of The Crest, met those needs and more. Lanita’s mom simply said, “Keep your good job in town.” Why miracles come into our lives is inexplicable but this land has been a crucible for an education in the natural world, ecosystems, and working through human impacts. Lanita and Suzanne always felt the need to share this land with others. As they grew into their mature years and the sustenance of ecosystems becomes more imperative in the face of climate change, their wish was to see this land maintained as an ongoing experiential model, teaching ecosystem care and nurturance. Water truly is life and the forest and wetlands on this land have been home to humans for many thousands of years. Lanita wished to see this unique valley as home to a self-sustaining non-profit, serving people of all ages for generations to come.